Is it important for Educators to be Digitally Literate? 

The first challenge I  faced to understand this topic and scenario was to find a definition of ‘’digital literacy’’. I found that the definition of digital literacy has shifted in the past few years as more and newer technologies have permeated the classroom. I found American Library Association’s defines it suitably well  “Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”
Digital Literacy  is unarguably becoming important to our education systems. While students may be adept at using digital tools, their understanding of what these tools can do is often limited. For example, students use social media like Instagram or Facebook to post photos but don’t think to use the platform for their projects. They record themselves for voice messages to friends but do not realize that they can use voice recording for a narrative piece.  Digitally literate educators could inspire students to use technology as a powerful toolset to expand their learning opportunities.
Educators often receive mandates from institutes to use a particular technology or LMS or app even though it is not the best fit for their course or students. It is important to know how to engage students and how students learn. This knowledge then can be used to use technology to exploit new teaching potential. The content and technology mix can vary in effectiveness given a student’s familiarity with the tools and the various cultural norms. Educators need to make careful choices that reflect these varied cultural contexts.  Digitally literate educators could be great resource persons and point of advice for the appropriate technologies. These skills are increasingly important in any Institute’s context in which students are bringing different experiences into the mix.  It is less about the technology though than it is about the experience the technology can provide to each student.
Digital literacy doesn’t require that educators become technology experts, but it does require that they understand the strengths and weaknesses of digital tools that can unlock their deeper teaching potential. In fact, the most solid of ground to be found in the debate surrounding digital literacy is the agreement that, whatever it is, it is important to the success of our students.
In our PBL group discussion, we explored important literacies we are familiar with. We also looked at our experiences of digital creation,  consumption, communication, and collaboration. Storing, accessing, creating, organising information, LMS, repositories and task boards, as well as connecting with individual and groups of students via social media and adapting it for learning and teaching.  It requires specific skills and attitude which is becoming increasingly important for educators.  We also discussed online participation and digital footprints. We reflected on my digital presence and identity.
ONL201 Webinar and readings had pointed to a framework on Digital Resident and Visitor . Clearly, some operate entirely as Visitors, visiting specific Web places for specific purposes, and never leaving a digital footprint behind. At the other extreme, Residents spend a lot of their online time in social interaction, leaving behind significant evidence of their presence. I found this framework  very interesting. I enjoyed the group activity we mapped our digital identity on a  grid  similar to the pic below (Ack: By Health and Social Care student – Higher Education Academy project, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42826505)

At the end of the week, I had added following articles to my further reading list:

Maria Spante, Sylvana Sofkova Hashemi, Mona Lundin & Anne Algers | (2018) Digital competence and digital literacy in higher education research: Systematic review of concept use, Cogent Education, 5:1, 1519143

Creer, A. (2018). Introducing Everyday ‘Digital Literacy Practices’ into the Classroom: an Analysis of Multi-layered Media, Modes and their Affordances. Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research, 7(2), 131-139. doi: 10.7821/naer.2018.7.265

Jessica Lander’s perspective  Digital Literacy for Digital Natives 

Online Participation and Digitally Literacies