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Promoting Digital Literacy During Distance Learning

As social distancing continues, there are more young people online than ever before. From Tiktok to Snapchat, there is a lot of information on the internet. Unfortunately, a lot of misinformation too.

Our world has become more reliant on digital content, especially now as educators turn to distance learning. Students need to implement digital literacy tools to be able to participate in digital environments in healthy and ethical ways.

We gathered a few ideas to promote digital literacy during this time of distance learning.

What is Digital Literacy?

Before we dive into the activities, we want to lay out the definition of digital literacy.

Digital literacy has a lot in common with information and media literacy. However, digital literacy is solely focused on digital content in its various forms. According to the American Library Association, digital literacy is “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”

Included in digital literacy are students’ understanding of the following:
  • Digital production
  • Social media
  • Word processing
  • Search engines
  • Various types of hardware
  • Digital information sources
  • Emerging technologies

How to Promote Digital Literacy

1| Create An Online Resource Guide
Help students learn the difference between fact and fiction when looking for information online. The internet has a wealth of knowledge, but some resources may contain inaccurate information or heavy opinion-based content. Encourage library patrons to carefully evaluate information by checking numerous online resources to verify the information.

You can use your Alexandria Library software to provide helpful resources and links to verified information sources. You can post this information to your Bulletin Boards, or catalog direct links to resources in your collection. Learn more here.

2| Set Ground Rules
Students need to be aware of how to use online tools effectively as well as respectfully. Be sure to let your patrons know about internet netiquette.

3| Evaluate Your Current Distance Learning Strategies
Review your current digital learning strategies that are already in place and determine how you can better use these strategies with technology. For example, you can invite online learners to your digital forum to continue the online discussion after an in-class lecture. As we’ve seen in the past few months, events like the Coronavirus have made in-classroom learning switch to remote learning like the drop of a hat. Implementing e-learning strategies throughout the year can help students transition to remote learning if there is a need.

4| Encourage Learner-Generated eLearning Content
Help students build their digital literacy and tech skills by encouraging learner-generated content. Ask students to showcase their work by creating their own e-learning blogs or virtual presentations based on the subject matter. This offers a secondary benefit, since using multimedia also enforces the need to respect the use of images. For example, they may need to pay royalties or find royalty-free options. As such, they become familiar with intellectual rights and copyright laws that govern online resources.

5| Host a Live Event
Host a live event from home or your library using video conferencing software like Zoom. You can also use social media live videos on Facebook or Instagram. Your digital event can include library programs or a read-aloud. The type of event you host can be anything, but most importantly, hosting a live event encourages your students to use technology to connect to their peers and to you.

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