Technology as a new literacy.
Technology is the new literacy for students. It is a broad statement but technology fluency on the part of the learner and seamless integration of technology by the teacher is the overriding goal of technology in my teaching and learning environment. I want to close the digital use divide gap. I would like my students to fully participate as global citizens who are to contribute, create and lead.
The U.S. Office of Educational Technology in the Department of Education reports on a “digital use divide gap” (2016, p. 5) in the 2016 National Education Technology Plan. The divide is between learners who use technology for passive consumption and learners who use technology actively and creatively (U.S. Office of Education Technology, 2016, p. 5).
The goal for the use of education technology is to have students develop skills in this new literacy. These skills are not as simple as using Microsoft, Excel and safely surfing the Internet. Students should be able to be active global citizens. Our students should be able to connect to information and people around the world. Their voice should be heard and their access to people, information and knowledge should not be limited because of their geographic location. These skills were outlined in Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture (Jenkins et al., 2006), an occasional paper written for the MacArthur Foundation.
Image 1. New Media Skills from Confronting the challenges of participatory culture. (Jenkins et al., 2006).
While none of these skills specifically mention a technology, all of these skills require a fluency that allows the learner to seamlessly navigate from platform to platform and use technology as a creator and not just a consumer. Teachers need to also develop the skill set to allow them to seamlessly integrate technology into their classroom. Our teachers who may have learned a behaviorist or constructivist based pedagogy will need to learn how to use a connectivist pedagogy.
Image 2. Principles of Connectivism from Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. (Siemens, 2004)
Connectivist (Siemens, 2004) is an educational theory that takes into account that our students will be learning for the rest of their lives and allows teachers to integrate critical thinking, exploration and creativity in student use of technology. In the end, technology may not be a new literacy for our students but also for our teachers.
2016 National Educational Technology Plan (2016). Office of Educational Technology.
Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A., and Weigel, M. (2006) Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st Century. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved https://www.macfound.org/media/article_pdfs/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF
Office of Educational Technology, U.S Department of Education (2016). Future ready learning: Reimaging the role of technology in education. Retrieved from http://tech.ed.gov/files/2015/12/NETP16.pdf