Choose Your Own Adventure: Digital Literacy

I chose to look at digital literacy for this week because I feel that it is a segment of information literacy that my district is trying—but struggling greatly—with, despite being the most entry-level aspect of information literacy.

First of all, what is information literacy? According to the Association of College and Research Libraries, information literacy is when a person has the knowledge to know when more information is needed and then also has the skills to find, evaluate, and use that additional information (American Library Association, 2000). It appears, to me, that digital literacy is then, the most obvious first step to figuring out if your classroom, school, or district is teaching information literacy skills appropriately.

Digital literacy, according to the American Library Association, digital literacy is “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills” (American Library Association, 2000). This is the most simple way to incorporate technology into the classroom—and can be as simple as using computers to write papers and share them with a teacher through Google Classroom.

While I was reading Mike Caulfield’s blog (https://hapgood.us/2016/12/19/yes-digital-literacy-but-which-one/), I was laughing and becoming frustrated. So often, when I talk to my students about what sources to use in scholarly writing, we go over the RADCAP/CRAAP rubrics that Caulfield discusses—and thoroughly disproves. As a high school teacher, I often struggle with the amount of catching up it seems I need to do with my students. I shouldn’t have to explain grammar and sentence structure to my freshmen, they should have learned that before they got to me! However, despite me feeling that way, that constantly is a shortcoming that my students come in with. I struggle with how to truly teach my students to be digital citizens when they struggle with simply writing a sentence appropriately.

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While this seems silly and ridiculous, students are more and more under the assumption that things like this imgur image are true simply because it’s on the internet and may be found on what they believe is a trustworthy website.

That being said, I would love to have a unit on how to be actual digital citizens. Also, the more I read in this class, the more that I think this must be a priority for me in my classroom. If I am expecting my students to be well-rounded, educated, global citizens, then this topic is one that needs to be at the forefront of my teaching. Where I struggle with finding this time is with more and more “updated” curriculum. I was currently on a curriculum writing team and we were, essentially, ignored when we discussed the importance of knowing how to use/fact check on the internet. Our district-level administrator simply believed that our students already had these skills, despite what we tried to tell her. Not only do we have little time to add anything extra, but I think the reason that so many educators are even more hesitant to tackle this issue is because of what Caulfield said in regards to knowing that something is wrong is just about knowing things. How do we, as educators, push our students to just know things when they are so lacking in general knowledge? It is going to be a long road, but one that I believe is vital.

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