Coding: Is It a New and Necessary Component of Digital Literacy?

Hello all:
Striving to remain digitally literate and looking for ideas to share with my readers, I search the Internet and books for more ways to think about and discuss digital literacy. Today, I came across  coding and digital literacy, so these words become the crux of today’s post.
First, here is a good definition of digital literacy that I wanted to share. Marcus Wohlsen writes* that digital literacy is ” about educators, policy makers, and parents understanding how to give the rising generations of digital natives the tools they need to define the future of technology for themselves.”

This digital literacy definition is couched in his article about coding or the knowledge of how to do computer programming or write software instructions so that one can tell a computer what to do.    He relays that coding is not just about getting a computer to do what you want, but about creating your own digital tools.

While the concept of creating your own digital tool is certainly noteworthy and probably even one that we should strive for, I say we must continue to focus on having the greater percentage of educators become digitally literate so that they can shape the students’ thinking and learning when using digital tools. (Wohlsen presents this line of thinking in his article too.)

I further the idea by saying that those who are raising these students: not just parents, but grandparents, and even great-grandparents need to be digitally literate in this current cyberspace world before we sprint off to make new tools. What good is a new digital tool if we have little idea of how to wield the ones already at our disposal?

Share your thoughts!

* See the full article at Digital Literacy Is the Key to the Future, But We Still Don’t Know What It Means

Visual Literacy: Now You See It — What Does It Mean? (Part 2)

Recently a colleague* did a short photo shoot of me and I used the pictures for my YouTube Channel. (Go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG-afzk4ZZbNGuTbpHRR5cw.)
I thought it would be a good image to use when talking about visual literacy**.  Pretend you have a youngster nearby or go and get a real one and discuss the collage.
How would you

How would you “think through” these images?

During the discussion of visual literacy, here are a few questions I’d ask:
1. What does it look she’s doing?
2. Does she look happy, sad, confused, excited, or peaceful?
3. How do you feel as you look at the images?
4. Why might she be the only one in the images?

Here’s an extension  project — have the child draw his own picture collage and write a story about it. See if you can take a picture and post it on your favorite social media site or have the child send it to a friend or relative. (You ‘ll cover in art, writing, and the use of digital tools all in one sweep!)

Share your experience!

* Thanks to Mary Marques for the photos.
** For extensive reading about visual literacy see the document at http://www.iste.org/docs/excerpts/medlit-excerpt.pdf

Visual Literacy: Now You See It– What Does It Mean?

Hello all:
I’m continuing with some details about my working definition of digital literacy.  (See  https://wordpress.com/post/54145519/160/.) The last posts were about metacognition and information literacy. Today’s post is about visual literacy.

Visual literacy for me is obtaining meaning from and correctly relating images to each other so that they enhance your understanding of the world around you.

Dr. Todd Finley in his Edutopia blog post* gives a terrific and short definition for visual literacy. He writes that visual literacy should help students “think through, think about, and think with pictures”.

As we see and interpret images long before we understand the written language, the opportunity to teach youngsters to comprehend the direct and the implied message of images starts right away! The challenge for we digital immigrants to teach visual literacy to digital natives with all that technology exposes us to is sometimes daunting.

Yet the sooner we start, the sooner we will see success!
Share your thoughts!

* http://www.edutopia.org/blog/ccia-10-visual-literacy-strategies-todd-finley. (View his post to see specific strategies he gives for teaching visual literacy.)

Information Literacy — The Bare Bones

Here is another strand to my working definition of digital literacy. My last post was about metacognition. Today, I am posting about information literacy.

Let’s face it: the phrase “information literacy” can sound a little uppity. But it’s not just for the elite or the scholarly. Everyone, everyday should know what information literacy is and how to use it in their daily interactions and learning.

Information literacy can be defined in long-arm sentences or definitions*. And true, becoming informationally literate does have several layers, but the bare bones version, is:

1 — know that you need information,
2 — know where to get the information you need,
3 — know that the information is correct,
4 — apply the correct information to the situation to solve your problem or answer your question.

Much abounds on the web for educators on how to teach information literacy skills and even specific information literacy models, such as The Big6, to use in their endeavors.

However, what’s a parent to do?
First parents, start learning the terms. Then, look for examples of how to teach thinking skills and judging the correctness of ideas to your child when he or she is reading others’ words and writing their own paragraphs and essays. (Get your child to start asking, “Do these ideas make sense, do the ideas connect in a way that others will understand? Can I find other books or stories that agree with the basic thoughts that I have placed on paper?”)

Naturally, I could add more to this post, but I prefer for you to join in on the discussion.

Share how you would teach information literacy skills.

* More detailed explanations can be found at http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/informationliteracycompetency or
http://www.readingrockets.org/article/teaching-information-literacy-skills

Metacognition: Use it Again and Again!

Hello all:

Upon starting this blog, I formulated a working definition for digital literacy. (See  https://wordpress.com/post/54145519/160/. ) I have several strands that I believe make a good view of how one ought to think of digital literacy.

I like to revisit  the strands in the next few posts.

Today, let’s discuss and use metacognitive strategies.
You remember that metacognition has to do with ” thinking about your thinking.”  I also like the way Dr. Donna Wilson at http://www.edutopia.org/blog/metacognition-gift-that-keeps-giving-donna-wilson-marcus-conyers defines metacognition. She writes, ” metacognition, is  the ability to think about your thoughts with the aim of improving learning.”

I agree with Dr. Bill Jenkins who writes of strategies that can be used to teach children or help them to know when their metacognitive skills are working. (Don’t worry everyone, you don’t have to say “metacognition” to them in all your discussions. We’ll just know we’re doing a good thing.) :-)  He includes in his blog post these ideas:

1. Give children clear goals as to what they should accomplish from the start.
2. Ask questions before, during, and after the task so that the child will know the key points that he or should have considered.
3. My personal favorite which he has tagged as a self-monitoring strategy: Teach the child to give a verbal signal such as “aha”  when he or she gets the idea or a hmmm, if he or she doesn’t get it.

Now that you’ve read this, I have another question: how can you use metacognitive strategies in everyday activities at home?

Do share your thoughts!

Roblox and Digital Literacy Anyone?

Just a quick thought.

I see children every day scramble to get to a computer to play Roblox. They look like they are having so much fun and they are definitely engaged. The game caught my attention when I realized that the children were so involved that they would not even listen to my instructions nor get quieter when I asked them to do so.

Instead of staying irritated by their behavior, I decided to learn what is Roblox? So just in case you are like me, here’s what Roblox is. It is a massively multi-player online game created and marketed toward children and teenagers aged 8–18. In the game, players are able to create their own virtual world, in which they or other members may enter and socialize within the blocks of varying shapes, sizes, and colors.  (See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roblox.) 

The children are already completely entrenched! Can we adults get in on the fun and teach some digital literacy at the same time?
I ‘m just asking?
Do share your thoughts!

Digital Literacy Trends for 2015 — Quick Thoughts

Hello all:

A few quick thoughts on what will be trends for digital literacy in 2015:

1. Education — How can we help low income families follow-through to digital literacy once the computer has been placed in their homes. I mean what good is a new computer if you have no one to set it up or no money to pay for the  Internet Service Provider (ISP)?

2. Job skills — How can we help high schoolers get better at  online job searching, resume writing, online etiquette and having a professional cyberspace presence on such sites as LinkedIn?

3. Going Green– Can the use of more technology and presumably less paper extend the life of our planet?

Add your thoughts!