Digital Literacy and its Urgency in Education Sector

Due to the widespread use of technology and digital media nowadays, all information, including that pertaining to education, must be easily accessible. Therefore, digital literacy in education needs to be developed and implemented by all elements. Why should digital literacy be encouraged? You can comprehend the significance of digital literacy in education and its underlying tenets through this article.

What is Digital Literacy?
Job models are broadening and evolving as the times’ change. It is anticipated that 90% of all jobs will require employees to work with digital technology within the next 20 years. Even today, numerous companies are attempting to hire people with digital skills.
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To live, learn, and work in a digital society, students must gain the digital skills employers are looking for today and the more profound confidence and capabilities that will allow them to advance in their careers and adapt to upcoming technology. It is well known that students expect their college or university to give those skills in addition to their degree or vocational training.
Digital literacy is the skills required to live, study, and work in a society where communication and access to information are rapidly enhanced by digital technologies such as internet platforms, social media, and mobile devices.
Communication is a crucial aspect of digital literacy. The ability to express your thoughts clearly, ask appropriate questions, maintain respect, and create trust is just as vital when interacting in a virtual environment as when communicating in person.
You must also have practical skills in using technology to access, manage, alter, and create information ethically and sustainably. Because the digital world is rapidly evolving, this is a continuous learning process. Deepening your knowledge of digital literacy will benefit you for a long time.
Digital literacy is essential nowadays, especially if you are a student. Similarly, when you enter the working sphere, you will be asked to interact with people in digital environments, use information appropriately, and collaborate to create new ideas and products.
As a digital media user, you must maintain your digital identity and well-being as the digital landscape continues to change rapidly.

6 Elements of Digital Capabilities
Applying digital literacy in education will be easier if students and educators understand the elements that can be mastered in the digital world. JISC formulates at least six elements of digital capabilities that are often applied in the professional world.
The application of digital capability elements is thought to be helpful in a variety of aspects, including:

  • Support the discussion process and build consensus on the capabilities needed by the digital organization
  • Plan or review education development
  • Plan or review the curriculum, with adjustments to the subject-area demands
  • Compile and mark development opportunities
  • Design digital badges and award them to students who complete specified development tasks or exhibit specific practices
  • To detect gaps and recognize where digital expertise contributes value by mapping digital expertise across student roles within teams, departments, or the organization as a whole.
  • ICT Profiency
    This element describes the ability to use technology-based tools such as apps and other software to do tasks more effectively. Learners are required to be able to choose different types of IT devices and software for various types of work based on their benefits and advantages.
  • Information, data, and media literacies
    This element expects the ability to interpret digital information for academic and professional objectives. A critical approach to assessing the origin, relevance, worth, and reliability of information. Students are also expected to comprehend copyright regulations and open alternatives.
  • Digital creation, problem solving, and innovation
    Digital literacy is used as a tool to help students improve their ability to create digital works. The works developed are, at the very least, capable of responding to public problems and inquiries. In order to produce an innovation encapsulated in a digital concept.
  • Digital communication, collaboration, and participation
    The ability to do digital communication, such as text-based forums, audio, digital design, and online video, gets easier with digital literacy. Good communication via digital media can foster collaboration and teamwork toward a common objective.
  • Digital learning and development
    Digital media has become a very impressive tool to assist the educational process. Through good digital literacy, students’ capacity to identify and use learning resources through digital media becomes easier.
    Learners can use individual or in-group learning applications, schedule their learning, record their learning process, and so on.
  • Digital identity and wellbeing
    The last element of a digital skill is the ability to develop and build a positive project to build a digital reputation. Many digital media users refer to it as “personal branding” nowadays. It is envisaged that through this element, the ability to sustain health, safety, relationships, and life balance through digital knowledge.

Digital Literacy Pillars
While there are numerous strategies that educators can use to help their students achieve digital literacy, Prof. Hiller Spires’ (NC State College Professor) definition of what it comprises is worth highlighting. In this context, he outlined three pillars of digital literacy: (a) discovering and consuming digital content, (b) generating digital content, and (c) effectively sharing and communicating it.

Discovering and Consuming Digital Content

  • foundation of digital literacy is the ability to swiftly access essential information on the internet and use it according to one’s needs. At the same time, all learners should be taught the fundamentals of maintaining cyber hygiene for their safety. Users should be able to scan essential information and access links, images, and other items.
  • Creation
    This pillar includes the ability to express oneself clearly and respectfully in online spaces. From awareness of basic email etiquette to understanding how text is read across multiple devices and platforms by recipients, it prepares them to communicate effectively on forums and social media platforms for personal and professional purposes through various forms of media.
  • Share and Communicate
    The consequences of disclosing too much information online might be severe at times. Some hackers and scammers are bold enough to swindle people online in order to get quick money. Criminals utilize the internet to manipulate and deceive others for malicious purposes. Therefore, young learners should be taught about the dangers of social media and the kind of information they should avoid posting online.
    Simultaneously, they should be made aware of how their online behavior may affect others (for example, cyberbullying). This intervention ensures that a positive atmosphere is maintained in the digital area and that the students’ psychological well-being is unaffected.

How to Improve Digital Literacy
With limited time and ever-shrinking budgets, developing digital literacy is challenging. There are multiple simple and inexpensive ways to improve digital literacy at various stages of education. Some of them are as follows, which you may apply to your educational environment.

The Benefits of Digital Literacy in Education
That is how important digital literacy is in education. It is true that digital literacy that is being promoted does have a number of benefits which would be very good if implemented.

  • Supporting Educational Progress
    The increasing use of technology in education is one of the first reasons digital literacy skills are vital. In the last 15 years, the use of technology as a learning tool has increased, with technology platforms such as computers, tablets, and the internet becoming more prevalent in schools and universities.
    Digitally literate students will feel more at ease and competent in these learning platforms, while those without digital literacy abilities may find their progress hampered by incapacity or lack of confidence in navigating the associated technologies.
    Furthermore, with the majority of standardized state assessments being administered online, it is becoming increasingly important that students have the confidence to focus on the material in question rather than being slowed down or distracted by using technology for exams.
  • Enhancing Online Security
    Online risks are complicated and ever-changing, with malevolent individuals or groups continuously discovering and inventing new ways to exploit others. While digital literacy cannot protect students from online security threats, it can provide them with the necessary knowledge, tools, processes, and resources to help protect their security and privacy to the greatest extent possible.
  • Understanding Digital Responsibility
    Along with online safety, digital literacy teaches digital responsibility, or the ability to consume and communicate information online in an ethical manner. Students’ increasing reliance on technology exposes them to issues such as copyright and plagiarism, cyberbullying, checking information sources, and engaging properly with others. Students with strong digital literacy skills are better able to grasp and navigate these challenges, making them more responsible digital citizens.
  • Enhancing Social Opportunities
    Whether we like it or not, social interactions are increasingly taking place online. In certain ways, digital literacy contributes to the ability to socialize with people outside of your immediate vicinity. Whereas friendships and even family relationships used to be dependent on slow communication, the use of technology removes location barriers to socialization.
    However, this world of open social opportunities exposes people, particularly young people, to potentially dangerous social scenarios. Students who master digital literacy skills can connect with people online while preserving their information and safety.
  • Enhancing Digital Equality
    Digital equality also helps bridge the digital divide. Even with technological advancement in households and educational institutions, a disproportionate number of minority workers have low digital literacy skills.
    By making digital literacy a priority in education, institutions can help increase digital literacy among underrepresented groups, helping to upgrade the skills of these students so they can enhance future career opportunities.
  • Supporting Lifetime Skills
    While technology constantly evolves, a digital literacy foundation provides students with fundamental knowledge and skills that can be applied to various types of technology now and in the future. Learning fundamental ideas such as input/output, application operations, differentiating hardware and how to use it, and so on, for instance, can provide transferable foundational knowledge that can be used for new and developing technologies.

Students will have to tackle the challenges and threats that come with digital technology in the future. Whether educators expose and prepare students for it or not. It is certainly preferable to instill the digital literacy they need to be safe and flourish

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