One of the many responsibilities of a teacher is to know how to make the most of technology in a balanced way. This is specifically important, as the learners need to be equipped with digital fluency. But, the teachers also have to be mindful about eliminating the digital distraction. It can be done only by the thoughtful integration of technology into the general classroom culture.
Digital fluency moves beyond knowing how to implement any specific app or device. If you are a teacher, following are the ways to assist your students to develop digital fluency.
- Allowing the students to hone their communication skills: Mastering communication skills is a vital aspect of acquiring digital fluency. It all lies in their ability to articulate new knowledge across a different set of people and to choose an apt platform to reach out to the audience. Digital storytelling is one such efficient method that helps to communicate with new research findings. Additionally, you can encourage students to use augmented reality and virtual reality. With the help of these advanced technologies, learners can understand how technology works. They will also have a clear idea that effective communication skills can change the ways in which a story might be told.
- Consider flipping your lessons: You can tell the students to gather knowledge about a particular topic, using their independent effort. It can be through a video, audio or text. This will encourage the students to take an independent approach in the learning process. Often, in a traditional classroom setup, students often become accustomed to receiving direct instructions from the teachers. So, students get comfortable with the process. In such scenarios, rather than thinking about the lesson, the students would simply wait for your next set of instructions. So, make sure you challenge your students. In this case, you can post a screen-cast or an elaborate set of directions on your class blog, and then ask them to apply those resources in order to solve an issue. This way, they will no longer be dependent on you for assignment help. This will allow you to help the struggling students and enrich others, creating a reference library for later use, as to help the students to deal with their own problems effectively.
- Help them to gain knowledge of the digital footprints: A digital footprint is typically all the details a person passively leaves behind and actively shares about themselves online, specifically on social media platforms. Text, multimedia, images, browsing histories, cookies, IP addresses, passwords, and even Internet service providers, all of this constitute a person’s digital footprint. Your students may spend a substantial time online. In your lesson, you can elaborate on the consequences of the kind of contents shared by the students. It’s specifically crucial to tell your students that they shouldn’t assume anything online to be private. Whether it’s the new phone number they shared with their contacts or the tweet they just wrote.
- Teach the students to hone critical reading skills: This is one aspect where conventional literacy and digital fluency merges together. With this method, the teachers can help their students to become comfortable using critical reading skills, to check if they can rely on the details available on the internet. You can teach them what different site addresses mean, or how to search for multiple sources. You can also tell them to read the entire passage thoughtfully. It needs a lot of brain power to actually master the concept of digital fluency. They need to learn how to look at the information that they find online.
- Spare a thought about the LMS (learning management system) adopted by your institution: While many institutions guide their teachers to enter grades, take attendance, or even post regular assignments on an LMS, there are other functions that remain untapped. For instance, many LMSes have a communication section that allows steady, accessible communication with students and their families. The more you apply it, the more it becomes the “bulletin board” for your class. Many LMSes also involve a place to post and share curriculum and lessons. Sharing with students, colleagues, parents, and other members of the community assist you and your students to collaborate effectively and build a strong classroom culture.
- Take the help of devices while planning lessons: Using tech devices can boost many areas of direct instruction and improve independent practice. This offers you the scope to circulate and give one-on-one support or put together a small group. For instance, rather than giving a presentation in class and having students take notes, publish the presentation on Google Docs. You can include directions for students to take notes along with the presentation. They can go through it and learn at their own pace. Another idea is to have students take a practice quiz with the help of LMS or another assessment app.
- Allow students to share their thoughts about an app or tool you used in the classroom: Sharing the conclusion of the lesson is the key to effectively decipher how much the students have learned. Other than learning, let the students share thoughts about the app or tool they used. Ask them to include what they found or appreciated. You may not do this every time you use a program or app. But sparing some time for students to reflect on what they did (with the app), what intrigued them, and what they didn’t understand, will make them familiar with technology. Not only will it boost the confidence of the students to explore the features in the apps and programs, but it will also enhance their problem-solving skills.
- Focus on the efficiency of creation: The proficiency of creation involves a proper understanding of how to use knowledge to create something new. These creations can be physical or virtual, such as 3D printing and programming. Particularly in higher education, educators are increasingly pushing to implement maker spaces of students. This ultimately eliminates the barriers to hone the efficacy. It is crucial to offer access to the right kind of resources, allowing the learners to be inventors.
- Help students acquire media literacy on a global scale: Teachers can help the students to recognize, access, decipher, and evaluate media coverage from around the world. This can include international news sources that are available in both local languages and English translation. Students can gather a deeper knowledge and facilitate awareness of how and why different communities, individuals, events, and cultures are represented in the global mass media. They can also gain perspectives on how such things influence different contexts and facilitate cross-cultural understanding. Students can look through various foreign media representatives when carrying out the research to analyze the reasons as to why different sources take different angles.
- Help the pupils to reach out to a global audience with the process of online publishing: These days, various institutions ensure that the research and ideas presented by the students don’t stay confined with a classroom. Instead, they are encouraged to share their learning worldwide through different online tools. Publishing is as easy as creating a free blog using WordPress, Blogger or other similar platforms. For a more defined and advanced option, consider Oracle Foundation’s ThinkQuest competition for students.
Conclusion: Digital fluency is an objective which requires the collaborative efforts of the teachers and the students. The path that leads to this process relies on us having a common outlook and language. It’s ultimately a two way street between the teacher and the learners, that will be instrumental in consolidating the digital fluency.
Author Bio: Alvin Hopkins is an experienced digital marketer associated with Essay Help for the past 3 years. He’s also a social activist and has been a part of several social awareness campaigns in the past.