Digital Literacy for Teaching

As part of the Ontario Extend mOOC there has been discussion of the idea of ‘Digital Literacy’ in Teaching. As part of that discussion, I read and really like the outline of the Seven elements of digital literacies by ©Jisc.

I believe that digital literacy in teaching is no longer a ‘nice to be’ but is a ‘Must Be’. In general, I think many people use the term digital literacy to mainly focus in two directions; 1) their career and identity footprint and 2) to know where to find information. However, there really is so much more digital literacy and teaching is a venue which showcases it well.

Teaching requires digital literacy as this is critical in the frames of information literacy and media literacy. Both for ensuring that the correct quantity of information is being given to our students, but also there is the more important reason of quality assurance. Contributing back to this quality is seen in contributing to new practices and systems in the form of digital scholarship as well as ensuring that we produce quality material to share with others using a variety of media.

Also from a teaching perspective having the learning skills and ICT literacy ourselves, is critical to equip our students with the tools and skills of the future. Yes, some of the tools that we learn will become outdated and obsolete, however teaching students to embrace and adapt to (and fail in) a changing technological environment is a skill that they will need to thrive in the digital age. For some of our students, this may be the only pathway through which we will reach them! Communication and collaboration on digital networks are links that are the new social connectors. Using them positively and effectively hopefully will help teachers reach out so that no student will be left behind.

Digital literacy has gone far beyond knowing what you ‘look like’ online and finding the information you need quickly. To be truly and fully digital literate you need to be willing to communicate, collaborate, share, and learn.