Media Literacy Blog Post Assignment

In her article, School Libraries Cultivate Digital Literacy, Tanya Roscorla suggests five digital literacy challenges facing schools and school librarians. Of these five, “sharing the importance of digital literacy” seems like the most difficult, and the most crucial, to overcome.

Digital literacy, as an educational concept, is still relatively new. To make things more difficult, it is also a concept that is constantly shifting and evolving. When I was in grade school, which wasn’t too terribly long ago, digital literacy referred to my ability to type, insert CD-ROMs correctly, and successfully navigate the Microsoft Office suite.

In junior high, things became slightly more complicated with the introduction of research papers, digital encyclopedias, the idea of paraphrasing, and citations. Any high school interactions with technology, and there were surprisingly few for the mid-2000's, just barely expanded upon those junior high lessons. Social media as we know it was not mainstream outside of college campuses. Smartphones had not trickled down to the masses. WordPress sites and YouTube were the only real ways for the dilettante to produce digital content, and, even so, most of us were only consumers.

Just seven years later, and the level of interactivity has grown exponentially. Entire relationships can revolve around smartphones and tablets, apps and widgets, sharing and retweeting. Because all of this has evolved in such a short amount of time, it makes sense that society is still trying to make sense of it. Convincing people that homework is not and should not simply be written assignments and a few dozen math problems or that allocating instruction time to discuss appropriate and responsible social media use is important to today’s students is going to be difficult. Never before has technology so shaken up the classroom. I’m sure that the introduction of the typewriter or the TI-84 were exciting times, but they did not challenge the foundation of our curriculum. They were simply tools to be utilized by the curriculum. Technology today, though, has become so pervasive that appropriate and responsible use need to be incorporated into our schools’ curriculum. Time and strong advocacy on the part of supportive educators will reveal the importance of digital literacy education. However, once decision makers are convinced its necessity, the other four challenges Roscorla mentions will resolve themselves.

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