Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Week #1: Digital Literacy

In our first week of class we discussed the topic of Digital Literacy and its role in English Language Teaching. Now, you must be wondering what Digital Literacy refers to. Digital Literacy can be defined as the basic computer concepts and skills needed to use computer technology in everyday life. But being a digital literate person also includes critical cognitive skills. Thus this particular type of literacy is using digital technology, communication tools, and/or networks to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information in order to function in a knowledge society (ICT Report, 2002). Digital literacy encompasses computer hardware, software (particularly those used most frequently by businesses), the Internet, cell phones, Personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other digital devices (Wikipedia, 2009).
In the field of Education, more specifically in Language Teaching, the use of technology is becoming more and more important since the spread of information takes place every second ubiquitously. Therefore, teachers should learn and incorporate the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in their classrooms in order to produce, use, store, communicate, and/or disseminate information.
What are the main digital competencies teachers must have to be considered digital literate people and use technology efficiently? Teachers as well as students should combine their cognitive skills such as reading comprehension, writing, and critical thinking with the use of technology. Once they know how to use a computer (electronic devices in general), web tools, social networks, and communities of practice, and are capable of searching for information, sharing knowledge and working collaboratively, they can be considered digital literate people with the competencies needed to learn, teach, and share knowledge.
Web tools are some of the instruments teachers can use to fulfill their task through the use of technology. They should handle as many Web tools as possible to facilitate the learning process and make students aware of the current trends in education. In this 21st century, teachers might utilize blogs, wikis, podcasts, videos, and others to develop and build knowledge, information and communication. Social networks (social structures made of individuals or organizations called "nodes," which are connected, Wikipedia, 2009) allow teachers and students to be “tied” and exchange thoughts, ideas, information, and at the same time to work collaboratively. Finally, Communities of Practice (CoP) are also networks that support professional practitioners in their efforts to develop shared understandings and engage in work-relevant knowledge building (Wikipedia, 2009).
To summarize, it is very important that teachers learn and use different ICTs in their environments to promote effective learning and improve students’ potential regarding learning a second language.

1 comment:

  1. check out the resource portal www.ictliteracy.info