Creating a digitally literate student

Students will be expected to have a wide range of digital skills in order to take on the challenges of the future.

Students will be expected to have a wide range of digital skills in order to take on the challenges of the future.

As technology continues to be woven into the fabric of everyday life, the number of digital skills needed to navigate the world is growing. By some estimates, 90 percent of all new jobs will require workers with an incredible range of digital talents. Today’s students will need to have social media, data analytics and visualization skills to be successful in future jobs. And with advancements happening so quickly, who knows what new tech is waiting just around the corner?

To find their place in tomorrow’s job market, today’s students need to increase their digital literacy as much as possible. The concept goes much further than just knowing how to boot up your computer. In a nutshell, it’s a student’s ability to read, comprehend and create information using digital technologies.

At one school, digital literacy is considered so important that it now accounts for one of two required courses. At the Inquiry Hub in British Columbia, students in grades 9-12 are tested in four main areas: social networking, personal learning environments and networks, principles of inquiry and principles of digital presentation. The curriculum challenges students to consider how technology can be used, how it can be abused and how to make it better

Preparing students for tomorrow’s challenges
For instance, students are tasked with collecting information from personal online profiles. This exercise shows them how easy it can be to access information placed on the internet. Knowing the risks involved, students learn to be more cautious about what data they choose to let the world see. With cybercrime becoming a growing problem across the globe, the protection and control of information will be a major concern moving forward, so it’s important to get kids thinking about it early on.

In another exercise, students were asked to not only analyze infographics, but to use classroom software to recreate them in a more meaningful way. Visualization is becoming a major force in the corporate world, especially in connection with big data. The ability to comprehend this information and find the most effective way to present it will be an important skill in the future.

As the world becomes more digital, students and teachers need to embrace new technologies. We’ve already seen how coding grew from a niche skill to the backbone of modern technology. In order to succeed in the future marketplace, today’s students will need to begin gathering digital skills now.

Does your school have a digital literacy program in place? Do you think students are gaining the skills they’ll need? Tell us what you think in the comments below or send us a message on our Facebook page!

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.