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Issue 1

September 27th, 2019

NC enforces digital literacy as state-wide initiative 

WED. | 03-17-21 | NEWS

SAT. | 10-10-20 | NEWS

     In a state-wide initiative for students to improve their digital skills, Rose social studies teachers have implemented a new unit of work into their courses called digital literacy. The current courses providing this additional unit are Word History, Civics and Economics and U.S. History. It is taught to students in a module in Canvas that includes six short lessons that focus on digital literacy. According to Cornell University, digital literacy is “the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet.” 

     “We heard about it at the beginning of the school year, but learned more about it as the fall semester went on,” social studies teacher Clay Medlin said. “We also had a training on it a few weeks ago about how to implement it in our canvas courses.”

     With the knowledge in mind that students would be doing most of their work through web based programs this year, Pitt County Schools (PCS) asked educators to support this new unit in two different ways. The first was through the device care modules completed at the beginning of the school year, while the other is this digital citizenship instruction, which is currently being worked on. 

Graphic by Ashley Van Havere

     “Some of [these modules] have videos or a short reading and questions to answer,”  instructional coach Michael Flinchbaugh said. “The idea is to help students think about how to be a good digital citizen by protecting their digital identities and behaving legally and ethically online.”

     North Carolina has adopted standards from the International Society for Technology in Education, which require educators to assist students in developing important skills for functioning in the digital world before they graduate. 

     “In the past, we have embedded lesson[s] into instruction or assigned them through advisory, but...assigning a series of modules through social studies classes should prove to be more effective and more consistent,” Flinchbaugh said. “It's difficult to find a good place to add more content to what students are already doing.”

     Students can easily find information on the Internet, but an important component of digital literacy is the ability to evaluate that information. 

     “Reading and civic engagement are two skills all students need to be successful in the future,” Medlin said.

     Students will now be taught how to find information through reliable sources, and rule out sources that give out false information. According to the Edvocate website, teaching digital literacy allows students “to find author information, dates of publication, and other information,” that shows which sources are reliable and credible. 

     This new unit is currently only a social studies addition and there is no plan for whether or not it will be taught in other courses or departments at Rose. 

     “It will most likely continue in the future, however we never know what the state will do with mandated curriculums from year to year,” Medlin said.

     This new unit of digital literacy allows students to be provided with the opportunity to practice securing their digital identity and behaving morally and ethically online, which are skills they can take with them throughout life. 

smaller digital literacy graphic.png
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