Navigating digital literacy

As young people navigate the digital environment, digital literacy skills help ensure their journey is purposeful, meaningful and safe as learners and citizens.

Compass Compass by Alan Levine CC0 1.0

Where are you going with digital literacy?

When you embark on a voyage, it's important to know your destination. With digital literacy, this is about focusing on the range of advantages young people gain by developing these competencies.

The digitally literate are able to steer a better course through the oceans of information they encounter online — to critically determine what is ‘authentic’ and what is ‘fake’. As consumers and creators of digital content, they are more ethical and considered in their use of others’ work and publishing their own.

Young people are engaging in a wide variety of digital cultures and navigate through them seamlessly. Being digitally literate helps them do this with increased confidence, competence and safety. As active citizens, young people are better informed, responsive and responsible when they have digital literacy skills.

As many workplaces and industries are increasingly digitised, there are impacts on employability and job opportunities for those who are digitally literate... and those who aren't. As young people prepare to chart their future careers they need the skills and competencies to navigate the changing world of work effectively.

Raise the sails, hoist the anchor, and set the course for digital literacy in your school

It is a journey to fully implement a digital literacy programme across a school, so plan and stage its implementation in a sensible and timely manner.

To be effective, a digital literacy programme needs to be:

  • contextual — developed by a school, for a school, to reflect the unique context and culture of the school
  • integrated — digital literacy skills should be assimilated with learning subject content (one-off or isolated digital literacy instruction does not work)
  • explicit and scaffolded — focus on the specific digital literacy skills needed by students at each year level and develop them in a visible and progressive manner.

The school library is well-placed to play an important role.

A library collection that includes quality digital content and provides equitable access is a foundation to supporting digital literacy. Curating digital content to support the curriculum and inquiry topics provides advantages to students learning with digital content. Even better, developing teachers and students to be content curators contributes to their digital literacy competence.

Direct instruction to students about digital literacy skills — in the library, or in the classroom — and delivering professional development opportunities for teachers are possible contributions school library staff can make.

Develop your digital literacy sea legs

Increasing your own understanding and confidence are the first steps in contributing to young people developing digital literacy.

To help you with this, we have a range of web content related to digital literacy, including:

We are also running an online professional learning course — A school-wide approach to developing digital literacy — starting on 28 August. Find out more and enrol now.

Start, or continue your journey of developing digitally literate young people in your school. They will benefit as students and as citizens as they navigate the ever-changing digital landscape.

By Samuel Beyer

Samuel is the Senior Specialist (Online Learning) for Services to Schools.

Post a Comment

(will not be published) * indicates required field

Be the first to comment.