Recently, we premiered our digital lesson on the Boston Massacre at the ISTE and ILA conferences. The lesson was a big hit. It inspired many discussions with technology coordinators and educators on what makes a lesson good for digital literacy. The table below summarizes what we learned, and the video that follows gives concrete examples of how the 5 keys to digital literacy are executed in the Boston Massacre lesson.
|5 Keys to Digital Literacy|
|1||Make sure the lesson has a beginning, a middle, and an end.|
|2||Each interactive should build on the previous one so that students gain practice and automaticity in skills and strategies.|
|3||Processes for working through a digital lesson need to be consistent.|
|4||Cross-curricular activities encourage students to employ skills and strategies from other disciplines in new ways.|
|5||Make sure students are using data, analyzing it, and using 21st-century skills.|
Are We There Yet?
According to a Pew Research Center study, How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms, 92 percent of teachers say the Internet has a major impact on their teaching, and 75 percent say that digital tools have added demands to their lesson planning. More than ever, it is important to choose the right lessons.
Digital lessons offer teachers positive ways to manage their classroom instruction. Using online lessons, students can work independently at their own pace, freeing teachers to work with small groups. Digital lessons that incorporate the 5 keys can build many 21st-century skills, including digital literacy.
We see an urgent need for publishers to execute lessons like the Boston Massacre on a large scale. Students need fresh, inspiring interactives they can immediately connect with, but there also needs to be a balance in which consistency and familiarity reduces the learning curve. The best recipe we have found is up-front planning, where instructional designers collaborate with the editorial and digital solutions teams. The result is something every publisher needs: efficient development of a menu of interactive options that can be executed where they best match the content needs of the curriculum.