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Digital Literacy at Eastwood International School


Defining Digital Literacy


When it comes down to defining what digital literacy actually is, research has established that digital literacy is the knowledge, skills, and behaviors used in digital devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop PCs. In order for someone to be digitally literate, s/he must exhibit an understanding of how to deal with and navigate through those digital devices. S/he must also be able to identify what those devices can provide and do for their users.


Digital Literacy and the Modern Learner


 I would be very concerned if today’s classrooms did not include technology-based methods to teaching and learning. It is empirical that we acknowledge that the modern learner has evolved and so must modern educational strategies.


Prensky (2001) (https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/31169414/Digital_Natives_-_Digital_Immigrants.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1528196664&Signature=NozdftCHg5yZWJMUDCAJkUaMWHc%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DDigital_natives_digital_immigrants_part.pdf)  developed two terms that depict the situation the world is in today, “Digital Immigrants” and “Digital Natives.” Natives are the students who were born with fast and easy access to technology. Immigrants have acquired and learned about technology throughout. You might believe that those people are we, as educators. The setback is that there is an apparent gap between most of those Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives. This situation can only be resolved if educators or educational personnel adapt their methodologies and alter their curricula in accommodation to students’ technological needs and interests.


The solution proposed is not far-fetched. According to her article on digital literacy, McKee-Waddell (2015) (https://search.proquest.com/docview/1770514229?pq-origsite=gscholar) accentuates that educators need to ‘drop the red pen’ and join the students in the new technological age – a new journey with technology as a facilitator – to redefine learning and ensure its continuity. Technology can indeed facilitate the learning process, and this is solely what it needs to be used for. Consequently, more than ever, digital literacy needs to be included within the classroom.


McKee-Waddell (2015) also (https://search.proquest.com/docview/1770514229?pq-origsite=gscholar) discusses how the various digital resources that are required to achieve digital literacy are easily accessible. The accessibility of these digital devices facilitates their integration into the classroom and promotes a digitally literate environment. Instead of deeming those devices as tools that hinder learning and create a laidback demeanor among students, teachers and parents could give students a chance to explore and take advantage of what those tools have to offer on an educational level. Therefore, it is only reasonable and logical to use those tools to their utmost potential. Moreover, in order to ensure proper implementation of technology, students need to know the purpose of the device being used. They also need to be coached on viewing digital devices as an educational instrument rather than a tool that was previously perceived as a ‘waste of time.’


Digital Literacy at Eastwood International School


Digital literacy at Eastwood International School is taken to its core. We believe that using technology as a facilitator for instruction positively affects student achievement. In this regard, we have a full iPad integrated program. Students have their own iPads, where their interactive books, iTunes U Courses, assignments, and grades, among other school-related documents could be accessed. Our main concern at Eastwood is using the iPad as a tool that redefines education instead of having it replace the hardcopies of the required material. Consequently, we have promoted our classrooms into technology-based ones, which allow for redesigning of educational tasks and for the creation of tasks that were previously inconceivable. Our vision is very much in alignment with the SAMR Model (http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Professional-learning/Teacher-inquiry/SAMR-model) developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, a framework that describes effective technology integration into the classroom.  An article authored by Romrell, Kidder, and Wood (2014) (https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1036281.pdf) depicts the effectiveness of the SAMR Model and introduces activities that could be conducted within this framework.


Digital Literacy and the Future


Fundamentally, and as Kelly (2009), author of The Curriculum Theory and Practice (http://aglow.edu.pk/documents/the-curriculum_theory-practice-5th-edition_20042.pdf), speculates, our curriculum should prepare and empower individuals for an active productive life, and it should be an introduction to what is deemed to be of great value. What is ahead of us is an advanced technological era full of challenging endeavors. It is our responsibility as educators to empower our students to combat future encounters. It is also our duty to join them in exploring and learning about digital devices.

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