I can remember being in 3rd grade and taking my very first computer class. We would stay in our classroom and work on the giant IBM desktops in the back of the classroom (if I recall correctly, we had 4 to share between the 20 or so of us in the classroom). We’d take turns and you would go to the computer, and proceed to put on your massive headphones and insert a floppy disk (I’m sure there are students in my Digital Literacy class that don’t know what a floppy disk is) to work on our keyboarding skills.
Digital literacy, by Wikipedia’s definition, “is the knowledge, skills, and behaviors used in a broad range of digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs, all of which are seen as network rather than computing devices.” Almost everything we do today requires us to use computers and/or other technology in one way or another.
It’s crazy to think how much things have changed since my first computer class (20+ years ago). The teaching of digital literacy is changing all the time. I can’t believe how much it has changed even since my oldest child started school 8 years ago. In order to keep up with the advances in the ever-changing world of technology, it is SO important to have a deep understanding of digital literacy.
Digital literacy is being taught to students at a very young age. As I mentioned before, my oldest started school 8 years ago. Since then, digital literacy has changed so much. My middle child started school 3 years ago. I can’t remember if they started working on tablets in kindergarten, but I know for sure they were working on iPad Mini’s last year. This year, they have enough iPad Mini’s for each student in the second grade. He will come home and spend an hour each night working on Scootpad (a great learning tool, by the way) because he wants to have the top score in his class (he’s super competitive). Apps like this help kids to quickly increase their digital literacy without them really realizing it. Kathy Schrock has put together a great list of online tools and web 2.0 applications that students can utilize to help them become more digitally literate.
With the amount of time we as adults spend on digital devices, it’s no wonder that kids are becoming digitally literate at younger and younger ages. My daughter (who is almost 2), for example, can operate an iPhone pretty handily. She knows how to find her apps and can navigate them with ease. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not, but I think it definitely shows the importance of digital literacy in our current world.
Regardless of your occupation these days, it seems that digital literacy plays a part in our daily lives. Becoming familiar and competent in the digital world is only going to become more and more important as we continue to move forward.