Critical Digital Literacy Explained for Teachers


Ability to find, organize, understand, value and convert data into information through digital technology is a definition of digital literacy. People, who are digitally literate, are able to communicate more efficiently that helps their work to be done efficiently. The digital literacy would produce more fruitful results if both parties at two opposite end of communication have knowledge about it. This time is an emergence of digital means that is going to make digital world. So it is important for today’s students to be digital literate and for this reasons teachers must be equipped with the knowledge of digital literacy. Digital knowledge gain is as important for students as learning reading and writing.

Even the emergence of digital literacy is superseding the traditional education including reading and writing because now this process of education is carried through digital means. It has become compulsory for teachers to provide their knowledge and understanding to their students about digital literacy. This is not going to be teaching in a single subject anymore rather to be way of learning all subjects and courses. Need of teaching information literacy skills through listening, speaking, numeracy, writing, reading and critical thinking. This helps students to be actively engaged in digital environment at their institutes and further in professional career. An important thing in regards to digital literacy is that it’s not just learning computer skills and dissertation help but a wide range of social and ethical perspective for engaging in digital activities.

Digital literacy includes the skill of using new technology based devices to communicate digitally across social, cultural, language and intellectual barriers. Teachers need to teach techniques and concepts that enable students to use digital devices through the routine lessons taught to them of all subjects they study at school. Further, there is a need to include different technological devices and online means into the educational experiences of students to ensure they have full knowledge of digital technologies. So it is not enough to be familiar with or proficient to understand what is digital literacy. Technologies are developed to work on the imagination of individual that can be used to identify their skills and talent for academic and professional career.

Students need to teach how to evaluate online marketing content that is published on different platforms like tweets, Facebook, YouTube and other search engine optimization tools. This will develop more interest of school students towards learning by incorporating social media platforms in their curriculum. Juliet Hinrichsen and Antony Coombs from university of Greenwich worked to make a framework for developing an understanding of critical digital literacy. These are five dimensions of their developed framework of digital literacy;

Decoding:

First teachers need to develop the conventions and structure of digital media. They must know the sensitivity of digital modes at work with understanding of operational framework within which it works. These core skills of digital literacy include understanding of navigational mechanisms and movement of button, windows, scrolling and bars those are digital landscape. Further it includes the digital environment and it norms and practices (online behaviour, safety, community norms, sharing and privacy). Understanding about common operations including saving, download and upload, file organizing. Additionally, recognition and evaluation of statistical date that can be social codes in colours, transitions, font and layouts are important. Finally digital literacy decoding is the recognizing different modes of digital texts those have different conventions and characteristics.

Meaning Making:

This aspect of digital literacy is about the concepts of recognizing the activities of learners to understand and construct the meaning as a participant. This dimension focuses on reading, ability to integrate meaning of digital content quickly and following the narrative of different visual, structural and semantic elements. It also includes the recognition of relationships between existing and new understanding to express the mental models. This is the capacity to convert an intention, purpose, idea or feeling into digital form.

Analysing:

Teachers need to develop an ability in their students to analyse the digital domain. Analysis of digital domain includes the deconstructing digital resources then their constituent parts should be analysed. Then selecting tools and resources to interrogating the purpose, provenance and structure of digital content and have influence on its output.

Persona:

It is the sensitivity to the matters of identity, reputation and membership in different context of digital literacy. Building identity means to develop sense of learner’ own role in digital environment. Where, reputation management focuses on the importance of maintaining and building both community and individual reputations. Participation means to focus on the contribution and collaborative nature to make up digital projects with consideration of cultural and ethical grounds.

Using:

In this dimension of digital literacy focus is on the ability of learner to deploy digital tools creatively and effectively. The process of using starts from the finding digital tools and necessity of evaluating available options of tools. An effective application of tools and techniques and ability to identify and solve problems with confidence to explore, innovate and experiment new solutions is also part of using. Creating solutions must be with consideration of learners’ imaginative approach, content and techniques.

These dimensions are compulsory for teachers to understand so they can develop digital skills in their students. At this time every employer is looking for employees who have the ability to communicate via digital means and open learn future skills of digitalization. So teaching students to write essays is not going to be enough to make them competitive individuals of today’ and tomorrow world. Teachers also need to critically think about digital literacy that how is it working and how can be transmit into their class sessions so the students learning can be enriched with emerging digital means. As discussed earlier that digital literacy is not just to know what it is or it does work but also to know how to use effective and efficiently. Students must teach that what are ethical and moral grounds need to be considered while using digital means. Digital literacy is the need of today students so they can use it in future to explore further means.

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