I first started to think about digital literacy after attending a one-to-one conference this fall. Ian Jukes was one of the keynote speakers, and was presenting on what he called 21st century fluencies. (http://fluency21.com/).
These fluencies are digital literacies. While I was listening to the presentation I couldn’t stop thinking that some fluencies were skill based and some about critical thinking. The development of critical thinking has been something we have been trying to do at my school so I was quite interested. Is the big attraction of technology the possibility of linking content and critical thinking?
The keynote presenter then next day was Jeff Utecht (http://www.thethinkingstick.com/). In his presentation he gave us tasks to complete where we were actively searching for information (content) in order to solve problems (critical thinking), an excellent model for integrating technology and stimulating thought. Thus, I learned that in the right context it is possible to integrate critical thinking and digital literacies through the use of technology.
The conference was significant for me because it was the first time I had really stopped to think about what digital literacy might mean for me in the classroom. I must admit that I am still struggling to figure out how to make it all work. But, I have experienced the positive benefits of a well-designed and executed lesson and been encouraged to try some new things. Clearly technology is here to stay and is impacting the way I am planning lessons.
But is it possible to have too much of a good thing?
In The technology mistake: Confusing access to information with being educated Cuban (2012) attempts to address some of the issues surrounding why all of this information has not significantly changed education. Maybe the ultimate reason is because people have forgotten the non-technological aspects of school. “(S)chools have been and are social, political, and moral institutions whose job is to help children and youth acquire multiple literacies” (Cuban, 2012). There is much to be done in school that has very little to do with a greater access to information.
Cuban lists the cyber high school as one of the ways technologies are changing education. I acknowledge that taking a class (or two) in order to supplement the regular classes or in order to meet some requirements that cannot normally be met at the physical school one great benefit of online education. But, given the important role that schools play in moral and social education should a student be allowed to take an entire high school degree online, thus missing out on the social and moral literacies, and face-to-face interaction?
Cuban, L. (2012). The technology mistake: Confusing access to information with being educated. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/the-technology-mistake-confusing-access-to-information-with-becoming-educated/2012/06/17/gJQAt8PFkV_blog.html