Skip Navigation

Faith & Learning Blog

Back

The Tech Catapult: Digital Literacy

December 13, 2016
By Mark Steenstra

Welcome to the the Tech Catapult, designed to catapult you into the technology age in Crusader fashion!

Calvin recently changed the name of its “Computers” course to “Digital Literacy”. Although the course still teaches practical digital skills such as word processing, presentations, spreadsheets and email, it also includes units on Digital Citizenship, Social Media and Internet Research. The later are proving to be very important  in a world permeated by digital media.

A recent Stanford University study of 7,804 students concludes that “Overall, young people’s ability to reason about the information on the Internet can be summed up in one word: bleak” (link). The Wall Street Journal goes on to explain “Some 82% of middle-schoolers couldn’t distinguish between an ad labeled ‘sponsored content’ and a real news story on a website” (link). This is part of what Calvin Christian School is trying to remedy through its Digital Literacy class. Students are taught to evaluate digital media with skepticism, investigate the source, and validate important information using multiple, and significantly different, websites.

Many parents have the misconception that because their children are digital natives and spend many hours consuming digital media, they are also digitally literate. The research cited above shows that is far from the truth. Calvin Christian School, in cooperation with the home and church, is teaching digital literacy to its students. Let’s stay the course!

Further reading/viewing:

Wall Street Journal's Blue Feed, Red Fed website shows how news accessed over social media can lead to a biassed perspective.

The Challenges of Raising a Digital Native | Devorah Heitner, Ph.D., a tried and true TEDx Talk, is a good starting point for parents that want to be more effective in guiding the digital lives of their children.

Stay tuned for another Tech Catapult blog in a few more weeks.