5 Myths of Digital Literacy
Many of today’s students are tech-savvy. They know how to text or post a picture on social media in a matter of seconds. The relevance of technology in our day-to-day lives has grown exponentially in the past few decades and will only continue to increase in the future. Let’s go through some of the myths surrounding digital literacy.
Myth 1: Digital Native = Digitally Literate
Students today are digital natives, but knowing how to turn on devices, start applications, or download images does not make them digitally literate. Although growing up with technology may lower barriers to using it, it doesn’t equate to knowing why, when, who, and for whom technology should be used. It’s important for students to have digital literacy skills, so they understand what image is appropriate to use in a presentation to convey a message, know how to use an application in a meaningful way, and determine credible online sources from false sources.
Myth 2: If You Can Swipe, You Can Type
Through experimentation, students as young as Pre-K can learn how to manipulate applications by swiping and using their thumbs to type. But assuming students who can swipe can just as easily type does our students an injustice. Almost all technology input performed for the creation of artwork, literature, coding, and communication is still done through the keyboard. Students who do not have proper technique and keyboarding skills are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to producing projects and communicating in the 21st century.
Myth 3: Sticks, Stones, and Words
The expression, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” originated as a stock response to verbal bullying in school playgrounds. Today, due to the pervasive nature of communication devices, the impact of words is much broader and more persistent. Words through the Internet can be amplified thousands of times over, hurtful messages can be anonymously posted, and content on the Internet can have a life extending weeks, months, or indefinitely. It’s important to not only teach students the hurtful nature of bullying through words, but the extent to which words on the Internet can have a multiplying impact far beyond the initial impression.
Myth 4: If It’s on the Web, Then It Must Be True
A topic that’s at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now is the rapid spreading of fake news and misinformation – intentional or not. Many adults and students still believe the web to be a reliable source of news, but the ability to determine if information comes from credible sources vs. unreliable sources is becoming increasingly difficult. Teaching students how to recognize fake news is the best defense against the spread of misinformation and an integral element of digital literacy.
Myth 5: Coding Is Only Important for Computer Science Careers
There was a time when reading and writing were thought to be only for intellectuals. Not every student is going to write a book. But knowing how to read and write are essential skills to succeed in today’s world. Similarly, coding skills are no longer just for those looking to enter a career in computer science. Coding is based on fundamental computational thinking skills such as algorithms, problem solving, and understanding how to implement and test a process. These skills can be applied across a broad range of disciplines, not just coding. Many of today’s jobs and jobs of the future will either interact with a coder or require coding knowledge across all industries.
If you’d like to help combat the myths of digital literacy, learn how here.