The Importance of Digital Literacy for Students
by Brianna Richard, on Apr 28, 2021 12:31:18 PM
Now more than ever, millions of eyes are glued to screens, and screens have become both a burden and a blessing. Screens have joined families together over the holidays, connected classmates to teachers, have become our newspaper, and are our main source of entertainment. Unfortunately, screens and the media can sometimes be a source of misleading or false information that can lead both kids and adults astray. This is why now more than ever, digital literacy is of the utmost importance.
But what is digital literacy? Digital literacy is evaluating, understanding, and using technology. It is being able to discern whether or not information can be dangerous or of worth. It is finding information online and using it in a beneficial and useful way.
Digital literacy encompasses a whole lot more than just being able to use a computer. It is also making sure you are being safe while scouring every corner of the internet. It is understanding your digital footprint while also knowing what kind of information about your life, friends, and family gets left behind online. It is understanding what cyberbullying is and who you can go to in order to stop it. Lastly, it is knowing how to appropriately use online resources and put information into your own words and avoid plagiarism.
Digital literacy carries so many skills we need our students to have both inside and outside of the classroom. These are skills students will need to carry with them beyond the walls of the school and into their careers. So what can educators and parents do in order to prepare kids to be digital citizens and ensure students are safe behind screens? There are various programs that are free for both parents and teachers that go over the ins and outs of digital literacy. Kids learn what type of information should be kept private online and that not everything that is written online is always true!
Google has a wonderful free program called, “Be Internet Awesome!” It is a game-style program that teaches internet safety in an adventure-packed way. Kids can battle hackers, oversharers, phishers, and cyberbullies while learning all about being a digital citizen. There are a plethora of resources for the classroom and resources for home as well!
Common Sense Media is another great platform that has all things digital literacy covered. There are lesson plans for all grade levels and family activities for home. Common Sense Media has a lesson plan or a family discussion for just about every Digital Literacy topic there is.
Finally there's the News Literacy project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit that "provides programs and resources for educators and the public to teach, learn and share the abilities needed to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy."
Check out these free resources and leave a comment with ways you are preparing your children or students to be safe and engaged digital citizens!