Educators: A Plea for Auditing your Digital Literacies

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It´s been a while that educational communities talk about digital literacies. This has been a topic of my interest for a decade now. Still, what we see is a group of educators who follow exactly the curve of innovation in which we have the early adopters way ahead, investing in the development of their digital skills, but most who are still lagging behind. Reasons are many. Some feel overwhelmed, others don´t have any idea what is out there, most lack time to even plan on how to get started. Others are simply demotivated with the heavy teaching hours. And, of course, there are those who believe that they can just go on with their teaching style and content that have permeated their classrooms and have worked for decades. So, why the change?

I´m an optimist by heart and truly believe that there´s some light at the end of the tunnel. I´ve seen the ones who were way behind when it comes to educational technology in the classroom and their own digital education find a new spark in their teaching, repurposing their professions and reinventing their own career jorneys through the discovery of a whole new world to teaching and learning. It is not about technology, but what it can promote in terms of connections, new nodes of learning in the network, motivation, enligthment and the pure joy of realizing that teaching is back on its track not by having a routine, or automatizing processes, but by realizing that projects, maker activities, collaborative endeavors bring back the magic for learners and educators.

Though it might seem a naïve and over-trusting view of professional development, I am totally aware of the masses of disillusioned educators. On the other hIMG_6198and, I see those who insist, persist and find themselves on the edge, in between deciding if they are staying or moving, being inert or taking action to change the direction in which teaching is taking them. It always takes effort, though it is easier to find an excuse rather than taking control of your professional destiny and working hard to find fullfilment. To set in motion a new plan for professional development and becoming literate in another field is saying yes to multiple possibilities towards the future. It might seem extrenous in the near future, when, in fact, it gives new meaning to our profession and it is an amazing reminder of why we decided to become an educator in the first place.

If digital literacies are an inexorable track for the professionals in education who want to be the agents of change and joy in education, the other big issue besides the decision to move forward is where to get started.

How about starting by auditing what you already know and have and working on the gaps you need to fill in to be a full-fledged digital educator ready for the challenges of this networked world and to promote a new culture of learning? I want to propose something small, simple that makes you reflect and be willing to take the dive and not so exhaustive in the matter that you give up. Remember, it is just a starting point.

Here´s a quick test with some basic questions that you might want to ask yourself to audit where you are in terms of digital literacies and the topics you might want to explore more in depth:

https://bit.ly/richmonddigitalliteracies 

After you´ve taken the quiz, you´ll automatically receive a document with some resources on digital literacies that will help you get started and consider the main points you want to work on to take the digital leap.

 

 

Carla Arena

Carla Arena is a social entrepreneur, educator by choice. She left a promising career in the public service to become an English teacher and got the chance to take roles she could have never imagined, such as site content manager at the Binational Center she worked for, Casa Thomas Jefferson. There, she was also the Supervisor of Educational Technology, and more recently Coordinator of Innovation and Technologies. Carla is a Google Innovator and educational technology consultant. Currently she innovates in her own business, AMPLIFICA (https://amplifica.org).

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