Saturday, February 18, 2012

Digital Literacy

One topic that is receiving increased emphasis by researchers is digital literacy. The majority of 21st-century students utilize the Internet as their primary resource for retrieving information. Frequently, teachers view this approach as both acceptable and preferred, whether it pertains to learners obtaining a quick answer, or conducting lengthy research. Even though the 21st-century student has immediate access to information via various online sources (e.g., Google, Google Scholar, Yahoo, YouTube, etc.), it is essential that information literacy be adequately addressed in today’s classrooms. The ability to distinguish between reliable information and “junk” should be a required skill that is addressed in all current classrooms. To the 21st-century learner, information competency translates primarily to digital literacy. The ever-evolving nature of digital literacy is complicated (Pfannenstiel, 2010). Nevertheless, classroom teachers must strive to have their students understand not only what constitutes reliable information retrieved from the Internet, but also the more important concept of academic integrity. In addition, Badke (2009) states the need for educators to develop strategies that teach “our future users of information how to go beyond” (p. 49) search engines in order to acquire information; the fear being that if a student is unable to locate something via a search engine, then that student will not find it at all. As role models for students, it is each educator’s responsibility to ensure that their students acquire the appropriate, grade-level informational literacy requisite to maintaining academic integrity, while enhancing each student’s journey as a lifelong learner. I am confident that future research on this topic will increase as technology continues to advance.
References
Badke, W. (2009). How we failed the net generation. Online, 33(4), 47-49. Retrieved from www.cinahl.com/cgi-bin/refsvc?jid=296&accno=2010356030
Pfannenstiel, A.N. (2010). Digital literacies and academic integrity. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 6(2), 41-49. Retrieved from
http://www.ojs.unisa.edu.au/index.php/IJEI

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