Digital natives vs. Digital literacy
Another important thing that I have confirmed (not learned as I already was aware of it) is that our “digital natives” are not necessarily digitally literate.
It is our responsibility, as their teachers, to give them the tools they need to understand where to find useful resources. Also, how to distinguish valid sources from others that are completely useless.
21st Century Skills are also digital skills
It is our responsibility to teach them how to organize their digital learning environment. 95% of my students know how to create a digital document, a presentation, a simple video. However, they do not how to store that information in an organized manner. Same as we tell them how to put their binders in order, they should be able to know how to put their digital portfolios in order too.
I have encouraged all my students to use the District’s cloud to store their school assignments. Personally, I prefer to host “my own cloud” for my private, personal documents. But I use the professional cloud for my professional documents so they are independent from the device I am accessing them from.
I told them that creating “folders” in the cloud is also a good way to manage your documents. A folder for the current school year, a folder for each subject, and folders that you want to share with your teacher or with other students to share teamwork artifacts.
Our digital identities and our digital profiles
And at the end of the year, I will have to teach them how to download all that content to their own devices. Because they, and not the cloud, are the owners of what they create.
And we have to teach them other good practices about the use of digital devices, Unfortunately many “what you should not do” concepts:
- not sharing passwords,
- not allowing everyone to access their digital profiles,
- how to avoid publishing publicly stuff they will not like to see when they are older.
This is also a responsibility we have as educators. At least, if we want to develop 21st Century skills in all our students.