picture source: Gerd Altmann pixabay
It’s impossible to deny that the future is a digital. In the past we’ve been told that our students are “digital natives” and that they’re the ones who’ll be teaching us. In some respects this seem true. The reality, however, is that navigating the increasingly digital world we live in is littered with pitfalls and is far from second nature for our students. Digital literacy is a competence and it can and should be taught: certainly according to the new LOMLOE, where it given much increased prominence. In this blog post we’ll look at what it means according to the law, and how it can be developed.
What is digital literacy?
According to LOMLOE
Digital competence implies the safe, healthy, sustainable, critical and responsible use of digital technologies for learning, at work and for participation in society, as well
as the interaction with these technologies.
It also Includes information and data literacy, communication and collaboration, digital content creation (including programming), security (including
digital well-being) and competencies related to digital citizenship, privacy,
intellectual property, problem solving, and computational and critical thinking.
While the definition above is fairly comprehensive I like to look at digital literacy using the graphic below. Thanks to
In this section I’m going to look at the key areas and how they relate to the new law. A draft version of the LOMLOE ‘leavers profile’ can be found here – there are descriptors for digital competence on page 14.
The first point in the new law is one of being able to search for information on the internet. It is as plain as day that students need to be able to asses the information they find on the internet. They need to know if it is true and reliable information or simply “Fake News”. That is to say new law clearly talks about a student’s ability to be critical when using digital technologies for learning and, perhaps more importantly, participation in society.
A great way to work on that is to provide two articles on the same subject. Get your students to asses the sources and which one is more reliable. For example a medical journal about the benefits of vaccinations might be slightly more reliable than a facebook post telling us that we’re getting a microchip inserted into our bodies. Always encourage students to fact check what they’ve read and not simply believe it because it falls in like with their beliefs. Some great fact checking sites include:
Once the students have checked all the facts, they should then share the information with the class. Not only giving their classmates an overview of the article the have read but also telling their peers which article was, in fact, fake news.
It’s important to note here that it isn’t always as simple as real and fake news. There are many grey areas based on a person’s bias both in terms of reading and writing the news. The skill to read between the lines and look into these areas is one that is absolutely essential to anyone, not simply our students.
One key feature, not only of this exercise but of the entire competence of digital literacy, comes at the end when students give proper credit for the intellectual property and don’t pass the information off as their own. Be it an option a quote or a picture, referencing is vital to your integrity online and is something that we need to impress upon our students. A simple tag on social media can often be enough.
Content Creation, Collaboration and Creativity
Something essential to almost every job now is the ability to create digital content. There are so many ways you can work on this with your classes. One wonderful idea a number of my colleagues have used is the idea of a class blog. Within that class blog teachers and parents can easily monitor and aid in the students’ work.
Perhaps more importantly, however, is wide scope of activities it allows the students. Not everyone is creative in the same way. The beauty of a blog is its scope. You can have students, write, draw, take photos, make long videos, make short, make memes and even create kahoots and wordwalls. In the end they will have a clear and, hopefully, coherent space to share their creativity.
The real beauty of a class blog is the collaboration side of things and the fact students can access it from anywhere.
Privacy, security and our digital footprint
picture source: the digital way pixabay
One of the big points brought up in the new law is: “Identify hazards and take action when using digital technologies to protect devices and personal data. Be aware of the importance and need to make a critical, legal, safe, healthy use of said digital technologies”
Social media is readily accessible to anyone with a mobile phone and what makes it so popular is the chance it offers users to interact with others. We need to make it clear to our students they should always think long and hard about the content they post, for a few reasons:
- Digital Footprint
1. Everything a person posts creates a part of their digital footprint. With this in mind, try and get students to think about what a future employer might think about what they’re posting because they’ll be able to access it later down the line. That is to say that helping our students make informed decisions on what they post can prevent a loss of credibility as well as potential unwanted attention.
2. You private details should remain exactly that way, private. Coaching students on what they should and shouldn’t share needs to be at the top of our agenda. Not only in terms of the content they create but also when they engage with other users.
3. The link between security and privacy is obvious. However, security goes beyond the digital realm. It goes without saying personal details should be kept secret. With that in mind creating strong passwords are vital to prevent identity theft. Similarly, safety outside the online world can also be affected by our online actions.
This video shows the danger of an oversized digital footprint and is a great one to raise awareness among your students.
To sum up, like it or not, digitalisation is happening and getting our students prepared for the ever evolving digital world is something we shouldn’t take lightly and the new focus on digital competence in the LOMLOE reflects this reality.