The state of our educational system, including both traditional and digital literacy, has been publicly scrutinized by a number of different voices and authorities in recent years. In an increasingly competitive job market and global economy, jobs cannot be taken for granted.
Our students often face immense pressure as they make post-education decisions and begin their careers.
There are a number of widespread factors that have contributed to the educational challenge in recent years.
These include the COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturns, and technological disruptions that have changed entire industries in short timeframes.
Because of these challenges, it’s important that decision-makers and leaders in the educational sphere be ready to adeptly navigate the future of education and the forces at work.
One such force that deserves particular attention is “digital literacy.”
What Is Digital Literacy?
In our world today, more and more of the services we avail ourselves of, the transportation we utilize, the institutions we need, and the avenues we use to access the world around us are increasingly becoming available in exclusively digital forms.
“Digital literacy” refers to one’s comfort level with navigating digital systems of various kinds.
Using software, electronics, and digital tools well requires a skill set and a knowledge base. There is a learning curve to utilizing digital devices, and it is becoming more and more necessary to navigate today’s world.
The concept of digital literacy has developed as the differences in average comfortability levels with digital devices and systems by generation have become more pronounced and apparent.
As technological advances have quickened — each generation has had a formatively different experience from that of its predecessor. And that too with regard to how technology has framed its world.
Today’s students have never known a world without iPhones and social media. Most of them interacted with screened devices from their infancy.
And because of that, their familiarity with the digital lexicon and how digital devices operate exceeds the average competence level of someone of any previous generation that it’s difficult to even compare.
It is similar to comparing a native English speaker to someone who learned English later in life.
You can achieve a high level of proficiency when learning something as an older youth or adult, but that same skill set or familiarity developed in infancy and early childhood will almost always possess a different and deeper quality.
How Today’s Educational System Is Shifting
Digital literacy is making waves in our educational systems in a few different ways. One such dynamic is the difference in digital literacy between the average student and the average teacher.
Though that disparity is already shrinking as more and more of today’s teachers have either learned a high level of digital literacy or are younger and more likely to have grown up with devices, it could still influence the education system for the next decade.
The growing necessity of digital literacy in today’s world also creates ethical questions. For example, how to ensure that all children receive adequate access to the devices. And also the instruction they need to complete school with an appropriate level of digital proficiency.
Making ethical decisions for educational systems will play a critical role in how the educational system will adapt. In the coming years, the education system will have to adapt to digital changes. And this is where ethical decision-making will become important.
Using Digital Literacy To Promote Student Success And Career Readiness
Educational decision-makers and leaders must recognize the growing need to have digital literacy skills. Digital literacy development will need to play a significant role in how the education industry is shaped. And that too over the coming 5-10 years.
Incorporating digital literacy modules and methods in today’s curriculums will help ensure that today’s students will experience strong success not only in the classroom but as they leave the educational environment and begin fulfilling careers.
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