A Little Note on Digital Literacy


Photo CC-Smart Chicago Collaborative

We live in a era of digital progression–everything is constantly being updated and glorified in all aspects of technology.  However, with all of these new features, social websites, and gadgets also brings about the strong need for digital literacy and citizenship.  Often times–that is completely lost in the realm of social media, blogs, and various other sources of human interaction on the internet.  Therefore, it is highly essential that proper digital etiquette, literacy, and citizenship is pushed in schools in order to develop good digital leaders for the future.

What is Digital Literacy? 

In essence digital literacy is a way of utilizing technology to present information about yourself, make posts, develop technological presentations, etc.  On a website I found explaining digital literacy, it goes in to a more depth way of describing what digital literacy is: https://digitalliteracy.cornell.edu/

Reading through this website it delivers some great information on how to correctly find information, site sources, and avoid plagiarism.  This site made a statement saying,

“The rules of appropriate behavior in these digital contexts may be unknown or unknowable. Well-established concepts such as copyright, academic integrity, and privacy are now difficult to define, as their meanings are in flux.”  

This statement could not be more true to the fact that many people just DON’T understand or know that what they are doing with the information is illegal or not appropriate.  With that being said, I think that it is our duty as adults to make sure that our children and students are learning proper digital etiquette when using technology and the internet information.

Why Should We Push Digital Etiquette?

What gets me these days is it seems every time I get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc–what ever social media site you prefer–I am reading an article about a student who was harrassed/bullied online and took their own life because of it.  That kind of stuff really eats at me–a kid who is 13 years old–life ended because of people being cruel online.  That kid hadn’t even really started life yet, and it makes me extremely sad for the world we live in.

My thought on the dilemma is that digital etiquette needs to be pushed in early childhood.  As adults, parents, teachers, we need to be warning students and children of the consequences of what social media has the potential of doing, and in what ways they can handle it.  There is always going to be bullying–the internet is just an easier fast track of doing it, but maybe there is that off chance that if we start pushing etiquette at earlier ages–students will know how to use these tools in professional proper manners and then those risks could potentially be reduced.

I found a neat video for a teaching resource for kids:  https://www.brainpop.com/technology/digitalcitizenship/digitaletiquette/

The Importance of Creating Great Digital Literacy and Leaders:

Digital literacy is the importance of knowing how to use digital resources correctly–being a leader is developing ways and showing others how to do exactly that.  With as much as the digital world is relied on now to retrieve varying amounts of information–it’s important as parents and educators that we develop the youth into great digital leaders.  I found a fantastic article discussing the importance of creating digital literacy and citenzenship: http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/uploads/LLDecArticle.pdf

What I particularly liked about this site was that it described 5 specific ways in which we could develop great digital leaders.  It discusses visionary leadership, digital age culture, systemic improvement, excellence in professional practice, and digital citizenship.  One point that this reading made–and I found it invariably true–was the fact that,

“Districts should strive to create and implement a shared vision that integrates technology into all aspects of learning and teaching. Without a specific plan for  technology, districts remain awash in an ocean of ideas, losing valuable time while staff members haphazardly organize themselves. All school leaders (administrators, teacher leaders, and instructional technology staff) need ownership in the vision to keep the technology plan moving in the right direction.”

Honestly, I couldn’t agree more.  Creating a digital plan is going to be so much more productive than just “haphazardly” organizing–as they mentioned.  If there is a plan in motion and an idea of how technology needs to be incorporated into the classroom, then this is going to allow for our students to understand that there is specific ways that technology should and shouldn’t be used–and that they should always have a plan when using digital resources.

In conclusion, I think that digital literacy is an important topic to highlight in education–it shouldn’t be taken lightly with the amount of dangers that come with it.  Ensuring that our youth knows how to use it properly and become great digital leaders is highly important.  Especially in a world that is progressively and constantly changing in a technological aspect.



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