Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy is the capability to use technology and knowing when and how to use it, and can be broken down into three sections:

  • Understanding how to use technology (PC’s, tablets, smart devices, etc.)
  • Understanding how to use software effectively (Google Drive, Search engines, Read & Write for Google Chrome)
  • Understanding how to evaluate the credibility of online information

Understanding how to use technology (PC’s, tablets, smart devices, etc.)
Here in Saskatchewan, most children have access to technology, and are already familiar with the basics of how to turn on a laptop, navigate the desktop, and search for files. That said, it is best to introduce any of these seemingly simple tasks with students at a young age, and to give them the opportunity to practice these skills.
Examples include:
– Learning how to search for files on the laptop.
– Moving, copying, and pasting files
– Becoming familiar with the keyboard (Key.br is a great place to get students started)

Understanding How to Use Software Effectively 
While many of your students will have no problem finding their favorite videos on Youtube, chances are they may not be as familiar with how to properly use software for educational and research purposes.
The following screencasts have been created to give you insight on how to use three classroom tools that are proving to be very effective for improving student motivation and ability.

Google Drive Tutorial – A screencast that helps teachers how to get started on Google Drive, as well as some of the reasons why using in the classroom is so beneficial.

Google Classroom Tutorial – A screencast that helps teachers to set up their students, and use Google Classroom as an effective learning tool.

Read & Write for Google Chrome – Another screencast that gives teachers an overview on R&W so they can better support student learning.

Understanding How to Research and Evaluate the Credibility of Online Information
Students will benefit immensely from the opportunity to see firsthand how to search for items  on Google. A great way for teachers to model this to their class is A Google A Day, a daily scavenger hunt where participants attempt to answer questions through doing different Google searches. It’s harder than it sounds, and doing this with your class as a teacher led daily activity would certainly help them to understand how to find information they are searching for.

Older students will benefit from the Google Digital Literacy and Citizenship Program, in particular the Become an Online Sleuth lessons. This program is well laid out, and will help students to better understand how to use information they find through a critical lens.

Visit Common Sense Media’s scope and sequence for lessons specific to the grade level you are teaching.

Photo credit: CC Ben Barber