Why is Digital Literacy Important?
Digital Literacy is one component of Digital Citizenship.
Literacy skills have always been important. In centuries past, people communicated via letters. These letters soon turned into telegraph messages. From there we advanced to the telephone, internet and then text messaging via a phone. Today's options for communication far outweigh the one or two of generations pasts. "Children learn these skills as part of their lives, like language, which they learn without realizing they are learning it." (N. Andersen, New Media and New Media Literacy: The Horizon Has Become the Landscape—New Media Are Here,; report produced by Cable in the Classroom, 2002, pp. 30–35) Students today learn in ways that their teachers could not even imagine decades ago when they were in school. Students learn technology just like they do the spoken language, by doing and today it is not uncommon for a 3 year old to have some basic knowledge regarding how to get on to the computer and load a game (hopefully educational). The way students learn and their abilities to showcase their learning has surpassed the years of book reports, posters, and shoe box representations. "We will not be able to achieve a liberating, collective intelligence until we can achieve a collective digital literacy, and we have now, more than ever, perhaps, the opportunity and the technologies to assist us in the human project of shaping, creating, authoring and developing ourselves as the formers of our own culture. To this end, we must create the conditions for people to become wise in their own way." (Poore, M. (2011). Digital Literacy: Human Flourishing and Collective Intelligence in a Knowledge Society. Australian Jouranal of Language and Literacy, 19 (2),20-26.)
- Digital literacy is one component of being a digital citizen - a person who is responsible for how they utilize technology to interact with the world around them.
- Digital technology allows people to interact and communicate with family and friends on a regular basis due to the "busy constraints" of today's world.
- Not only do white-collar jobs require digital literacy in the use of media to present, record and analyze data, but so do blue-collar jobs who are looking for way to increase productivity and analyze market trends, along with increase job safety.
The 21st Century Brain
Students now learn in a new way, never seen before!
Students in this modern world need to utilize all of the higher order thinking skills taught to students in previous times. As the illustration at the left illustrates, the one missing component in how teachers view students' learning today is the internet and its' endless possibilities in motivating and intriguing the young mind. Students for centuries have been taught and encouraged to evaluate, apply, analyze and synthesize knowledge. Today's students are able to use the internet to research and find text sources, videos, pod casts and presentations related to anything they would like to learn about. The big catch is, can this "Google, yahoo" part of the brain begin to differentiate what resources they consume online are valid or not. Can this "goggle, yahoo" part of the brain create new meaning from the authentic sources they read? Will this "goggle, yahoo" part of the brain lead to great innovations and discoveries that help humans understand their place in the world and make life easier for all our world's citizens? Technology is a lovely asset to any classroom, but in a global community, will students transfer their learning beyond their community? Educators around the globe will be tuned in to find the answers to these questions in the years ahead.
gbwhitby discusses on YouTube how the DNA of education has changed over the years. Students today are learning in ways that are not similar to how we learned years ago. He recognizes that many schools are still teaching tin the same ways students were taught decades ago and states the importance of changing this DNA of learning to meet the needs of our learners. In gbwhitby's words " we are all co-constructors of meaning" and he would like to us utilize the internet to share our constructs of learning with each other.