I wanted to drop in a quick plug for familiarizing ourselves with the Mozilla Web Literacy Standards and 21st Century Skills. Though edtechies have lots of great tools that are focused on education, it’s also good to have a more fundamental understanding of basic web skills. These are skills and abilities that all web citizens — students and teachers alike — would do well to cultivate. Since we do all our teaching and learning on the web, we should understand the medium we work in, deeply.
As you think out how to add technology to your course, don’t just think about your narrow lesson objectives, but about the tools that students will get enduring benefits from knowing how to use, long after they’ve left your class. If they never get another chance to use technology in their learning, what would you like them to walk out of your course being able to do?
The Web Literacy Map is made up of three strands. Each strand has a number of competencies, which are further sub-divided into skills:
You’ll find that these three strands represent broad competencies rather than specific tools to master. You could meet one of these standards using a wide variety of tools, but the standards provide a sense of direction for web practices that promote empowerment, openness, inquiry, and effective lifelong learning.
I notice that edtechies tend to gravitate towards various free tools without clear criteria for why or how to use one over another. At worst, we can end up finding shiny new ways to reproduce outdated, ineffective teaching practices. By stepping back and looking at our use of technology in education as a lifelong process of supporting core inquiry tasks, we can make better decisions about which tools and activities to include.
This can also serve as a lifelong learning plan for you, dear connected educator, to help you decide which web tools you’re going to commit your valuable time and energy to mastering. It might help you stop app smashing and choose a few tools that you and your students can spend time developing deep skills in.
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