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.