was once called typing class is now known as technology class. Gone are
the days where computer class was spent playing Oregon Trail and
creating word processing documents. The networked world in which
students exist demands an education that prepares students to produce
and consume information in a variety of formats. These formats range
from text to images to multimedia. Students need a broad variety of
fluencies to be prepared for the 21st-century workforce. Even jobs traditionally thought of us being technology light now require someone who has basic computer skills. This article describes those digital literacy skills paramount to success in any career.
- Coding is
a universal language and one that is useful whether a technical career
is pursued or not. For example, having a basic understanding of HTML,
CSS, and the like creates a shared understanding and a sense of knowing
what can and cannot be done with web pages.
- Collaboration in
the online environment requires deliberate Students should be taught
basic project management and group work essentials to navigate between
multiple platforms. Utilizing tools such as Base Camp or Trello in
addition to collaborative functionality through Google Docs allows a
student to begin experimenting with effective online collaboration.
- Cloud Software is
an essential part of document management. The cloud is used to store
everything from photos to research projects to term papers and music.
While students are likely used to saving their pictures, they may not
have the necessary processes in place to save their academic work in a
way that is discoverable and accessible.
- Word Processing Software is
often used in conjunction with collaboration and cloud software. Google
has a suite of products, but there are other options as well. Microsoft
Online increasingly integrates with different storage and management
solutions such as Drop Box. Each of these platforms works a little
differently, and students should have the opportunity to engage with
several of them.
- Screencasting makes
it easy for the novice video creator to make simple yet effective
videos. This is a useful skill for explaining a topic as well as
articulating what you are thinking. Ideal tools for teaching students
how to screencast include Screencast-o-Matic and Camtasia. Through
screencasting, a student can learn more about making accessible content.
- Personal Archiving takes
into consideration that we leave a massive digital footprint. Without a
plan in place to archive this information, it can quickly turn into a
web of unfindable and not useful information. Students should be taught
concepts such as metadata, tagging, keywords, and categories succinctly
and directly to help them start thinking about how they are represented
- Information Evaluation has
always been necessary. However, with the ease at which all people can
create content and build knowledge, this skill becomes essential.
Staying abreast of developments in information literacy and software
engineering will paint a holistic picture of online information trends.
- Social Media Savvy is
important because social media serves different purposes depending on
the user, the technology, and the identified need. Students need to be
given instruction and an opportunity to practice using various social
media. For example, students should realize that Twitter is particularly
useful for staying current on the latest news in the field while
Flipgrid is great at building a sense of community.
Despite the commonly held conception that students are digital natives, research has
repeatedly shown that this is not the case. Focusing on the 8 skills
described above will guide your students to increased digital fluency
where they can act ethically, responsibly, and productively.