The Importance of being ‘Digitally Savvy’
Technology is all around us, everywhere. The first thing I do when I wake up is check my Facebook to see what I’ve missed when I was sleeping (usually nothing) and then buy my train ticket using the fancy, new machines at the station. Prensky (2001, p.1) claims that technology has changed the world in an extreme way meaning there is no turning back. No turning back to the ‘old-fashioned’ ways of sending letters instead of emails or phoning someone instead of texting, just like my grandparents would. It has been suggested that students, today, are actually different from their ancestors in the way in which they think and analyse information. These students have been given the name ‘digital natives’ – such as myself – as we have been brought up around technology and use it to communicate in our everyday lives. This transition is so huge that it is increasingly important that everyone should be, or learn to be digitally literate in order to keep up with the modern world.
One group of people who are especially important in this shift are teachers. It is important for teachers to be ‘digitally savvy’ in order to grasp the attention of their students, who are no longer interested in just reading from books. Students these days are used to finding information quickly and are used to doing many things at once, something which is hard to accomplish without technology (Prensky, 2001, p.2). For example, if I wanted to find out who was the richest person in the UK, I’m not going to waste an hour looking for a book in the library relevant to the topic, I would search it up on Google, taking me no more than 30 seconds to find. However, there are some people known as ‘digital immigrants’ – such as my grandparents – who do not understand and do not want to learn the ropes of technology. This can be a problem when it comes to ‘digital immigrant educationalists’ who do not believe students can learn through technology and think that some aspects of technology are a waste of time (Zur & Zur, 2011). These professionals are being urged to change their outlook if they want to effectively teach their students (and stop them from falling asleep in class) because there is no going back to old teaching ways.
Technology is now being used in almost every job out there, again stressing the importance of being digitally literate. Most professions now rely on technology for processes such as recording data or analysing current trends (Weebly, n.d.). For example, when I was interviewed for my job, I had to prove that I could successfully send an email and was also shown how to use the software to look up statistics – which was confusing, even for a digital native. To accommodate this, many schools have now integrated opportunities for enhancing digital literacy skills into their curriculum in order to meet ability levels for future jobs – another reason why it’s important for teachers to be digitally educated (BCS, 2014). This is significant as 81% of employers view digital skills as an essential ability to have as it improves employee expertise and will benefit the companies’ productions (BCS, 2014).
These are just a few of the many reasons to enhance your technology skills in today’s society in order to keep up with the transitions occurring in the world. There is no turning back.
Graham87. (2014). Computers in the classroom. Retrieved from http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computers_in_the_classroom
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. Lincoln:MCB University Press.
The Chartered Institute for IT. (2014). Digital Literacy and Education. Retrieved from http://www.bcs.org/category/17855
The Chartered Institute for IT. (2014). Digital Literacy and Employability. Retrieved from http://www.bcs.org/category/17854
Weebly. (n.d.). Why is Digital Literacy Important? Retrieved from http://purposefultechnology.weebly.com/why-is-digital-literacy-important.html
Zur, O. & Zur, A. (2011). On Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives: How the Digital Divide Affects Families, Educational Institutions, and the Workplace. Retrieved from http://www.zurinstitute.com/digital_divide.html