Knowing the Difference Between Digital Skills and Digital Literacies, and Teaching Both

We often hear people talk about the importance of digital knowledge for 21st-century learners. Unfortunately, many focus on skills rather than literacies. Digital skills focus on what and how. Digital literacy focuses on why, when, who, and for whom.

For example, teaching digital skills would include showing students how to download images from the Internet and insert them into PowerPoint slides or webpages. Digital literacy would focus on helping students choose appropriate images, recognize copyright licensing, and cite or get permissions, in addition to reminding students to use alternative text for images to support those with visual disabilities.

Digital skills would focus on which tool to use (e.g., Twitter) and how to use it (e.g., how to tweet, retweet, use TweetDeck), while digital literacy would include in-depth questions: When would you use Twitter instead of a more private forum? Why would you use it for advocacy? Who puts themselves at risk when they do so?

Sourced through from:

Maha Bali’s article is worth sharing widely with anyone who needs to be nudged ever so gently into the 21st century of education. (We’re 16% through it, folks!) Bali addresses the need to teach about digital skills and literacy in an authentic context, not a vacuum, and gives many concrete examples for doing that. 


I recently did a lesson on blogging with a 6th grade class. We looked at several tween and teen blogs, then reviewed good digital citizenship practices emphasizing student safety and copyright. Finally, each student created a blog on Blogger. Will they make mistakes? Probably. (When I specifically told them to keep it school appropriate, with nothing in the blog they wouldn’t be allowed to do at school, and one student immediately started searching for „Call of Duty 3“ images!) Will we all learn something from this? Absolutely. 

See on Scoop.itAssessment | Learning and Teaching | Coaching


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