Digital Literacy and Teaching: Six Things You Should Know

Featured Image CC-By: Bryan McDonald

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I can’t believe this is my last blog post! It is so bittersweet. I have learned many things throughout my time in Literacy in the Digital Age, specifically about digital literacy, teaching, and the collaboration of the two. Here are six major things I learned throughout the semester!

Teaching is not for you, it is for your students.

I can’t stress this point enough. In everything you do as a teacher, you have to make sure that your student’s best interests are going to be met. It also means that you can’t do things that work only for you, it has to work for your kids too. Come up with new and interesting things that work for them!

Kids are already very good at networking and anything related. Let them use Digital Literacy to learn.

Let’s face it, kids are geniuses when it comes to devices, social media, or really anything that deals with digital literacy. So use their knowledge of the digital world to help them learn through digital literacy. It not only will help them become even better at digital literacy which is a necessity in today’s world, but will also make learning relatable to what they know and enjoy. Refer back to point one if you need a refresher.

Digital Literacy can connect you and your classroom to others around the world.

By using various devices and creating personal learning networks, we can connect with other classrooms and students from all over the world, which means our students are connected to new ideas. This can impact their learning so much. Don’t let the opportunity for your students to gain a new experience pass- let digital literacy show your kids the world!

Don’t let the cons of technology shy you away from using it in your classroom.

We all know that technology can be used for things that don’t enhance student learning or growth, but we can’t let that keep us from using technology in the classroom. It is just one of the risks you have to take. Use your classroom management skills to prevent students from using it for the wrong things. You won’t succeed every time, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. In relation to not always being able to succeed…

New and innovative methods, assignments, and other materials you find and try might not always work well for your class. But don’t give up on trying something new just yet.

The way I like to think of this is like that awesome looking recipe you found on Pinterest. You think it’s going to turn out fantastic, but once you take the first bite you realize you messed up. Do you give up and never try another new recipe again? No, you keep on experimenting and you find some awesome ones along the way. The same goes for trying new things in your classroom!

Finally, you need to learn a lot about digital literacy.

You can’t do a lot of what I mentioned above if you’re not at least somewhat decent at networking and using various devices. It’s hard to do a lot of things in today’s world if you’re not proficient in this area. It’s okay if you still don’t know a lot right now (trust me, I have a lot of learning left to do, too) just start taking the steps to learn more. That kind of knowledge will allow you to be a better teacher for your students someday!


Wrapping it up…


My individual learning project is by far one of my all time favorite things that I have ever done in school. I got to spend time doing what I love to do and learned so many things about myself in the process. One thing that I learned is that I am somewhat creative, even though I have to spend quite a bit of time to come up with original things. I also learned that I can persevere and complete a big task; it’s taken me so long to get to the point that I am at, but I haven’t given up and don’t plan to anytime soon. I know now I can do anything if I set my mind to it work hard. Finally, I learned I still have a lot to learn and do before I’m able to be published, but having the opportunity to write through my ILP has allowed me to get closer.

Motivating myself to work on my project was a little strange. Sometimes I would find it very hard to start working on it, but then towards the end of the two hours I would have to make myself stop. Other times, I would want to work on it all week long when I needed to work on other things first.

The best thing about the project for me was just getting to do something I love that also allowed me to learn. Furthermore, it was so much easier to be invested in this homework because it was meant to be on something we enjoyed. Thus, being invested in it made it so much more beneficial.

Independent learning is definitely going to be a part of my classroom someday, whether it be in the form of the school-wide passion projects my tablemates and I presented on earlier in the semester, or through allowing students to choose an assignment from ds106 to complete when they have time. Furthermore, I believe it is so important that as teachers we take the time to find out what our students’ passions are so that we can try to incorporate them into different lessons we create. Of course, not everyone’s passion is going to be involved in every lesson, but if we can incorporate them as much as we can I think it can make such a difference in a child’s learning.

I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to do an ILP, and the things I learned are kind of represented in the featured image on the blog. I hope everyone else had as much fun on their ILP as I did, and that we can all continue to pursue what we like to do!