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What is Digital Literacy?

According to Unicef, digital literacy is “the knowledge, skills and attitudes that allow children to be both safe and empowered in an increasingly digital world

This concept really plays into the overarching umbrella of digital citizenship. Who are we as contributing members of the internet, and how do our multiple literacies play into that creation of our identity online? As a Connected Educator, my students’ safety is paramount when we are doing activities or assignments online. For the most part, aside from playing games or watching Youtube when they should be working, my students conduct themselves appropriately at school. My concern is what type of shenanigans they get into outside of school on their own devices.

So much of that education needs to come from home; often, students take what teachers say for granted until they come back years later and humble themselves by saying how right we were (lol). My fear, however, is what happens in the meantime.

I think some students will make mistakes regardless. Sort of like experimenting with drugs and alcohol, dating, and all of the other learning curves that happen outside of our school walls. Regardless of how much knowledge is acquired about a topic, people naturally want to experiment with it. The goal with digital citizenship and literacy, therefore, is to help build the tools to handle themselves appropriately online and understand the repercussions of their actions. We cannot stop them from making mistakes, but we sure can educate them on what should be done, and what might happen if they cross the line and make a mistake.

So often we hide from this content and focus on “literacies” in the classroom, but rather than creating a separate class or a plug-and-play model of “digital citizenship,” I feel incorporating digital literacy into our existing literacy plans would benefit students. As much as some people may say it is just “one more thing” … I challenge that it is not, as we are already teaching these skills in other classes, so incorporating the digital perspective does not add, but rather supplements and creates more importance for students. Kara is very brave and taking on digital literacy and identity with her Pre-K students! Building a strong foundation for teachers to keep building on the hard work of the primary teachers. Applying the method of reading, writing, and math problems, so that the next grade can scaffold off of prior knowledge. If these principles are built into the curriculum at a young age, even just the smallest amount, students can be technologically and digitally literate by the time they reach the age of owning cell phones and devices!

Here is a great video from a former classmate, Amanda Brace. It is a great watch! Take a peek!


What are your thoughts on digital literacy in the classroom? What are some of the things you are doing to educate students on Dig Lit?


6 thoughts on “What is Digital Literacy?

  1. I love how you incorporated Amanda’s project in your blog post for this week. That was the first EC&I course that I took, and boy was there a lot of very intelligent people and very naturally technologically gifted people. They were great! Always educating, and making me feel welcome. Thanks for the throwback there.

    As for kiddos these days… after teaching since 2010, I know kiddos are excited to experiment with pretty much everything. Like you said, from dating to substances, and online etiquette, there are few and far between subjects that kiddos aren’t or haven’t tried experimenting with. So, like you, even though there should be more of an emphasis placed on kiddos at home with this subject matter, it often gets left to schools and teachers to carry the load. I too fear what happens with kiddos in the time between them figuring things out for themselves, and what they learn in schools. I wish so badly that DC was a subject explicitly taught in schools to help kids make better choices when experimenting and being able to know some of the consequences of some of their actions prior to engaging in them. It seems to be a slippery slope at times, and often I feel the pressure of setting my kiddos up to be the most successful that they can be, even though I am not there to help them make all of their choices (that’s unrealistic).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree, Kelly. Can be very frustrating but worthwhile to have the conversations!! I wish we had a few outcomes in a variety of subjects to help incorporate this content rather than it being an “initiative” that can be easily skipped over.


  2. Digital literacy is like going on an adventure…. but… yes.. this is the demand of the current scenario. I agree with your thought that kids will make mistakes but by teaching them about it… they will be aware of the consequences that they might face. I believe not only teachers but parents/guardians also play a vital role here. Moreover, the impact of incorporating this at a young age will surely help them to have a safe online life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It takes a village to raise a child and if we can be scaffolding from a young age, students will be far more aware and technologically literate as they move from elementary to high school and onward. Thanks for the comment!


  3. Dalton, I can picture the students sneaking games in the classroom right now, but I agree they generally use it safely at school but do not extend it into their daily lives. I also agree that it can seem like “one more thing”, but it really isn’t when we incorporate it into our existing practice. Do you happen to know what Amanda used to create the video you shared at the end? I’d love to know!

    Liked by 1 person

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