The Importance Of Digital Literacy In K-12

May 20, 2022

Traditional literacy is dead. Literacy today incorporates more than reading and writing with pen and paper.

Today children need more than an ability to engage with the written word.

They are expected to be able to think and evaluate critically using multiple modes of learning, and engage with the global community online safely and responsibly. They need to be empowered and educated with the tools they will need in the ever-changing digital world n.

What is Digital Literacy?

digital literacy

Digital literacy expands the scope of traditional literacy to include multimodal e-learning materials and methodologies that develop student’s technological skills and understanding of how to access and disseminate information safely and responsibly.

It incorporates learning via various technology platforms using not only the written word, but audio and video as well.

The key is to give children the ability to distinguish and understand all forms of digital technology. And more importantly, how and when to use them. Children are now learning traditional subjects in new, innovative ways using online resources and platforms.

The new hybrid system expands students’ communication, language and media skills. Using images, diagrams, audio, and multiple media formats, students develop a higher level of learning and dynamic creativity.

If digital literacy is not taught, children will not be prepared for the world they live in. Introducing these skills in the formative years gets children familiar with digitally interactive learning tools and ensures they are kept abreast of technological advances. Not all children will have equal access to electronic devices or the internet e. So, schools play an important role in closing the digital learning gap for those children who may not have equal access at home.

Why Digital Literacy is so Important in K-12

Digital literacy can be taken and practiced everywhere and anywhere. Children don’t have to pause their learning when they are outside the classroom. They can continue independent research and writing, encouraging independence, curiosity and a love for learning. This will stand them in good stead for any future independent learning, like learning Portuguese online.

Digital learning relies on collaboration and interaction. Children need to be able to review, encourage, suggest and motivate each other in the classroom. This builds essential skills that children will use throughout their lives.

Digital literacy allows for teachers to be more involved in students' learning. They can digitally view students’ progress and identify any areas they may be struggling in. Students also have more direct access to teachers so are more likely to get the support they need.

Digital literacy allows for students learning to be personalised. Teachers can adjust the learning materials easily to cater for individual students. Students can work on different projects simultaneously, learning at their own pace while continuing to engage and collaborate with their peers and teachers.

Digital literacy can help with behavioural issues in the classroom. Children who feel stifled in the closed classroom environment and act out due to their frustrations, will do so less in the hybrid classroom.

Digital literacy allows students to break out of the strict classroom environment. The image of classrooms where all students sit at their own tables facing the board with a teacher standing at the front is no longer valid. The classrooms of today are dynamic, evolving and fluid, to reflect the world outside that all children will eventually need to navigate.

The bottom line is that traditional literacy, while still essential for children’s development, is no longer enough to equip children with the tools they need for their future. In addition to being able to read and write, children need to be able to understand and navigate multiple technology platforms, materials, and forms of media.

The recent pandemic has shown that traditional forms of working are also evolving and hybrid systems incorporating digital office time at home continue to be considered. This is the world our children need to be prepared for.

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