Oftentimes it seems that education, as an institution, is populated by persons who work to preserve practices of the past and who do not depend upon or explore the advantages of digital literacy. Digital literacy, however, is here to stay--we are at the core of new literacy--and educators should consider how to best weave together old, new, and future literacy so that young people leave school literate in the ways of school "and" the ways of the world (O’Brien, D. & Scharber, C., 2008, p66-68).
When teaching today’s students, teachers need to be educated and confident with technology. Various studies have shown that a very high proportion of trainee teachers entering the universities are already competent in technology. For this reason, some teachers’ training programs take the technical capabilities for granted or expect that less confident teachers will enhance their lacking capabilities outside of their formal training. However, other studies have demonstrated that the level of the technical capabilities could be highly overestimated. Some researchers argue that teachers enter the profession with variable computer skills and some stop at a level of basic technical skills (Markauskaite, L. 2007, p. 548).
Many school districts are moving forward to provide necessary training for new teacher trainees and experienced teachers to improve confidence with technology so they can keep up with their students. Today’s students are ready to move beyond the textbook and open their laptop for the daily lesson. When I met last week with a librarian who is in charge of all of Marion County Public School Libraries I learned that the public libraries and librarians from the main teacher’s reference library were coming together in order to provide technical support for their teachers who were struggling to keep up with the students. The librarians are going to the schools and setting up computer workshops for the teachers. The librarians are coming into the classrooms and demonstrating for the teachers all the possibilities information literacy can be successful for both teachers and the students. The librarian expressed to me the fact that a lower rate of students were causing problems in the classroom (less boredom), the kid in the back row was paying attention and interested in the assignment, and the days are going smoother for the teacher. Other programs such as online gradebook are used for posting students’ grades online where they are not only calculated automatically with fewer errors, but parents are also able to go online and view their child’s grades.
We are teaching a new generation of techno kids that have the need to move beyond the textbook and learn to be creative with all the computer software that is available to them.
What disadvantages are there for students who have teachers that are not considering updating their computer literacy skills?
Why do you think these teachers would keep the old hum drum textbooks around when students can learn and become more creative than ever with the use of computers?
O’Brien, David & Scharber, Cassandra (2008). Digital Literacies Go to School: potholes and possibilities, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, v52 n1 p66-68, International Reading Association retrieved from ERIC database on November 15, 2009.
Markauskaite, Lina (2007). Exploring the Structure of Trainee Teachers ICT Literacy: the main components of and relationships between, general cognitive and technical capabilities. Educational Technology Research and Development 55, no.6 retrieved from ECO database on November 15, 2009.