To build digital literacy skills, students are asked to create, critique, analyze, and evaluate various forms of media. This includes solving problems collaboratively and cross-culturally, designing and sharing with global communities, and learning about ethical responsibilities in complex environments. Digital literacy is not only about gaining proficiency with tech tools but learning to navigate and exist in virtual environments.
In preparation for college (and to enter the global job market) educators are infusing their curriculum with tasks that help students build digital literacy skills. The 5Cs: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication, Community, and Collaboration guide these efforts. Creating digital stories is an assignment that brings together the 5Cs.
In a strategic brief about digital literacy in higher education shared by the New Media Consortium, digital literacy is defined as; “Digital Literacy transcends the basic operation of using a technology. In this understanding, learners must be able to combine those skills with reflection, imagination, and awareness of their implications in order to perform a task or produce an object that would otherwise not be possible without technology.”
Students build digital literacy skills through digital storytelling by learning to use tech tools to explain, communicate and imagine or re-imagine how their ideas can shape scholarship.
Below are three types of digital literacies as identified by the NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief (August 2017) that can shape potential curriculum for creative educators looking to expand their pedagogies.
Universal Literacy: A familiarity with using basic digital tools such as office productivity software, image manipulation, cloud-based apps and content, and web content authoring tools.
Creative Literacy: Includes all aspects of universal literacy and adds more challenging technical skills that lead to the production of richer content, including video editing, audio creation and editing, animation, and understanding of computational device hardware, and programming–along with digital citizenship and copyright knowledge.
Literacy Across Disciplines: Diffused throughout the different classes in appropriate ways that are unique to each learning context, e.g. sociology courses can teach interpersonal actions online, such as the ethics and politics of social network interaction, while psychology and business classes can focus o computer-mediated human interaction.