Fri 1st September 2017 - 08:36

Top Tips for Bringing Digital Literacy into the Classroom

A teacher’s most important goal is to inspire students to learn and to prepare them for the future.

Your students will be part of a digital future. There’s no question about it. We can only assume where digital is going, but there’s one thing we’re sure of: it’s going to be everywhere. Your students should be prepared to face such a future and you have to start preparing them now. 

Digital literacy is not just a buzzword. It is absolutely necessary for today’s education. But what exactly is it? Defining literacy is simple - an ability to read and write. Digital literacy is the ability to use digital tools for finding, evaluating, using, sharing, and creating content. When your students go to college, they will have to conduct research through online resources. They will be expected to write papers, create multimedia presentations, and communicate in the online environment. That’s what you need to teach them to do. 

Monica Rogers, tutor explains: “New educational technology is being introduced by the day. Teachers have a lot of support for introducing digital learning in the classroom. The tools and resources are out there; we just need to start using the right tools for our specific needs.”

Below we’ll list a few top tips that will help you to bring digital literacy into the classroom. 

1. Understand your role: You’re a designer

The teacher has always been a designer of the learning environment. Back when educators didn’t use digital tools, they created the vibe of the classroom through various teaching methods. Now, they have an ability to design virtual learning spaces and activities. 

You don’t have to design entire online courses for that purpose. You can find learning materials online and design your lectures around them. You can also create a blog or website for the class to feature all projects completed by the students. You can use this site to post assignments and encourage discussions. 

Firstly, it is important to teach your students how to access the resources and make their contributions with comments. If you notice that some of them are struggling with the use of digital tools, pay more attention to them. Don’t make them feel embarrassed. Just keep reminding and encourage them to keep trying.

2. Present a collection of reliable digital resources

The internet is full of useful information that can help your students learn. However, it’s also flooded with content which is not relevant and may provide distractions. Your main goal is to teach your students how to use the internet responsibly. 

For starters, create a collection of valuable educational websites. These will provide the foundation that your students will explore. The list should be updated frequently.

In addition, share links to useful content on a daily basis. You can do this through a blog or website, but it’s even better if you do it through a special eduClipper board. This tool is similar to Pinterest and it is safe for the classroom. If your students learn how to use the platform, they will be able to access the resources you share, however they will be able to explore more content as well. When students start creating and organising their own boards, you’ll know you’re on the right track towards digital literacy.

3. Teach them how to use social media

Social media often has a bad reputation among educators. However, there are many sides to this discussion. If your students are already using it, you can provide them with tips on to how to use the platforms efficiently. Social media is great for maintaining connections with friends and families, however, you should also teach students how to stay safe. Tell them what they can and cannot share, and teach them to be cautious when communicating with strangers. 

Facebook groups are great! You can have a private one for your class where you can share updates, reminders, and notifications. You’ll trigger discussions and keep the learning process active outside the classroom. 

How and when to use digital tools in your classroom? That’s up to you. It’s important to stay on track with the actual curriculum. However, you can always find time for introducing digital literacy. The good thing is you can take these activities outside classroom hours and analyse the reaction of your students to each new method you implement. You’ll understand what they like and don’t like, so you can find an approach which works for everyone.

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