What is Digital Literacy?
We all know Literacy means the ability to read and write. So Digital Literacy is accomplishing these tasks through utilizing technologies in the classroom.
Digital Literacy is properly stated to be the ability to evaluate, create and share content using digital technologies and the internet. (Cornell University)
This is exactly what I want for my students! Do you? I want my students to evaluate texts, media, questions, create responses and more using technology tools. Then share their content with peers and me! (My mind is saying, “Yes, Yes, Yes, I’m visualizing so many domains of a critical thinker and learner here!!!!”)
In simpler terms, Digital Literacy can be explained as implementing the exact same reading and writing skills daily minus the paper, pencils, textbooks and loooonnnggg lectures. In place, implement different types of technology tools that are built with purpose and are student-driven.
This shift really reminds me of us, “the teachers”, becoming the learning facilitators and really making your learning environment a true student-centered classroom. Students THRIVE in this type of environment and have a hunger for it!
You might be thinking, “Isn’t Digital Citizenship the same thing?” NO! This is an entirely different area and all about how a student or child uses technology in a safe, responsible and appropriate way to promote positive online actions. These are definitely lessons you need to teach your students first if you have not yet. There are a ton of free resources online to help you, just search.
What is #DIGITALLITERACY?
If you are anything like me then you may also have a passion for the TRADITIONAL READING WORKSHOP in your classroom too! I cannot deny it! I always start with a whole group of the floor meeting (Yes, with big kids especially!), with my easel and anchor charts, mentor texts (pre-written questions) and then releasing into the remainder of the workshop model. Teaching Reading is my absolute favorite thing as an educator and I’m a home grown Reading Workshop Model teacher for sure. It grows deep down in my soul and I can’t imagine another approach.
I just saw a quote from Jen Jones author of Hello Literacy, it was from her recent Happy Go Teach conference, “Picture Books are for Big Kids too!” I couldn’t agree more! Not only do the students thrive off of a close comfy read aloud, but they want it!
So, are you like me yet too?!?!
Well then, if you are also anything like me then you may also have a passion for TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM! Yes, I was a tad hesitant at first but aren’t we always before we take a huge new step? But, I couldn’t resist the high interest and engagement it brings our 21st Century Learners. Technology in the classroom opens the doors to so many opportunities for critical thinking skills, collaboration and endless possibilities! It’s a high impact adventure with huge payoffs for your students as we plant digital qualities in them to grow and prosper in this current world they are growing up in.
Think about it, how do you learn?
Currently, I learn on a regular basis from reading a variety of texts, interactively engaging in a variety of technologies for different purposes or tasks and when I listen to people who impact me. So why would I want the same for my students?
This is exactly what #DIGITALLITERACY is all about for me! Blending the Traditional Reading Workshop + Technology in my classroom. Students thrive in learning environments that include fabulous texts, quality instruction and application through technology. It’s all about taking my Literacy Instruction and going Digital with my students.
This is why I created the #DIGITALLITERACY complete resource line! This line is student and teacher tested! After going 1:1 this past school year in my 5th Grade ELA classroom, I experienced positives and negatives of blending my two passions until it fit just right. Based off of my students, I am passionate about creating resources that promote Digital Literacy and Critical Thinking Skills.
My NC roots have also ignited in me the highest level of comprehension which is Written Comprehension (Gasp…, yes it takes longer to complete and definitely longer to grade but I don’t want yes/no, true/false, multiple choice types of questions in my room! That does not show me what I need to guide my instructional plan.) Written Responses are also a passion of mine. I feel I get to see students evaluate, analyze, describe, capture, argue and connect to the author while reasoning what the text states.
Another reason why I’m pro Written Comprehension, because in my classroom students review and score their work along with peers as well. I LOVE using rubrics and this type of response set up because of how it leads to teacher student-conferences as well as student-student conferences. Students HAVE to be able to Speak and Listen with others in a proper manner to argue or persuade their gained knowledge. Can you say, “HUGE Teachable Moments Here!?!?!”
What’s a HUGE BONUS?!?!
As a teacher I couldn’t be happier than the fact that Digital Literacy easily creates a PORTFOLIO of work! A Digital Record of work in one place!!! No more files, no more folders, no more lost papers, or me going crazy wasting time organizing that “hot mess” so it looks nice! Digital Literacy easily creates Digital Portfolios built by students on their own! Extra Bonus, students can spend more time actually reflecting on their work samples and demonstrating their knowledge. This leads to more time reflecting to grow with yourself and in student-teacher conferences. To me this is more important as an educator because I can see student growth in one paperless place, a Digital Portfolio, compared to really just using summative assessments (aka: standardized test).
I needed to look at how my students were performing by standards and growing individually within a specific standard. Yes, I have my “official testing data” and a paper trail of classroom assessments on a variety of standards but I wanted more to see a visual growth myself to plan for my instruction.
This is why I WANTED to create #DIGITALLITERACY! Teaching the standards and allowing for application of DIGITAL ACTIVITIES and DIGITAL RESPONSES could allow for me to see if the student could apply the standard taught through text. These activities allowed for the perfect pieces to use in a Digital Portfolio where the students could see their efforts and TELL ME the knowledge they have demonstrated.
What’s Included in a #DIGITALLITERACY Resource?
This product line is broken up in Volumes according to standards. Each Volume comes with the lesson plans and activities listed above for 2 mentor texts!
In the image below, my students are working in Microsoft Office 365 PowerPoint Online. The file of digital activities was shared to their OneNote Class Notebook. From there, they opened it to edit and then re-saved it back into their Digital Notebook. I simply open up their Notebook and file (same as you would in a spiral), then I use my stylus to write my comments! Done! Everything automatically saves as you work. The student and their parents can see their work and my comments to them at anytime they have Wi-Fi!
Engagement? Yes, Please!
In my merge to finding a successful blend of traditional Reading Workshop Lessons with Application of Technology, the most rewarding success was my student’s desire! Think about the generation of students we are teaching, think about ourselves (aka- can’t survive without our cell phone or other technologies daily…). Students going through this process of using technology for new purposes that have nothing to do with touching an app was intriguing to them. I noticed the rise of engagement. Which we all know how great everything else is in our classrooms runs when our students are engaged! Using technology as an application of knowledge based on the standards being taught and the excitement of these activities that brought on new collaboration, well that was fulfillment as a teacher. Sometimes I envisioned them as a young adult starting a career and knowing how to function in Microsoft Office (which is used in many companies, corporations, even my husband uses it in the military) and saw how successful they will be because of the innovative experiences they have worked through and how they became a 21st Century Learner and Thinker! That was the icing on the cake!
I hope you find this resource line helpful for your instruction and your students!