Following on from this post, where we ask what digital literacy actually is, we next look at how we actually integrate digital literacy in the classroom.
How can we promote digital literacy in the classroom?
As discussed, the skills of digital literacy are tough to pin down precisely, but we are able to think roughly about what skills, concepts and experience we want our pupils to experience. Ask yourself some key questions:
- Does the school model effective use of social media?
- Is there an esafety policy which incorporates pupil voice and has some pupil led elements?
- Is it integrated into the curriculum, through computing led topics?
- Do teachers model the skills they expect children to be able to use, for example searching, creating, using the internet safely?
- Are there any whole school projects or activities which link effectively to Digital Literacy?
Let’s take three concepts and look at what we can practically do in schools.
Keeping Safe Online
Probably the easiest just because there are so many resources out there. As a school you need to ensure your staff are up to date with issues, build in regular training and share resources frequently. This site, from e-safety adviser is choc full of recent updates and a newsletter which can be shared with staff and parents alike. You can also use various dates in the year to highlight issues, such as Internet Safety Day.
In the classroom, e-safety needs to be covered regularly, I would advise a refresh with each new topic, especially if you asking the children to research and use the internet. Ensure children are happy with the language used to describe internet safety, who they can talk to and what happens (as a school) if something that they are uncomfortable with takes place. Key discussion questions, age appropiate, are helpful and can be a shared staff discussion. Displays, posters and regular discussion are key.
More information, and a year by year breakdown can be found here: Curriculum information here.
The concept of ‘communicating responsibly, competently, confidently and creatively’ is probably the hardest one to quantify. As a school this needs to be modelled, to pupils and parents. Teachers need to ensure they too are able to navigate this and mdoel these skills. Whilst you may not be ready for class blogging projects or whole school email just yet there are lots of ideas that can give pupils these experiences.
- Simple commenting and sharing writing can be done a number of sites which don’t require whole school log in Lend Me Your Literacy, 100 Word Challenge. Other sites encourage the sharing of ideas and resources, such as the NRich Maths Site
- It doesn’t always have to be about writing and commenting. Skype is the perfect example of communicating digitally, the education site is a great way of getting started.
- Communciating within the school is also a good way of modelling skills. Beyond whole school projects such as Google Drive, or a VLE, you can also ask children to collaborate on shared projects in the classroom: Haiku Decks, Padlets, Scratch – all allow a class to register and then to share the outcomes.
Accessing information online can be a minefield. Being digitally literate means that our pupils need to research and then notes need to be edited and refined. Again, modelling this is key. From early on the teacher needs to be using search engines, looking at specific sites and modelling how to navigate the huge quantity of information which can be found.
This is very much linked to how networks and the internet work, which is a curriculum aim, and there are a number of resources out there. The BBC are currently putting lots of effort into this, and have some great resources. Building this into a fun topic is one of my next jobs…
Remember as well that it should not always be about ‘googling’ information. Finding different opinions, sharing what they find and examining different opinions are all key to this aspect of digital literacy. Using apps for informatiom finding, and digital books is also important – representing information in different ways!
The Literacy Shed, and other Sheds! Perfect for digital media, inspiration and information.