Importance of Digital Literacy for Teachers In 2020
The next generation teaching.
In History, you must have read about Stone Ages. Stone tools and variance in their sizes, shapes and utility differentiated each age and the nature of the people who lived through the period. In that case, the ideal nomenclature for the 21st century would be Digital Age or Information Technology Age.
The fast paced inventions in Information Technology and computerization of nearly all walks of life are making life easy and difficult at the same time.
Learning and understanding the working of computer and internet to a functional level is called Digital Literacy. Finding and consuming digital content, creating it and communicating or sharing it are the 3 most important criteria of digital literacy.
Digitalisation has reduced work load in practically every field including education. To bring about radical and stimulating changes in educating a new generation, it is imperative. Its role in empowering youth in the upcoming days cannot be downplayed.
Digital literacy is evaluated based on one’s grammar, composition, typing skills, and the ability to produce text, images, audio, and designs using digital media.
Let’s check out why Digital Literacy is important for teachers of the millennium. Read further:
1. Optimal Usage of Search Engines Like ‘Google’
Only a digitally literate teacher will be able to guide pupils on how to collect and what to collect from various knowledge platforms. Open online platforms are suffused with both accurate and inaccurate information. If the teacher is digitally literate, he/she could check for accuracy and authenticity of the information.
2. Teaching Learners to be Ideal Digital Citizens
Digital or Virtual World, like the normal or real is full of pitfalls of menacing nature. The young learners should be informed to discern between right and wrongs. Cyberbullying, spamming, Academic Plagiarism etc., are some of the dangers students should be aware of. Only a digitally literate teacher will be able to impart awareness of the pros and cons as well as do’s and don’ts to create responsible digital citizens.
3. Minimizing the Digital Divide
Digital Divide is the gap between digitally literate and digitally illiterate people. Technology is still highly inaccessible to a large share of our developing population. A digitally equipped teacher could serve as a driving force to dissolve this problem to a good extent.
4. Motivating Proper Usage of Digital Media
A digitally literate teacher could exhort his/her students to use digital applications (better known as ‘apps’) more responsibly and prudently.
5. Improving Technology
Digitally literate teachers could give suggestions to improve technology to suit the needs of various subjects. This improves the quality and quantity of digital sources which in turn will aid education.
Major Impediments that India faces today in achieving this digital literacy are:
Accomplishment of Digital Literacy for the burgeoning population of India is a distant dream. Yet, in 2015 the Government of India launched the Digital India Campaign to diminish this margin and educate the people.
1. Lack of Computer Teachers to impart digital education in rural areas .
2. Improper digital safety measures.
3. Economic disparity that widens digital divide .
4. Infrastructural challenges like low bandwidth, non-availability of computers etc.
Yet, in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, many states have implemented online education as a fallback for classroom education. This has become possible only because of digitally literate teachers. Students are reaping the benefits of education amidst the deadly pandemic. People should make use of online courses like TEFL to explore more about the potentials of digital learning.
Envisaging future, India should see this as a clarion call for investing more in digital education.