In a matter of months, parents have gone from a traditional family lifestyle to setting up a Zoom meeting for their three-year-old before heading to their home office in the laundry room. COVID-19 has most of the nation working and learning from home, bringing the realization that digital literacy is more important than ever. While our current situation is temporary, the effects this unprecedented shift will have on the way we work, live, learn and play could be permanent…and we’re here for it.
What is Digital Literacy?
Digital literacy has been defined in many ways; the American Library Association (ALA) defines digital literacy as “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”
The ALA definition may seem too general, considering the first words most kids speak are, “Can I see your phone?” but being truly digitally literate requires more than knowing how to navigate a mobile device or browse social media. Teaching digital literacy in school not only provides students with a valuable set of skills that most employers want, but it also helps students become more responsible digital citizens who safely embrace the advantages of technology.
What is Educational Technology?
Educational technology refers to using technological resources to aid in teaching and learning. A Stanford study revealed that pairing teachers with technology is the best method of providing high-quality education for students. From elementary school to college, students are engaging with technology outside of school daily. Technology is already a major part of most students’ lifestyles, and teachers can use that to their advantage.
Technology allows teachers to reach more students more efficiently by customizing their lessons so students can become more engaged and learn at their own pace. In addition to having an enhanced classroom experience, students who learn through technology become familiar with technological tools and develop a set of skills that will help them with future careers.
Video in Educational Technology
Video is not a new tool of educational technology, or EdTech, but the quality and availability of video is continuously improving. Some of you may remember an old high school teacher rolling in the AV cart to incorporate a quality VHS into their lesson plan. Times have changed, and video is more accessible than ever. Studies have shown that 94% of teachers use video in their classrooms, and on average, use video at least once a week.
Using video will not only keep students awake and engaged, but it has also proven to increase motivation and improve grades. Bump up the GPAs! Also, to help clearly communicate facts or demonstrate complex issues, an animated education video can be used and you can bet it will be better received by today’s technology driven students. Video also allows students to view complicated lessons or procedures as many times as needed to understand.
Incorporating Video Into Your Lesson Plans
In the past few weeks, many teachers have taken a test of courage by connecting with students solely through technology for the first time. Whether through a zoom call or a self-shot social media video, teachers are adapting to these unprecedented times and finding innovative ways to communicate their lessons.
While trial by fire can provide great experience, we can probably all agree it’s not the preferred method of learning. There’s no doubt more the teachers who were technologically savvy pre-COVID-19 are sitting pretty right now. For the old school teachers who haven’t jumped into EduTech just yet, it’s not too late. If you’re unsure about where to start, start small. Record a classroom lecture and see how your students respond. Our guess is they’ll be more receptive than you think and you’ll fall in love with this new way of teaching.
The importance of digital literacy and the value of video in the classroom are undeniable. Educational technology leads to higher classroom engagement and better prepares your students for future career opportunities. It’s a digital world we’re living in, we might as well embrace it!