In the Trenches of Digital Literacy

I am not someone who is unfamiliar with technology, nor do I shy away from anything new or, as my retired mother likes to call it, “fancy.”  Like many people in our technology-forward society, I own all the standard toys, including a laptop, an iPadiPhone, and a Digital Box (AppleTV) for my television.  As someone well trained in technology, I’ve gained the ability to utilize each of my devices for work, play and academic pursuits; and I’ve come to understand that this ability is not always present in others, especially students.  Using technology for more than its social use doesn’t come easily to students, and it is up to us as teachers to help them find ways to see beyond what they’ve typically used technology for in the past.
This past week I had the privilege of attending Will Richardson at the Langley Events Centre, where those in attendance had the opportunity to flush out key roadblocks that we are or will face in the future of education.  For those of you who don’t know, Will Richardson is an educator from the U.S. who has spent a good portion of his career writing and sharing about the connection between social learning networks and education.  From books to TED Talks, Will has made it his mission to help guide educators towards the future.  From Friday’s Pro-D, I left with a number of key takeaways, including:

  • Kids have passion, can find purpose and want to participate within this new realm of technology and networks but need access.  As their teachers, we need to get them that access.
  • Our roles in education have changed as traditional education is overturned by modern education, where learning becomes “discovery” over “delivery” and “just in time” instead of “just in case.”
  • The “one path” to the future approach is no long relevant, and if you are still preparing students for one path, you aren’t preparing them.


Overall, the entire session took us into discussions surrounding “what’s next,” not only for our classroom, but also for our schools and for the future of education.  It really fits into the idea that the future of education is going to include some aspects and devices that our students are already familiar with; yet it will be us as teachers who guide them.  It can be noted that in BC and Alberta, we are lucky to be on our way to seeing changes to education that embrace modern learning—to an extent—and so it’s left in our hands to decide whether or not the “status quo” is to be over-turned.  My challenge for you this week is to take a look at some vision documents from BC and Alberta, and think about how that vision can practically translate into something different in your own classroom.
*this post was original published at the Digital Literacy Coaches’ blog, located at: