Digital Literacy

Workshop It.

One of the things that I am excited to do on my campus in the very near future are technology workshops for students and for teachers.  These might look like 20-30 minute brief sessions demonstrating an isolated tech tool or a feature within an application that is already used on campus, such as Schoology, Burlington English software, or any of the Google Suite applications.  Ideally, these short sessions would remain focused on one or two techniques so as to remain manageable and thus easily incorporated into students and teachers daily lives.  I find that I am often talking to people about apps I’ve found or cool things that you can do with Google forms and the like, but formalizing these discussions would make them accessible to more people and increase the digital literacy of our school.  So, what do seasoned librarians say about teaching tech skills?

Crystal Schiff, a TechSoup for Libraries blogger and public librarian, talks about hosting a basic I.T. program for staff; You Can Do I.T. teaches staff how to trouble-shoot common technology issues encountered in the library such as, videos loading slowly, preventing computer viruses, and understanding basic hardware.  

Amanda Hovious of Designer Librarian, gives a nice overview of the types of tech tools to include in your repertoire, such as, transmedia tools, dictation tools, collaboration tools, and even spreadsheet software.  She mentions six other categories, but you get the idea.  There are a host of technology tools available that unless teachers take the time to learn, students miss out on using.

Digital Literacy

Create.

I had not thought about approaching digital media and literacy skills through digital storytelling, until I read about it on fellow student, Alan Phelps, blog post Final Thoughts on Digital Storytelling.  It is so true that stories move us and what an exciting way for students to engage in an artistic endeavor, as well as practice language and communication skills that culminates in a digital story.  EdTechTeacher, Samantha Morra, reminds us that digital storytelling is an opportunity for our students to be creators and not simply consumers of content.  By focusing on digital media skills, you can facilitate creativity, promote good storytelling skills and engage digital media techniques.
Another thing to consider is that the oral tradition of storytelling is thought-provoking and empowering.  The County of San Mateo Health & Recovery Services advertises their annual event Honoring the Journey Through the Power of Digital Storytelling, highlighting the restorative power of storytelling.  Edutopia blogger, Sara Burnett, writes about teaching empathy through digital storytelling, particularly around stories of immigration.  Since I work with adults who have overcome a lot of obstacles to finally return to school, this type of project would be a powerful way for students to talk about their experiences and further develop their resiliency and coping skills.  Students sometimes feel intimidated to share their personal histories, but it is a valuable soft skill;  to know when and where to share, or to know how much to share depending on the situation.