The Importance of Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is such an important skill to teach students. It teaches students how to tell the difference between what is real and what is fake. It becomes more and more difficult to tell what is fake news every day with the continual rise in media use. Fake news is easier to make now with the ability to make fake messages, videos and audio recordings. It is so easy to edit pictures to make them seem like something they are not. It is so important to teach our students to recognize what is real and what is fake.

How do we do that though? We can do it by teaching them important terms that will help them change they’re thinking such as implicit and conformation biases. Our implicit biases can effect what we see on social media. We all tend to follow the same types of people that have the same beliefs as our own. This can cause us to believe news just because it aligns with our view points. We as humans also tend to search for information that aligns with our view points. When you put something into your search engine on google most of the time what is searched is biased. You can put almost anything into google and find what you are looking for aligned with your beliefs. It is important to show students how to limit these biases. This can be done by teaching students how to fact check by finding the information they are using on multiple reliable sites. It is important to use scholarly articles and not just something Joe Blow wrote on a random site.

“Above all, the World Wide Web is a web, and the way to establish authority and truth on the web is to use the web-like properties of it.” Mike Caulfield, WSU, Vancouver, WA 

  • Check for previous fact-checking work
  • Go upstream to the source  
  • Read laterally

What we are trying to teach our students is critical thinking! Don’t believe everything you see online and check your facts before you stand by them.

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