Education Matters

Why digital literacy is important in education

Posted by Trinity Grammar School on Jul 4, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Why digital literacy is important in educationDigital literacy is the ability to use digital technologies to research, create and complete tasks. It can also be used for entertainment, connecting with other people and keeping informed. Digital literacy is important in education to ensure children have the skills and knowledge to perform basic tasks for living in a digital society, and to be equipped with a digital foundation that prepares them for tertiary education and the workforce of the future.

As parents, some of us may have witnessed the introduction of digital technology, and are therefore referred to as ‘digital immigrants.’ Our children, however, are referred to as ‘digital natives’ as they have been born into a digital environment and don’t know a world without it.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the requisite knowledge to use digital technology to its full advantage or that today’s children will have the required digital skills for jobs of the future.

Cited in the Foundation for Young Australians’ The New Work Order, there are four bands of digital skills required for the workforce:

  • Digital muggle: no digital skills required.
  • Digital citizen: uses technology to communicate, find information and transact.
  • Digital worker: configures and uses digital systems.
  • Digital maker: builds digital technology.

According to Macquarie University digital literacy teaches students:

  • social engagement
  • skills and competencies that promote critical thinking
  • how to judge information for reliability and significance.

According to the Foundation for Young Australians, 90 percent of the workforce will require at least basic computer skills, such as using email or company software and over 50 percent will need to be able to use, configure and build digital systems in the next two to three years.

The Australian Government has ensured that digital literacy is a focus in schools. Digital literacy in education is built into all areas of learning rather than being taught as a standalone subject. School children in Australia are taught to: converse online with teachers and peers through class chatrooms; create projects in PowerPoint using the internet to research and filter information on their chosen topic; touch-type through online programmes; practise mathematics and literacy skills through games and activities; create artworks and so much more. 

Students use a wide range of technologies and are encouraged to think critically as they: research, look for solutions, develop creative thoughts and works, and collaborate with their classmates. Technology is constantly changing and developing which means students are constantly learning. This teaches them to embrace new things rather than be intimidated by them.

Digital technology however does not come without its challenges. Recent research by Australian author David Gillespie in his book Teen Brain suggests that screens and screen addiction could be responsible for making our teenagers depressed, anxious and prone to addictive illnesses. Parents are cautioned to monitor their children’s digital media use and promote healthy habits.

Things that you can do to support your child’s literacy skills include:

  • Talking about the dangers of the internet including impacts of digital footprints, privacy settings, passwords, and social platforms.
  • Monitoring screen time. Read our strategies for limiting screen time blog.
  • Know what your child is doing online and the sites that are accessed.
  • Use digital technology together and model responsible use of screens.
  • Play online games together.

Learn more about cybersafety and raising boys to be smart and safe online, or visit the Australian Government’s e-safety website which has many useful resources for parents.

Embracing digital literacy and technology, Trinity Grammar School actively promotes cyber safety through its dedicated annual Safer Internet Week.  Although this event is staged once per year, the never-ending task of growing our boys to become digitally fluent global citizens continues throughout the year. Trinity is proud to be an eSmart school, an initiative of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, that uses a cultural change approach to improve cyber safety and reduce cyber bullying.

Fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, we aim to know, understand and nurture each student to help him realise his potential, passion and purpose in life, ensuring that every Trinity boy is challenged, inspired and guided to become a successful, compassionate, internationally-minded man.

To learn more about the Trinity difference and to discover why we’re one of Australia’s leading schools for boys, download our prospectus.

Trinity prospectus download

Topics: Cybersafety, Technology, Education