… how much digital literacy and digital competence are crucial for teaching and learning these days. It is quite obvious when one thinks about it for a little longer than one usually does, but I have never reflected on the importance of updating my knowledge (and skills!) of digital tools today and in the future.

Few years ago, I realized how different the next generation will perceive and operate in the world than I do. I was testing 12-month-olds within a developmental study and I recorded their faces throughout the trials. Most of them were unbothered, but one day I met a girl who, as her mother confessed, kept recording her own face in a selfie mode on mom’s phone since she turned 10 months. She was able to take the phone, unlock it, and make the recordings before she could properly walk! Given that I got my first phone when I turned 12 (not months though) and it did not even have a camera, the little girl’s world must be completely different than mine will ever be.

This difference is a bit scary because older generations, mine included, have to keep up with students and improve, often with struggle and pain, own digital skills. It’s definitely a challenge. But it also gives us an opportunity to be more vulnerable and not turn into know-it-alls that become teachers only to transfer knowledge to others. It must work both ways, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. In a teaching-learning situation, at least I believe so, both teachers and students can learn from each other. The teacher has more experience in a given field and has read more books in life (hopefully), but the student brings a different set of knowledge and skills: those related to digital literacies. And as much as courses such as Open Networked Learning are there to help us out and keep up with the digital world, we need to find our own balance between that reality and the non-digital one, to which we are perhaps more accustomed. We can never turn into a resident and develop an intution for digital tools, and therefore rely on our students a bit more. And who knows, maybe over time, after years of relying, we will struggle little less and become more and more intuitive, and – who knows – we might even start to have fun in the digital world.

I have only realised…