Schools are getting transformed into smart schools and online, on-demand, learner-centered learning is a universal reality. Hence, digital literacy is the fundamental pre-requisite to be successful as a teacher in every aspect of educational life. Digital literacy is the engine of today’s civilisation and the driving force of the information age.
Digitally literate teachers see technology for all of its creative potential, rather than something they are mandated to do in a step-by-step fashion. Digital literacy doesn’t require that teachers become experts, but it does require that they understand the digital tools that can unlock their deeper teaching potential. The more digitally literate our teachers are, the more they’ll employ these skills in the classroom, which will in turn foster a strong sense of digital citizenship in our students. In a world where technology is playing a vital role in the teaching-learning process, students need more opportunities to learn how to brainstorm and think creatively in order to succeed to achieve their goals.
The majority of online learners feel difficulty maintaining self-discipline. Their inability to achieve self-discipline is a serious concern, as we know self-discipline is indispensable for personal and professional growth. Online learners have been seen to be introverted individuals. They have no social exposure, no social interaction. Online learners lack social interaction which devoid them of social learning opportunities. Indeed, social interaction plays a key role in our development and learning. We learn from society, people, and circumstances, hence social interaction is mandatory for learning.
There is an abundance of academic knowledge available on the internet for online learners. It becomes a challenge for them to sift through it. Information management is yet another crucial challenge for online learners.
The opportunities associated with digital literacy are immense. Perhaps the most significant benefit of digital literacy is the ability to personalise learning. Years ago, a teacher could only dream about having the ability to design a curriculum that would be ideally suited to the skills, deficits, and preferences of every single student in the class. Rather, teachers had to be content with teaching to the average which often meant teaching to no one in particular and leaving many students to struggle with the material. But digital edtech tools make it possible for teachers to target instructional materials to each student. LMS systems can help with organisation, data analytics can help with diagnosing student performance in a fine-grained way, and the wealth of digital resources means that teachers no longer need to re-invent the wheel for each activity.
Increasing speed and availability of internet access can reduce many of the geographic constraints that disadvantage poor students face. Schools serving higher resourced families are often able to recruit better teachers and administrators.
Unlike teachers, however, technologies have no preferences for the schools in which they work. The resources available to all schools with the same internet access costs the same for all schools in the same area, regardless of the student population served. Students are now easily accessing various online resources and reservoirs which meet their special requirement in respective fields of study.
Secondly, the evolution of touch-screen technology has enabled very young children to engage in technology-aided instruction. Prior to gadgets, it was difficult for pre-school, kindergarten, and even early primary grade students.
Third, advances in artificial intelligence technology now allow teachers to differentiate instruction providing extra support and developmentally- appropriate material to students whose knowledge and skill is far below or above graduate level norms. The latest “intelligent” tutoring systems are able to not only assess a student’s current weaknesses, but also diagnose why students are making specific errors.
The only thing that matches the promise of digital literacy tools is their peril: educators and other stakeholders will need to tread carefully to ensure that their students have the best possible educational environment.
The writer is a research scholar at Department of Education, University of Kashmir. [email protected]