“The definition of literacy has changed dramatically in the United States over the course of its history, from being able to sign your name, to being familiar with certain canonical texts, to being able to read and write and make meaning from the written word, to being proficient in 21st-century skills that are context specific” (Roblyer and Doering, p. 266). Digital and information literacy are necessary skills for all students in the 21st century. Without these skills, students will have difficulty navigating through their lives. Not only do students need to know how to use the information they acquire from technology, they must know how to use multiple electronic devices.
Applying digital and information literacy to different content areas can be challenging to the educator and students but it can also be incredibly rewarding. In general, the relative advantage for teaching students how to use technology in the classroom is preparing them for their future. More specifically, technology provides endless possibilities to specific content areas.
Many students often view writing as a burden, but when technology is integrated, students are exhibit motivation and at times enthusiasm. Gone are the days of writing down an outline, creating a rough draft in a composition notebook, and then writing a smooth copy in ink. All writing standards can be integrated into lessons regardless of whether students are drafting and publishing documents, blogging, vlogging, Tweeting, or creating their own webpages. “Literacy is increasingly a multi-modal concept, as students combine writing, images, and music soundtracks to create representations of their personal experiences in vlogs and digital stories” (Robyler and Doering, p. 268).
Initially when technology was integrated into the classroom, it was used to take the place of the typewriter. As times changed so did the application of technology. Educators soon realized how useful technology would be in the areas of science and math. Students of all ages can benefit from learning using digital tools to learn about chemistry, Newton’s laws of motion, algebra and geometry. “Math education in the United States is a broken system” (Smith, 2008). One way to help correct this issue is to integrate technology through the use of drill and practice activities, tutorials, simulation software, and instructional games.
“Science and technology in the classroom go hand in hand. “Science education has generally involved teaching not only a body of knowledge but also the processes and activities of scientific work” (Flick and Bell, 2000). Using technology makes learning the scientific concept worthwhile, but also directly reflects the true nature of science itself. Students no longer have to rely on 2 dimensional images of tectonic plates shifting; they can not only view 3 dimensional images, but also using applicable software, create their own tectonic maps. Bringing science to life using technology makes it exciting and intriguing.
Many of us only dream of visiting the Louvre Museum in Paris, or listening to a live performance of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Virtual field trips in the classroom can take students to far away places. Whereas some may want to see the art and listen to the music, some prefer to create their own masterpieces. “The role of arts education in the digital age include active engagement; a personal connection to the task to inspire learning; and thee development of art that beings value” (Robyler and Doering, p. 371). Students can express themselves using the arts by recording a vocal, composing and arranging music, creating movies, or using graphics to publish a picture. Never before have students had so many creative options in the arts.
Regardless of the content area technology is integrated into, the teachers must remain current on the latest electronic devices, software, and tools “Teachers need to be motivated to find these technologies, have the confidence to learn them, and then ultimately, use them in their classroom” (Robyler and Doering, p. 371). Above all, trust yourself and step out of your comfort zone. In doing this, they will be providing their students with 21st century skills.
Flick, L., and Bell, R. (2000). Preparing tomorrow’s science teachers to use technology: guidelines for science educators. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education Retrieved from: http://www.citejournal.org/vol1/iss1/currentissues/science/article1.htm
Roblyer, M.D. and Doering, A.H. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology Into Teaching, (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Smith, L. (2008). Winning equation: how technology can help save math education. Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/technology-math-education
AECT Standards: 1.1 Instructional Systems Design (ISD); 1.2 Message Design; 1.3 Insturctional Strategies; 2.1 Print Technologies; 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies; 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies