When I was growing up, the word literacy was strictly associated with reading. Being literate meant you were able to read. Now when we combine the word “digital” with the word “literacy”, it has a much bigger meaning. Here are three points that help describe what being digitally literate means to me. These points are actually nothing new and really get to the heart of digital literacy for everyone. The italicized words in each bullet point are ones that I believe are crucial to the meaning of Digital Literacy. So, it’s about doing as well as knowing.
Digital Literacy is:
- the ability to use technology, communication devices or networks to locate, evaluate, use and create information.
- the ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources that are presented using the web.
- the ability to perform tasks effectively in a digital environment.
The way I do my job has changed dramatically over the last ten years. I have learned how to become digitally literate in the context of my work and many times in a “sink or swim” situation. I have learned many skills I need to navigate technology devices and web tools to do my job efficiently and effectively. My social networking tool of choice at work is Twitter. I have come to depend on the professional network I’ve created over the last two years to help me do my job. I’ve learned to problem-solve out of necessity as well as find and create information. But I’m not there yet! I know I will always be learning how to improve my digital literacy.
I have spent more than twenty years in education and much of it has been at Manson Northwest Webster. I am passionate about making sure our students are prepared for the future, and I believe being digitally literate will go a long way to get them ready for life beyond our school.