I have just conducted some of my own research on the topic of digital literacy and digital learning. After researching, I have created my very own definition of the term digital literacy : the ability to be responsible, productive, and creative with online information, tools, and resources. (Please bear in mind that this definition is short because I was asked to post it to Twitter and I only had 140 characters to work with.) An extended version may also include the term digital fluency which may comprise of the ability to be safe, use content in a unique manner, and communicate effectively using digital tools. In my opinion, digital literacy is the ability to access and understand online content while digital fluency is the ability to apply and interpret the content and information.
There are hundreds, probably even thousands, of tools and resources available for students, teachers, and ordinary people to access and use. In order for those resources to be used to their full potential, we need to be digitally literate. Essentially, being digital literate is possessing a number of skills to be able to navigate and use the content in the ever-growing digital world. To read more about digital literacy (I’m going to start abbreviating that now with DL), you can click here.
If you will remember, I am an Early Childhood educator (if you follow me on twitter, I often abbreviate that with EC). That being said, it is of great importance in my field to start teaching my students about DL as soon as possible. Another aspect of DL is internet safety. Children need to be taught, have opportunities for practical experiences, and have safe practices modeled to them right away. This meets the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) standards for teachers. Technology’s impact on society and the world of education seems to always be changing and it is my hope that I may help my students achieve goals set for them in terms of technology. If we wait until students are in junior high or high school to have them use online resources, we will be waiting too long. It is vital that I, their EC educator, begin equipping my students so that as they continue through life, they will have the skills to be able to find information and apply content more effectively. To read more about the ISTE standards, click here.
How well are my skills in the category of digital literacy, you ask? I think I could hold my own when it comes to using online databases, communicating using social media, and being responsible. I know the basics of most skills but would like to be able to go deeper and learn useful tips to make my life easier. I expect the more I continue to work with technology, the more tricks I will learn. I am a person who learns technology best through actually doing so I would need to be shown and then be allowed to practice on my own. I think it is important to keep an open mind about new and changing technologies. It is safe to say, technology is not going away so we might as well embrace it and teach our students to better utilize it as the tool it can be.
An EC educator learning DL (: