Breaking Digital Illiteracy

I am intrigued by the concept of digital literacy. Well, I guess it’s not a new concept – we just have easier access to tools for both creating and sharing. There’s really no excuse for not taking advantage of these tools, either… so why do I still consider myself digitally illiterate?

For one, I’m amazed at how digital storytelling engages students. For example, check out this Prezi for math, (while comparing it, in your mind, to a traditional math textbook):

There are so many reasons why this version is better: it’s engaging, it’s interactive and, (despite my complete fear of math) it almost makes the subject fun!

I’ve had a SmartBoard interactive white board in my room for about four years now and my use of and with it has been a hit-and-miss approach. Why? Because:

  • Creating lessons is too time-consuming
  • The available lessons on banks just don’t suit my needs
  • It’s time-consuming
  • I have a fear that, in my high school class, the lessons will come across as hookey
  • So very, very time-consuming

I think the reality is that I need to stop whining and just start doing – especially because the benefits to students is so blatantly clear.

Take, for example, storytelling. Storytelling is supposed to be a visual experience, (think theatre, oral traditions, and even caveman paintings), but somewhere in our recent past we started losing the art, by making it artificial.

Educational Technology professor Alec Couros tweeted a great point about this in a recent #ETMOOC chat:

“Artificial conventions” hits the nail on the head. We’ve taken away the heart of story-telling and replaced it with inorganic fodder for the soul purpose of assessment and evaluation. It’s time for educators to take advantage of the tools at their fingertips and engaging students. It’s time to break our digital illiteracy!

They probably have some pretty cool stories to tell, too.