Digital Literacy: A Vital Skill That Should Be Incorporated Into All Curriculums

Digital Literacy

Every day new technologies are being invented; it’s not surprising to find a child glued to a smartphone, switching between apps and teaching themselves how to use the apps as they go. Technology has become a permanent feature of everyday life, and this digital world offers a lot of benefits to kids and adults alike. There are more opportunities to connect, collaborate, and learn new things. Employers are looking for workers with the requisite skills to live, work, and thrive in this digital world. That’s why it’s crucial that students are prepared for the real world by helping them develop digital literacy skills. 

What is digital literacy?

Digital literacy applies to the understanding and awareness that helps learners engage more meaningfully and carefully with digital technology. Think of it as the ability to apply digital tools efficiently and effectively in daily tasks. However, this goes beyond gaining IT proficiency; digital literacy isn’t the same as computer literacy. It encompasses critical thinking skills, an awareness of how to behave in online environments, and an understanding of the social issues emerging from digital technologies. 

This means developing technological proficiency skills, learning authorship rules such as copyright and plagiarism, social responsibility while online, and more. Simply put, digital literacy is a blend of digital tool know-how, critical thinking, and social engagement. Similar to how reading and writing are necessities, digital literacy now features high on the list of requirements of every child. In line with this, GIIS – international school in dubai are cultivating digital literacy to help learners gain access to global opportunities and knowledge. 

Importance of teaching digital literacy skills

1. It promotes deep learning

Digital literacy has quickly become a key feature of learning today. Given how important it is for pupils to get 21st-century technological skills, their success is dependent on developing this digital literacy. As such, you must weave digital literacy into pedagogy. A key element of this is deep learning, of which there are 6 core skills learners develop. These include:  

  • Creativity: the ability to weigh opportunities and as the right questions to generate new ideas.
  • Citizenship: the ability to analyze issues and resolve complex issues based on a deeper comprehension of diverse values and a global perspective. 
  • Collaboration: the capacity to work in collaboration with others and develop strong interpersonal and team skills.
  • Critical thinking: the capability to evaluate information, identify patterns and connections as well as derive meaningful knowledge they can use in real-world situations. 
  • Communication: the ability to communicate effectively with various audiences through various tools. 
  • Character: developing traits such as perseverance, grit, resilience, and tenacity, as well as a desire to make learning a part of everyday life. 

2. It teaches e-safety

The internet is an amazing resource; however, it is uncensored. Despite its great potential to offer great learning value, it also opens them up to inherent risks. Even though children nowadays are digital natives, they are still kids meaning they are quite vulnerable to bullies and criminals. Unmonitored use of digital spaces and platforms can have adverse effects on students, such as misinformation, manipulation, and falling for fake news. 

It can also cause them to compare themselves to fake online personals inciting feelings of isolation, inadequacy, depression, and even other mental issues. However, by teaching them digital literacy skills, you help them gain the skills to navigate and discern all forms of digital technology safely. Technology is here to stay, so educators and students alike need to be smarter about using it to improve learning and teaching. 

3. It helps develop 21st-century skills

On top of traditional literacy skills such as reading, or writing, today’s pupils need more to succeed. Digital literacy skills grow traditional literacy skills by incorporating e-learning abilities that stimulate thinking and learning in students. For instance, aside from learning to read and write, learners can expand these skills by working on their communication, language, and media skills. Interacting with words through pictures, videos, audio media, or charts takes their reading and writing skills to a higher level. 

It also fosters dynamic creativity that helps students communicate, think, design, and interact with the world. Where traditional literacy reinforces its skills using textbooks, written tests, or recitation, digital literacy teaching methods expand on these tools using other tools. These include game-based learning, multimedia slides, audiovisual learning tools, virtual reality, and more.  

Helping learners develop employable skills is a big part of why they go to school. Technology has transformed a lot, from how people learn to how they communicate, work, and interact. With all the incredible ways technology has changed the world, learners must know how to use these emergent technologies. With digital literacy skills, students are better placed to thrive in this ever-changing world. They can face situations as they come and are outfitted with the requisite skill set to prosper. 

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