7 Reasons Why Digital Literacy is Important for Teachers (2023)

The meaning of “digital literacy” has shifted over the years. While there was a time when job candidates were encouraged to list “Proficient at Microsoft Word” on their resume, now such skills are considered standard. This shift toward a technologically savvy workforce has permeated the classroom as well.

It makes sense to assume that the more digitally literate our teachers are, the more they’ll employ these skills in the classroom, which will in turn foster a strong sense of digital citizenship in ourstudents. However, the importance and scope of digital literacy extends beyond this simple theory. Here, we’ve laid out seven reasons why digital literacy skills are important for today’s teachers.

1. Moving Beyond Google

Google is a powerful tool. Students with access to a computer and the Internet are able to find the answers to not only simple questions, but also incredibly complex problems.However, there is a significant difference between Googling an answer and understanding why. Looking at Bloom’s Taxonomy, we want students to gain the deepest level of understanding when faced with a problem.

7 Reasons Why Digital Literacy is Important for Teachers (2)

Create:Produce new or original work; Evaluate:Justify a stand or decision;Analyze: Draw connections among ideas; Apply: Use information in new situations; Understand: Explain ideas or concepts; Remember: Recall facts and basic concepts

Simply Googling an answer does not provide students with true, deep learning. And while most students understand how to use a search engine, it is up to teachers to provide students with the additional skills to bring the answers to the next level.

There are several ways teachers can embed digital literacy skills into Internet searches:

Teach students to evaluate and question their sources. Students need to know the difference between a trustworthy and untrustworthy source.

  • Is their source an academic website or a marketing company?
  • When was the source last updated?
  • How many other sites link to this source as a reference?
  • Is the information presented in objective or biased language?

Teach students how to draw a strong conclusion.Sure, students might find the right answer to a problem, but what use is that search if they’ve only memorized the logic to get them there? It’s up to teachers to teach that logic and to contextualize the answer.

(Video) Digital Literacy... Is it Important to Teachers?

Push students to new levels of creativity.Once students have a deeper understanding of the answers they’ve found, push for creative application of that knowledge. This could be anything from challenging students to pose related questions to having students use other digital platforms to create something new. Examples include:

  • Film a science experiment based on the answer they’ve found.
  • Record a history podcast that tells the story of how their answer came to be.
  • Write an investigative journalism piece on that same topic.

Again, digital literacy does not mean knowing how to use every piece of software students will encounter. Teachers should encourage students to seek out and learn the software they need to know in order to do what’s required.

2. Teaching Digital Citizenship

Being a good digital citizen means understanding and applying appropriate and responsible uses of internet and technology. Two issues top the list when it comes to digital citizenship: academic plagiarism and cyberbullying.

Academic Plagarism

In a culture where students are constantly sharing content, they may not know what plagiarism is, let alone when they’re doing it. Teachers should set clear anti-plagiarism policies at the beginning of each year.

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place through the use of electronic technology, and is a pervasive issue in schools and online communities. And while today’s students may be digital natives, they still need to be taught that social norms apply to online behavior. Resources should be in place to prevent cyberbullying and to help students who are being bullied.

3. Closing the Digital Divide

According to a2014 reportby the Federal Communications Commission, 31 percent of urban schools and 41 percent of rural schools do not have an Internet connection. Students in these schools struggle to take advantage of the tools, platforms, apps and resources available to their connected peers. But this digital divide isn’t just in schools — there is alsoa lack of access to devices and broadband at home. The divide is pervasive and accentuates already destructive achievement gaps. Digitally literate teachers advocate for change and seek innovative solutions.

(Video) Why Digital Literacy is Essential in Our Everyday Lives| Cultivating Digital Literacy

4. Expanding Conceptions of the Digital World

While students may be adept at using digital tools, their understanding of what these tools can do is often limited.

For example, students use Instagram to post photos but don’t think to use the platform for art or history projects. They record themselves with a voice memo app but do not realize those apps could also be used for journalism projects or a historical narrative piece. Digitally literate teachers know how to inspire students to use today’s technology as a powerful toolset to expand their learning opportunities.

5. Enabling Differentiation

Differentiation in the classroom is essential to meeting the needs of all learners, but it is time-consuming, especially for new teachers. Technology, when used creatively and correctly, can be used to mitigate those differences, such as in one-to-one classrooms. Teachers can lead the class through a lecture, while visual learners follow along with illustrations on their tablets and audio learners record the lecture for later review. Technology like this enables teachers to give their students choice in the kind of work they create for projects, such as a video, podcast or written story. Digital literacy is required in order to set the standards and boundaries for this kind of differentiation.

Digitally literate teachers also understand that it is less about the technology itself than it is about the tailored experience the technology can provide to each student. This is what drives differentiation and can make it powerful and highly targeted to students’ individual needs.

6. Making Thoughtful Cultural and Platform Decisions

Teachers often receive mandates from administrations to use a particular technology product or app even though it doesn’t make sense for their students. Good teachers know how their students engage and learn and can use that knowledge to push for technology that will unlock new teaching potential.This makes digitally literate teachers great advocates for the appropriate technologies.These skills become increasingly important in diverse classrooms in which students are bringing different cultural contexts into the mix. Both the content and the technologies chosen may vary in effectiveness given a student’s familiarity with the tools and the various norms within their culture. A sensitive teacher will make digital choices that reflect these varied cultural contexts.

7. Improving the Technology

Teachers can offer important pedagogical and practical insights for edtech companies developing learning technology for students. Today “teacherpreneurs” are sparking teacher-based technological innovation — and they’re drawn largely from the ranks of the digitally literate. Teacherpreneurs are teachers who see the need for digital solutions in their classrooms, and some take on roles where theycoach other teachers on using technologyas a powerful differentiation tool. As teachers master digital literacy with their lessons, they can collaborate with peers to share technology and work toward improving learning outcomes for their students.

Moving Forward

It is crucial that school and district administrators emphasize teacher digital literacy to avoid policies that simply mandate placing technology into the hands of students without thought for how that technology will be used.

(Video) What is Digital Literacy & It's Importance #DigitalLiteracy

Digitally literate teachers see technology for all of its creative potential, rather than something they are mandated to do in a step-by-step fashion. Digital literacy doesn’t require that teachers become experts, but it does require that they understand the digital tools that can unlock their deeper teaching potential.

Read the rest of the series about digital literacy for teachers.

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FAQs

Why digital literacy is important today? ›

Why is Digital Literacy Important? Digital literacy encompasses the skills required to use technology safely, effectively and responsibly. As technology continues to become more and more ingrained in daily life, the importance of learning digital literacy skills is becoming increasingly apparent.

Why is digital learning important for schools and teachers? ›

Why is digital learning important? Digital tools and platforms are becoming ever more integral to our personal and working lives. Digital learning increases access to education and knowledge while empowering students with a mindset and capabilities that sets them up for success in their present and future.

How important is digital literacy for you as a future teacher? ›

They help learners utilize critical thinking skills to evaluate the quality of digital sources and information, which in turn helps learners communicate better. By teaching digital literacy to learners, they are being prepared to enter adulthood and be successful in their careers.

How does digital literacy help you as a future educator? ›

School librarians and teachers have found meaningful ways to introduce digital literacy in education. When students are better equipped to engage with and utilize digital tools, teachers can make the learning process more interactive and effective. This sentiment has been extensively explored in the academic world.

How is digital literacy used in the classroom? ›

7 Ways to Teach Digital Literacy
  1. Emphasise the importance of critical thinking. ...
  2. Use social media for learning and collaborating. ...
  3. Provide guidance on how to avoid plagiarism. ...
  4. Teach students to manage their online identity. ...
  5. Help students manage digital distractions. ...
  6. Provide authentic contexts for practice.
22 Oct 2018

Why is digital learning important? ›

Digital education helps learners build the skills they need to navigate technology and to get the best out of it. Students of digital education become comfortable with finding, accessing, consuming and sharing content online.

How important is digital literacy in the 21st century learning? ›

Digital literacy is crucial to helping students' lifelong learners. It helps them essential life skills as well as academic skills. They help students use critical thinking skills to evaluate the quality of digital sources and information,which in turn help students communicate better.

What is the advantage of teacher with digital technology? ›

With countless online resources, technology can help improve teaching. Teachers can use different apps or trusted online resources to enhance the traditional ways of teaching and to keep students more engaged. Virtual lesson plans, grading software and online assessments can help teachers save a lot time.

What are the advantages of online teaching for teachers? ›

Teaching online…
  • Creates more opportunity for interaction. Online learning has the benefit of allowing instructors to focus on individual interactions with students. ...
  • Reinforces teaching essentials. ...
  • Brings in your personality. ...
  • Opens new possibilities for assessment. ...
  • Integrates campus resources.

Why is online teaching good for teachers? ›

greener and more cost-effective – One of the most important benefits of e-learning for teachers are the reduced costs when it comes to classroom rentals, travel fees, and printing costs. Paper consumption is also significantly reduced because all of the information is in an electronic format.

Why is it important for teachers to be technology savvy? ›

Thanks to technology, teachers can customize learning for students. It enables them to improve their instruction methods and personalize learning, thus increasing their productivity and efficiency as instructors.

Why is it important for teachers and students to be digital literate in Filipino subject? ›

The significance of Digital Literacy is that it will contribute in maximising the opportunities and potential of ICT and other digital technologies as tools for personal and professional development. The ultimate aim is equipping all Filipinos for a digital future and improving their quality of life.

What are some examples of digital literacy? ›

Examples of Digital Literacy skills
  • Using your phone to check emails.
  • Using an online search engine to find the answer to a question.
  • Using online search to complete a research project.
  • Creating an online profile on a social media platform.

What is the impact of integrating digital literacy in the classroom? ›

Benefits of Digital Literacy in the Classroom

Digital literacy instruction engages students' cognitive abilities, asking them to apply critical thinking skills to their actions, behavior, and social engagement on digital platforms.

What are the benefits of digital learning over traditional education methods? ›

The scope of how digital products and services can be used for educational purposes is limitless, and it has some incredible benefits for students.
  • Personalised Learning. ...
  • Breadth of Information. ...
  • More Engaging Lessons. ...
  • Develops Accountability. ...
  • Learning Flexibility. ...
  • Recorded Content. ...
  • 24-Hour Resources. ...
  • Connected Learning.

What is the impact of digital learning on school and education? ›

Flexibility in Learning and Development

Digital learning can also provide a better framework for educating children with things like Autism and ADHD. It creates a much more flexible environment where things can change if needed, but the student is still able to get their complete education.

What is digital teaching learning? ›

Digital learning" is a learning method based on the use of new digital tools to enable learners to learn in a different way, whether it be face-to-face, distance learning (asynchronous or synchronous) or blended learning.

What are the 8 digital literacy skills? ›

Digital Literacy combines creativity, functional skills, e-safety, effective communication, the ability to find and select information, collaboration, cultural and social understanding, critical thinking and evaluation.

How can digital literacy be improved? ›

Here are three steps you can take to improve your digital literacy:
  1. You shouldn't be afraid of trying new things using technology. When you experiment with digital tools you build confidence in your abilities.
  2. Take an online course. ...
  3. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Why are digital skills important for students? ›

They enable people to create and share digital content, communicate and collaborate, and solve problems for effective and creative self-fulfillment in life, learning, work, and social activities. '

What are the 6 benefits of technology in the classroom? ›

Top 6 benefits of using technology in the classroom
  • Increase engagement. ...
  • Improve knowledge retention. ...
  • Encourage individual learning. ...
  • Encourage collaboration. ...
  • Students can learn useful life skills through technology. ...
  • Benefits for teachers.
17 Nov 2020

What are the 10 advantages of online learning? ›

Ten Advantages of Online Courses
  • Online courses are convenient. ...
  • Online courses offer flexibility. ...
  • Online courses bring education right to your home. ...
  • Online courses offer more individual attention. ...
  • Online courses help you meet interesting people. ...
  • Online courses give you real world skills.

How can eLearning help in improving teaching learning process effectively? ›

It improves learning through high retention of the learning material in memory, flexible curriculum and enhanced technological support with 24/7 accessibility. eLearning can improve your learning and grades. This is also the best method for kids. It saves both time and money.

How are teachers affected by online learning? ›

In a distance learning environment, instructors lack direct access to verbal and nonverbal feedback from their students. This feedback enables the teacher in a conventional learning environment to use verbal and nonverbal signals to adjust the instructional process in real-time, in order to meet their student's needs.

How can eLearning be used in classroom teaching? ›

8 Ways to Use Online Learning in the Classroom
  1. Whole Group Instruction. Online lessons can provide ready-made content for teachers. ...
  2. Small Group Instruction. ...
  3. Flipped Classrooms. ...
  4. Homework Assignments. ...
  5. Test Prep and Review. ...
  6. Advanced Learning. ...
  7. Makeup Work. ...
  8. Holidays and Snow Days.
15 Feb 2016

How did teachers adapt to online learning? ›

Several educators are taking advantage of the resources they have by blending traditional learning approaches with newer, more collaborative audio and visual tools. A combination of spurts of discussions, group work, video and audio clips and hands-on exercises are ingredients for a lively online classroom.

Why is it important for teachers and students to be digital literate in Filipino subject? ›

The significance of Digital Literacy is that it will contribute in maximising the opportunities and potential of ICT and other digital technologies as tools for personal and professional development. The ultimate aim is equipping all Filipinos for a digital future and improving their quality of life.

How important is digital literacy skills in the 21st-century both on teachers and students? ›

Digital literacy also creates new ways to teach and learn within the classroom. Students are discovering new ways to interact with their interests online and through other digital media. They are no longer confined to just physical text when it comes to reading or learning more about their possible interests.

Why is digital literacy important in the workplace? ›

A good digital literacy program will empower workers to tackle project management, collaboration and communication, allowing them to overcome the current challenges they face. And, thankfully, these skills are valuable to office workers too.

How is digital literacy used in the classroom? ›

7 Ways to Teach Digital Literacy
  1. Emphasise the importance of critical thinking. ...
  2. Use social media for learning and collaborating. ...
  3. Provide guidance on how to avoid plagiarism. ...
  4. Teach students to manage their online identity. ...
  5. Help students manage digital distractions. ...
  6. Provide authentic contexts for practice.
22 Oct 2018

How can technology help teachers? ›

Technology Accommodates a Variety of Learning Methods.

Whether students learn best through lectures, reading, examples, or video, technology allows teachers to accommodate every learning style. Students can learn via online videos, audiobooks, interactive online games, and more, all at their own pace.

How important is technology in teaching? ›

Thanks to technology, teachers can customize learning for students. It enables them to improve their instruction methods and personalize learning, thus increasing their productivity and efficiency as instructors. Through these helpful tools, teachers can provide exciting activities.

How can technology improve teaching and learning? ›

The Benefits of Technology in Education
  1. Increased Collaboration and Communication. Educational technology can foster collaboration. ...
  2. Personalized Learning Opportunities. Technology allows 24/7 access to educational resources. ...
  3. Curiosity Driven by Engaging Content. ...
  4. Improved Teacher Productivity and Efficiency.
25 Jun 2020

What is digital learning in education? ›

Digital Learning is "learning facilitated by technology that gives students some element of control over time, place, path and/or pace."[

What are some examples of digital literacy? ›

Examples of Digital Literacy skills
  • Using your phone to check emails.
  • Using an online search engine to find the answer to a question.
  • Using online search to complete a research project.
  • Creating an online profile on a social media platform.

How does being digitally competent make an educator more professional? ›

The study found that the training on digital competence enhanced the knowledge and skills of the teachers, particularly in the areas of improving professional engagement, using digital resources, organizing teaching activities, improving assessments, and empowering learners.

What is the impact of digital literacy? ›

Benefits of Digital Literacy in the Classroom

Digital literacy instruction engages students' cognitive abilities, asking them to apply critical thinking skills to their actions, behavior, and social engagement on digital platforms.

Why is digital literacy important PDF? ›

Digital literacy requires the ability to make critical information and evaluation, the accuracy of the application used, and a deep understanding of the information content contained in the digital content.

How can we improve digital literacy? ›

Here are three steps you can take to improve your digital literacy:
  1. You shouldn't be afraid of trying new things using technology. When you experiment with digital tools you build confidence in your abilities.
  2. Take an online course. ...
  3. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of digital literacy? ›

The Biggest Pros & Cons of Digital Learning
  • Accessing the classes from a wide range of places. ...
  • Recorded lectures aid understanding. ...
  • Can be easily personalized. ...
  • Environmentally friendly. ...
  • Creativity. ...
  • Technology problems. ...
  • Lack of social contact. ...
  • Time management skills and self-motivation are needed.
5 Aug 2021

What is the most critical thing you can do in your classroom to encourage digital literacy? ›

Communication/Netiquette

Effective and appropriate communication is vital for digital literacy. In order to fully learn digitally, students must possess the skills to communicate what they have learned, their thoughts and questions, and collaborate with their peers.

Videos

1. Digital literacy program for Teachers & Students
(Y4D Foundation)
2. Nichole Pinkard on Digital Literacy: Big Thinkers
(Edutopia)
3. Technology, The best or worst thing for education | Scott Widman | TEDxYouth@BSPR
(TEDx Talks)
4. September 2022 Symposium | Intro + Jim McGough and Susan Perry
(HITLAB NYC)
5. DIGITAL LITERACY & SKILLS: TRANSFORMING NIGERIA FROM RESOURCE TO KNOWLEDGE-BASED ECONOMY
(KAFTAN TV)
6. Digital Literacy in Rwanda: Skills for the 21st Century
(Rwanda TVET Board)
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