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While reading and mathematics have remained steadily at the core of education, digital literacy curriculum is a relative newcomer that has quickly become a necessity in today’s educational systems. A critical life skill, digital literacy is important not only for career readiness, but also for educational and social success.

The importance of digital literacy skills for students is becoming more and more apparent as technology continues to envelop the daily lives of both children and adults. From social interactions to entertainment, education to professional life, the ability to use technology effectively is now considered essential for modern advancement and success.

What is Digital Literacy?

In our article “What is Digital Literacy: Definition and Uses in Daily Life,” we discuss that digital literacy is having the skills to effectively use technology, and the knowledge and skills to do so safely and responsibly.

The modern definition has evolved significantly with the advancement and evolution of existing technologies. Now, instead of outlining which technologies, exactly, are included in “digital literacy,” the phrase more commonly refers to literacy that broadly encompasses technology. This helps to prevent the need to redefine the “digital” aspect of digital literacy.

Why is Digital Literacy Important for Students?

As technology continues to become more and more ingrained in daily life, the importance of digital literacy is becoming increasingly apparent. Below are five reasons students should learn digital literacy skills.

1. Supports Educational Progress

One of the first reasons digital literacy skills are important is because of the increased use of technology in education. The use of technology as a learning tool has grown in the past 15 years, with technology platforms such as computers, tablets and the internet becoming increasingly prominent in K-12 schools and universities.

Students with digital literacy skills will be more comfortable and confident in these learning platforms, while those without digital literacy skills may have their progress stymied by an inability to or lack of confidence in navigating the related technology. In addition, with the majority of standardized state assessments being administered online, it’s increasingly important that students have the confidence to focus on the material in question instead of being slowed or distracted by using technology for the test. Learn more about this matter in our blog, “Online Assessments: Helping Students Think about Answers, Not their Fingers.

2. Increases Online Safety

Online risks are complex and ever-changing, with nefarious individuals or groups continually discovering and creating new ways to take advantage of others. While digital literacy cannot prevent students from facing safety challenges online, it can empower them with important knowledge, tools, processes and resources to help protect their safety and privacy as much as possible.

3. Helps Students Understand Digital Responsibility

Along with online safety, digital literacy also teaches digital responsibility, which is the ability to consume and communicate information ethically online. Increased technology dependence exposes students to challenges related to copyright and plagiarism, cyberbullying, vetting informational resources, and interacting responsibly with others. Digital literacy skills help students master their ability to understand and effectively navigate these challenges, making them more responsible digital citizens.

4. Improves Social Opportunities

Whether we like it or not, more and more social interaction take place online. On one hand, digital literacy plays a role in being able to socialize with people outside of your immediate territory. Where friendships and even familial relationships used to depend on slow-communication, the use of technology eliminates the barriers of location when it comes to socialization. However, this opened world of social opportunities also exposes people–especially young people–to dangerous social scenarios. Mastering digital literacy skills allows students to connect with others online while protecting their information and safety.

5. Improves Digital Equity

Digital equity also helps to bridge the digital divide. Even with the proliferation of technology in households and educational institutions, there remains a disproportionate number of minority workers with limited digital literacy skills. By making digital literacy a priority in K-12 education, institutions can help to improve digital literacy among underrepresented groups, helping to upskill these students so they may have increased career opportunities in the future.

6. Supports Lifelong Skills

While technology is ever-changing, digital literacy foundations empower students with base knowledge and skills that can be applied to various types of technology now as well as in the future. For instance, learning basic concepts such as input/output, application operation, discerning hardware devices and how to use them, etc., can provide basic transferable knowledge that can be applied to new and emerging technologies.

Learn More

To explore how EasyTech introduces digital literacy skills to students, learn more about EasyTech or sample the program today.

This article was originally published in April 2022 and has since been expanded and republished to include more complete, up-to-date information. Staff Writers Team

Staff Writers

Founded in 1999, provides educators with solutions to prepare their students with critical digital skills. Our web-based curriculum for grades K-12 engages students as they learn keyboarding, online safety, applied productivity tools, computational thinking, coding and more.

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