Learning to Drive

5/22/2008 By: Kevin Hogan

from Technology & Learning

The more you think about it, the more obvious the analogy becomes: Teaching students to be digitally literate is not that different than driver's ed. After all, kids have been in cars all their lives—let's call them auto natives, to be fancy—but we certainly don't just hand them the keys when they turn 16.

Likewise, we shouldn't expect students to instinctively operate online properly even though they may be digital natives. A quick perusal of MySpace certainly confirms that opinion.

Several stories this month outline how and why it is so important to incorporate technology literacy into your curricula. Former editor-in-chief of Technology & Learning Judy Salpeter breaks down the particulars of what is means to be info literate, from understanding the niceties of online research to the ins and outs of copyright law ("Make Kids Info Literate"). Pam Livingston's feature on the emergence of distance learning technologies ("E-Learning Gets Real") shows how digitally literate faculty use these tools for maximum effect. And last but certainly not least, Amy Poftak profiles T&L Leader of the Year finalist and technology specialist Carol Colburn at Highlander Middle School in Howell, Michigan. Her students worked with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter to create multimedia presentations to solicit donations all the while learning Web development skills.

Does your school have a specified information literacy curriculum? What are your tips on giving students the proper rules for the road online? We get our best stories from sharing your best practices. Send me an e-mail at khogan@nbmedia.com or post a comment on our discussion boards at techlearning.com.

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