Ours is the age of Science. New technologies continue to proliferate in every sphere of our lives with each passing day. Our government’s vision of a Digital India has begun to take concrete shape and a lot of work has been done to digitalize public systems and services. In the field of education as well, we have witnessed a wave of rapid digitalization. Especially since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, when schools and college campuses were shut down, locking millions of students and teachers out of the classroom, across the entire nation, online teaching has become the talking point in education. Today, the huge demand for online teaching solutions has contributed to the growth of many ed-tech startups. The drastic increase in the adoption of online teaching has put forth some questions which need to be addressed. For instance, how does prior exposure to technology, or digital literacy affect the attitude of students and teachers towards e-Learning? Why is digital literacy important for students, now, more than ever? Or How does digital Literacy lead to more effective learning outcomes? In this article, we elucidate upon the importance of developing basic digital literacy in students so that their experience with e-learning happens to be a cheerful and fruitful one.
Being Digitally literate, as the name suggests, involves developing basic understanding and technological skills, learning how to access information online, and understanding how to interact sensibly on social networks. As online learning continues to become an indispensable part of education, even for primary students, it is important to make students digitally literate from a very young age. The future of students depends on them achieving digital literacy. Having the required skills to easily navigate and understand digital technology allows students to learn in a better manner, even traditional subjects can be learned in more engaging and innovative ways through e-Learning resources. Digital literacy from a young age also allows students to explore more and boosts their creativity. Further, it contributes to the development of skills required for employability and success in the 21st century. Some other ways in which digital literacy helps students by making learning more effective are….
Flexibility in Learning-
When a student learns to make proper use of digital resources, he can learn virtually from anywhere at any time. Nowadays, many online teaching platforms provide features like online teaching through mobile, for more flexibility in teaching and learning. Technology is omnipresent. For instance, apart from computer labs at schools, students probably have a myriad of digital devices at home like smartphones, laptops, tablets, notepads and likewise which can aid in profound learning, provided the student is digitally literate. With no restrictions of time and space, which are present in traditional classrooms, the student is free to learn at his own pace and manner. This helps in developing creativity, inquisitiveness and forces students to make use of their critical thinking faculties. Thus, the flexibility to take learning anywhere is a major advantage associated with developing digital literacy in students.
Peer Learning and Interaction-
Digital literacy helps students to connect and collaborate with their peers online and learn together in study groups. Each student can interact with his friends, provide them assistance, encouragement, and suggestions. Not only does it help in improving the student learning outcomes but it also leads to the development of interpersonal skills which will be helpful for the students throughout their careers.
Continuous link with Teachers-
A digitally literate student can easily connect with anybody including his teachers for any assistance. Furthermore, online teaching platforms help teachers to access their student’s assignments and keep a watch on student activity at any time. This helps them to better evaluate the learning potential and outcomes of their students. Online teaching platforms may also make use of data analytics to help teachers understand their student’s learning patterns and use the information to make a more positive and rewarding learning experience for the students. Thus, digital literacy helps in better student learning by facilitating more frequent interactions between students and their teachers.
Therefore, it is evident that digital literacy opens many doors for students when it comes to learning and it is a key predictor for future success today. It is thus advisable that teachers and parents must ensure that the students are made digitally literate from a young age.