Tuesday, October 16, 2018

What Does it Mean to Be "Digitally Literate"?

The Digital Learning Team works with teachers across our great district; these staff members are our students. And just like YOUR students, the employees we work with have different skills and different needs when it comes to understanding technology integration. Last week, we posted an infographic titled "Tech Tools Every Plano ISD Educator Should Have in Their Toolbox." This week, we're focusing a little more on the digital literacy those kinds of tools require.

If you are an English/Language Arts teacher, you know that your students are not going to start out reading Shakespeare on the first day of kindergarten. There are foundational skills - recognizing letters, associating those letters to sounds, developing oral vocabulary, reading a lot of Captain Underpants, getting instruction on close reading, and more - do you see the progression there? Digital literacy follows a path that is perhaps not quite so linear as that reading example, but there is a progression nonetheless. Some of the foundational digital skills users must now develop include identifying letters on the keyboard, learning what the Shift key does, memorizing passwords, typing a website correctly, opening various programs, and on up through coding and beyond.

Our Chromebook rollout has accelerated the pace of - and need for - the development of these digital literacy skills. Below are 10 crucial skills, in no particular order, that all teachers should possess and pass on to their students. How would you rate yourself on each of these skills?

Just as we want students to not only possess simple decoding skills but to become fluent readers, we also hope that all our students AND staff members are working past "point and click skills" and toward true digital fluency. We hope you will flex your "tech intuition" muscles so that you can have a better sense of what to do when you encounter an unfamiliar digital situation.

If your digital literacy/fluency is not where you would like it to be, our department can help! We can work with you individually, in small teams, or with an entire staff. We have experience with learners of all abilities - so whether you consider yourself a novice or an advanced tech user, we probably have some suggestions for improving your digital skills.

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