In today’s educational environment, it is common to hear scholars talk about the importance of teaching students to work alongside digital mediums. We have written about it in various articles. However, even though we’re all aware of how a digital understanding is important, most people tend to focus on digital skills instead of digital literacy. The difference between the two may seem slight until you look more closely. Taking social media as an example, digital skills describe how to tweet or post to Instagram while digital literacy is about educating students why social platforms are more beneficial to them than traditional or private forums, particularly for film related content. Digital literacy is therefore not only teaching students how to use technology but also how to use it in order to reach its full potential.
Maha Bali, an associate professor of practice and the Center of Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo explains that adopting a curriculum that focuses on digital literacy means teaching progressively rather than sequentially which allows students to grasp concepts and lessons more easily over time. When approaching digital literacy with students, you must first show them the variety they have to choose from, informing them of the ins and outs of each individual option. Once they’re aware of the choices they have they can make an informed and literate choice as to which will suit them best for the shot or story they’re trying to tell.
However, deep understanding of new technologies doesn’t make for a literate student. In order for students to fully comprehend the digital platforms available to us, they must also understand the risks. You may find that in teaching students, particularly younger ones, that they often don’t see the full spectrum of responsibility that comes with the digital age, particularly with regards to social media. As the current generation of students has been raised with social media, they can be blind to the adverse effects that come along with embracing digital technology. You must therefore clearly inform students that they should be careful what they post online and also teach them to understand whether their day to day platforms and profiles are what they want the world to associate with them professionally.
You can teach digital literacy alongside teaching students digital skills and how to use the technology that has so become a part of today’s film industry. By teaching certain skills alongside digital literacy, students should be able to make fully informed decisions to develop a well-rounded understanding of the digital world, essential to life after their studies.
Site Educational Technology and Mobile Learning produced this killer list of skills which are worth checking out just to see if there are any you’re not already a seasoned practitioner of. The article is full of resources to help you further develop any areas you’re unfamiliar with and had been wanting to get started in anyway… we recommend you check it out now!
In this exercise, ask your students rank the following skills by the relative importance each has to bring to a career in media making. Try then to come up with an overall order for the group – leading to an open discussion about the relative importance of each skill.
- capturing video footage
- planning a shoot scheduling
- working with actors
- sharing films on social media
- writing scripts
- editing video and sound footage
- using advanced special effects tools
Does the thought that your students are a leap ahead of you digitally worry you? Do the mysteries of their Snapchatting and Tweeting baffle and fill you with concern that you’re missing out on the conversation?… and also missing out on a whole new host of eLearning software to aid and enhance your teaching?
In the next 3 minutes we hope to assure you that there’s no better time to start than now. That access to teaching apps and understanding their potential can help boast your teaching, re-engage your students and save you time. Finally, its worth mentioning why digital literacy for teachers and parents is an effective contribution to keeping children safely online generally.
Training teachers to become digitally literate is something Helen Mathieson,CEO of a multi-academy trust in Wiltshire believes in strongly, insisting that all teaching professionals need to have “high-level skills in digital literacy”. “Every aspect of teaching and learning is embedded in the ability to use technology to enhance understanding and broaden horizons,” she says, adding, “Any teacher who is not digitally literate would suffer by comparison in terms of the reactions, responses and engagement of the students.”
Sadie Philips, a newly qualified Inner London school teacher suggests: “Twenty-first century literacy has evolved, with a broader range of devices such as smart phones and tablets that give way to different forms of expression and levels of interaction. A digitally literate teacher will possess a range of skills to navigate this connected world and have knowledge of the basic principles of computing devices and networks, as well as cyber security and looking after your digital footprint.”
If you have a smartphone, you already have all the hardware you’ll need to dive in with education apps for teachers and trainers. One of the major benefits of the smartphone revolution has been that all the computing power we need for 80% of our requirements is already in our pockets, which has transformed how we interact online and is transforming learning as well.
Here are some tips to help you engage and start today, even if they are your first digital steps, these will get you going..
1. create digital spring boards and talking points out of simple-to-use tools like Powerpoint or Keynote – embedding video is always a good way to engage students as well.
2. Being conscious of your own digital footprint and leading by example, by not being scared of social media, and introducing its potential in the classroom when appropriate.
3. Follow key people on Twitter, and like their Facebook pages as well. This can include well known filmmakers, actors, and educators – each will invite you to an up to the minute discussion on your subjects!
4. Check out the teaching apps and increasingly the mVLE (mobile virtual learning environment) options [link to Teachers landing page] available for you and your students, to share and track the engagement with everything your course requires.
5. Search for online communities interested in your subject, try especially to look outside the UK, the most interesting ideas can come from all corners of the globe.
6. Start your own elearning page and use it, either on the school block or within a VLE document.