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Flex Your Thumbs: Literacy for the Digital Age

Kids in the 21st century read and write more than any other generation ever has…they just do it on a digital screen with their thumbs.

Social media and the internet have completely changed the atmosphere of literacy and communication - specifically how we read and write.

Incorporating digital literacy into assignments supports students in real-world learning while fulfilling current curricular expectations. Here are some things to consider:

1. Teach skimming, scanning, & first impressions. Did you know that we read completely differently on the internet than we do in a book? Humans tend to spend only 15-30 seconds on a site before making a judgment. Teach students metacognitive approaches to digital reading and research to increase their aptitude for e-learning.

2. Define Email etiquette. An email is the first impression we make in the digital age. Teaching students how to properly craft an email must be taught. Judged by that initial email, we are then further measured by our ability to carry on a digital conversation via messaging or email.

3. Educate them about their digital legacy. Their digital footprint is the last thing teens think about before tweeting, posting, or recording…but it should be the first. Once you post, it never goes away - even after hitting delete. Future employers see these digital imprints, giving them a real-life perspective beyond the resume. Teens must think now before tattooing the internet with an inescapable past.

4. The Future Is Now. “Start thinking about your future,” is the 20th-century mantra. 21st-century students are already building theirs online. Help them flex their digital muscles with e-learning know-how to equip them both now and for their future selves.

What are some other ways to incorporate digital literacy into the classroom? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.


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