Wednesday, March 23, 2011

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Digital Literacy a.k.a. English Skills for the Internet

First of all, “a.k.a.” means “Also Known As”. So, for example, my father’s name is Geoffrey a.k.a. Geoff. Or my father’s name is Geoff a.k.a. Dad.

Okay, so I was watching a lecture about useful websites for teachers to use in class with young learners. The lecturer, Nik Peachey, talked about “Digital Literacy”, which means the English reading skills we need to use the Internet.

I immediately thought about all of you. Do you feel that you have the skills needed to use the Internet effectively in English? Did you learn these skills in a classroom, or by yourself? How easy is it for you to use the internet in English?

What do I mean by “effectively”? Well, let’s think of a Google search; “teaching” for example. There are 267 million results! How do you decide what is a useful “hit” and what is useless? (A “hit” is like a result.) It should need only a few seconds to skim read the list of results and decide if any might be useful. Can you do this in English?

If you click on a link and go to a page, you need to look at what the subject of the webpage is and decide if it will be useful. Again, this should only take you a few seconds. Can you do this in English?

These are specific skills to skim read a LOT of different summaries and make a quick decision about what is useful to you and what is not. If you spend a lot of time on websites which don’t have the information you want then you are wasting time and you probably lack some good English digital literacy skills.

If you are reading a big article, like on Wikipedia, then it is important to know which links might give you more important information, and which links will give you more useless information.

We spend so many hours on the internet (probably too many). Nevertheless, this is an important part of English reading in today’s world.

What do you think? As always, I look forward to your opinions.


P.S. Why am I looking at things for teaching young learners? Well, my new position in Argentina is completely with teenagers. I’m not teaching ANY adults at the moment.

1 comment:

  1. Haha! I just did another Google search for "teaching" and now there are 376 million hits! Weird.


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