education, technology, and everything else

digital literacy requirements

Posted by Miranda on February 23, 2008

Digital Literacy:“The ability to use digital technology, communication tools and networks efficiently and ethically to locate, evaluate, use and create information.”

I’m still mulling over the digital literacy requirements that kids ought to have when they leave our school, but I’ve come up with a preliminary list.
First, the tools. I think everyone ought to know a little something about the tools they use. There’s no reason to think the computer as we know it will remain the main tool forever but it is now so kids should know:

Mechanical literacy

    Relationship between hard drive, processor and memory.
    Basic security: virus protection options, configuration of virus updates and scans
    Basic maintenance: disk tools such as chkdsk (PC), disk utility(Mac)

Basic software literacy:

    File types: should know some basic file extensions, such as .doc .jpg, .gif .xls .tif .txt and what they mean
    Should know how to save a document in different file formats
    Should know basic word processor formatting: page and section breaks, page numbering, headers and footers

Internet literacy:

    Basic search techniques – the use of quotation marks, Boolean operators
    Should know how to read a URL
    Should know how to validate a website and assess it for reliability (whois, wayback machine, external links, domain extensions
    should have an understanding of copyright and the concept of fair use
    Safety and Privacy:
    should understand that content published to the web is not private and survives forever
    should have basic training in recognizing and avoiding cyber bullying, trolls and predation
    Should know the concepts of basic HTML code, enough to recognize it anyhow
    Should know how to view the source code of any web site (this can also yield clues to the site’s validity)
    Should know the strengths and weaknesses of blogs, wikis and other “2.0” tools
    Should know how to format graphics for the web – understanding of graphic file formats and file size

Doesn’t seem like a lot does it? Yet many, if not most, of our students don’t know these things.

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