The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) defines digital literacy as “the ability of individuals and communities to understand and use digital technologies for meaningful actions within life situations.” With the pandemic hastening the pace at which digital technology is being adopted across sectors, students need to know to use it safely and effectively. Many youngsters use a range of technological tools, but this does not mean that they use the same tools for learning. Here are a few ways in which students can be taught about digital literacy:
Promote critical thinking for online content: The Internet is a vast resource with all kinds of information, all of which students have easy access to. Therefore, they are more vulnerable to fake news and misinformation. Encourage students to ask questions and finalise answers after comparing information from multiple sources.
Social media for learning: Most students are active on social media and adept at using it. They must be made aware that platforms like Twitter can be used to conduct research polls and Facebook and LinkedIn can be used to connect with peers.
Avoiding plagiarism: Students often cite a quote or a paragraph without giving due credit to the original work. They need to be taught the correct way to use citations, quotes and support their answers by attributing information to the original author.
Teach Internet safety: With personal or sensitive information being stolen, students should know the necessity of having a strong password, what to do while using a public network, what phishing is, and more. Internet theft is a serious issue and digital literacy can help counter it.
Effective use of search engines: Students need to be taught how to get results that are relevant to their queries. Techniques like using “OR” between two search queries can combine results. A “related” in front of a web address can help get other similar sites.
Managing digital distractions: Constantly being around digital tools can make a person feel distant and drained. Digital literacy can help students learn distraction-management techniques such as taking multiple breaks and muting notifications while studying.
All this should be taught through real-life examples to make it more effective and to help students through their academic and professional lives.
The writer is the CEO and Co-Founder of CollegeDekho