So much to learn at our fingertips.

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Photo CC-By Gonzalo Baeza

As a Junior in high school, I was preparing myself to be confirmed into the Catholic Church and one of the most important pieces of advice I received that day was from a dear family friend, “There is always something to learn. Never stop learning.” Maybe that’s why I have fallen head-over-heels in love with this idea of learning and education. It honestly baffles my mind at all of the information there is in this world. Take a moment and let that sink in. Think about everything you know. Now think about everything that you don’t. Are you baffled?

Now think about what the internet has to offer. Living in the twenty first century we are so fortunate because we have unlimited amounts of information right at our fingertips, in our back pockets, or even while we are driving.  It’s crazy the things we can do now to stay tuned and most importantly continue to learn. We can learn about the old things, the present things, and the undiscovered future possibilities. Are you still amazed? Stay with me as I introduce to you an exciting topic that I have recently come across – digital literacy.

It is now being considered that maybe, just maybe schools should have digital devices in the classroom. Though first, it is important to ensure that we as teachers and future teachers are using it in a way that will help students prosper with good habits.  If successful, there will be several opportunities to share among one another in the classrooms.

One of the first steps to ensuring success with this topic is to create a digital literacy curriculum. Though many believe that children who have grown up in the twenty first century know all there is to know about digital devices, this idea is not entirely true. In fact, there are several students who do not participate in all aspects that these devices have to offer. Teaching students good behavioral habits while using digital devices can impact student’s social media lives as well. If we as educators can teach them how to use devices successfully this could limit the abuse of certain technology applications. Therefore, I believe creating a curriculum to teach students the beneficial aspects of the devices could be beneficial in the long run.

One of the main factors that I want to stress on is social media. Today, social media may be looked upon as an addiction to teens and young adults; however, it can also be a useful tool for education. It has the ability to connect students together in a way that many of them will be familiar with such as through hashtags, etc. There are three different social media applications I believe could be the most beneficial.

The first being twitter. Twitter has so much more to offer than the subtweeting and random thought of the day. It offers news, it offers ideas, and it offers connection. A person can view what is going on around the entire world by twitter, view ideas that others have, and connect with them. An easy way to do this is by the hashtag. In a classroom setting it is easy to use one hashtag and connect all of the students together when they tweet.One of the fun things about twitter is that a person can only express what they have to say in 140 characters. This creates the writer make every individual character have a purpose (easier said than done). Twitter can be beneficial for education purposes if used properly.

The second beneficial social media tool I have come to find is blogging. No, it is not just simply for nerds and English majors. Anyone can blog… for free! It is a place to freely express a person’s opinion in more than 140 characters. Students can easily view their classmates published work, add comments, and create class discussions.

Finally, a third would be Pinterest. Yes, there is more to Pinterest than that “Dream Closet” board or the “Dream Wedding” board. Pinterest offers a quick and easy way to share ideas and spark some creativity into the classroom!

Even our own President Obama finds it necessary to incorporate digital devices in the classroom, so his administration created an entire website dedicated to the topic. How will you create opportunities in the classroom for digital devices to flourish?

As educators we must continue to test techniques out and share what’s working and what’s not. As for students and parents, they must also educate themselves. One can never learn too much. Digital literacy is not going to vanish any time soon. With that being said, we may as well incorporate it and use it to our advantage. We may as well offer our students a chance to become baffled with what is right at their fingertips.

 

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