Why Digital Media Literacy is an Asset in the Classroom

This week will mark the end of week five in the faculty of education and I cannot believe how quickly time is flying by. It feels like just yesterday we all nervously entered the school and began this wonderful journey. Looking back at that first week in September, I realize how much we have already learned about the profession of teaching and how much we have yet to learn.

This year I am very fortunate that I have the opportunity to be an intern for the Digital Human Library. Rebecca and I are working on a variety of fun and exciting projects, including the design of a networking curriculum…. and this is what I am going to discuss in today’s blog.

During the first day of MDL 4000, we were all asked to think about what digital media literacy is and then put our answers in an answer garden. Below is what our class came up with and I must say, after delving into the research regarding media and digital literacy, we actually knew more than we thought we did!

Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 9.26.11 PM

So in order to design a networking curriculum for the Digital Human Library, Rebecca and I were first tasked with finding out: What exactly is networking and why is it important? What skills will our students be learning by participating in various networks and how does this relate to the curriculum?

Below is a small list of some of the advantages of networking in the classroom:

  1. Collaborative Learning: students work with students in their classroom and across the world to develop and expand their knowledge and critical thinking skills (McCarthy, 2018). They ask tough inquiry-based questions that are meaningful and relevant.
  2. Engaging: students are involved in rich dialogue with students, teachers, parents, and administrators and are excited to learn about digital and media technologies (Vanessa, 2013). Students have opportunities to interact with students and teachers worldwide and to develop meaningful connections with these individuals. Students become global citizens by getting involved in their local communities (Vanessa, 2013).
  3. Creativity: not only do students have access to digital software that helps them to create media and digital literacies, but teachers have the opportunity to differentiate instructional strategies by allowing students to be creative and complete an assignment in a way that they enjoy. Teachers can provide instant feedback to students and monitor student learning in a more efficient manner (Blazer, 2012).

During week 2, each of us were asked to design a wordle with a collection of words that represented what digital and media literacy was to us. Here is a snapshot of mine in the formation of the earth; I selected this shape as a way to represent the interconnectedness between individuals through the use of digital media.

Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 10.34.50 PM

So as you can see, Digital Media Literacy is a huge topic and it may not be an area that new teacher candidates feel entirely comfortable teaching because this is a fairly new style of teaching that most of us were not exposed to when we were in school. Hopefully you recognize the importance of incorporating digital and media literacy within your own classroom and the impact this can have on the development and success of your students! There are endless possibilities of incorporating this into your classrooms and you should not feel limited because you do not have the technology available. Take your children on an adventure walk and take pictures of all of the 90 degree angles you see or all of the different types of plants you can find (watch for poison ivy!), Skype a classroom from up north to learn about what their life/community is like (A Kids’ Guide to Canada) or take part in a digital storytelling project. Your students will be so excited that they have the opportunity to have fun, be creative, LEARN, and collaborate with other students and they will remember these activities years after they have completed it.

“Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten”

~B.F. Skinner~

If you are interested in connecting your classroom to communities across Canada, check out A Kid’s Guide to Canada, an initiative founded by Leigh Cassell and Cathy Beach that allows students to make an impact on Canada by creating “the first multilingual, multicultural and interactive guide to Canada made by kids and for kids” (A Kids’ Guide to Canada, 2017).

Resources:

A Kids’ Guide to Canada. (2017). Retrieved from https://akgtcanada.com.

Blazer, C. (2012). Miami-Dade County Public Schools: Social networking in schools: benefits and risks; review of the research; policy considerations; and current practices, v.1109. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED536527.pdf 

McCarthy, J. (2018). Edutopia: Tech integration in blended learning. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/tech-integration-blended-learning

Vanessa, V. (2013). Edutopia: Technology Integration Research Review: Additional Tools and Programs. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-research-tools-programs

 

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