Teaching Social Media and Digital Literacy Skills
“Digital literacy and Social Media engagement are two of the most important
things we can teach our kids in this digital age.” “It involves critical and higher order
thinking, content curation, self-image and interaction with others on a digital and
personal level.” William Jackson, Edward Waters College
Preparing for the “real world” means taking opportunities of learning
and engagement from parents, educators, experts in careers that students
are interested in. Success cannot be obtained just by high academic levels,
there needs to be networking, mentors, participation in diverse learning
Today’s 21st century learning has more done outside of the classrooms of
this nation’s schools. Readiness is being defined as more than being academic
successful, it involves networking, volunteering, being engaged online and offline.
College and career readiness means having the skills necessary to succeed
outside of the classroom and away from the guidance of parents and family
members. In the 21st century new skills in literacies are developing that are
critical in preparing for the “real” world.
Digital literacy; a skill set that is reshaping how universities and
employers view applicants, new hires, class curricula and business
structures. Communication is multi-platform and diversely dimensional in
applying skills ranging in verbal, written, Social Media and multimedia elements.
Talking to students at workshops, seminars, conferences and libraries
like the Melrose Technology, Innovation, Creativity Center, Social Media
has a significant impact on students’ college and career plans. Admissions
officers of 500 of the top colleges and universities in the United States
says they have Googled prospective students, looking up applicants on
Facebook. The problem is that a high percentage, over 40% said they found
something that negatively impacted an applicant’s admission. Employers are
digging into their employees backgrounds on Social Media, CareerBuilder has
found that 51 percent of employers who research prospective employees on
Social Media found information that negatively impacted the hiring process.
The need is growing that students need Social Media and Digital Literacy
instruction on how not to commit “Social Media Suicide” (blog coming soon),
damaging careers even before they start and when they are working to keep
off their employer’s digital radar for possible termination or scrutiny in their
The importance of Digital literacy, is seen as educators across the nation
are incorporating Social Media training in their classroom and inviting speakers
like myself to teach Social Media Literacy skills as a necessary literacy component
for students to be college and career ready that goes along with academics. The
elements of STEM, STEAM, STREAM, CSTEAM, and other links to hands on
learning are showing that learning cannot be the traditional teacher focused, but
must have a transitional course of student focused and interactive. Differential
Instruction (DI) has a new meaning and application in the 21st century classroom.
Speaking at the Melrose Center in Orlando, Florida a growing hub of technology
innovation, there are more girls and women attending than boys and men. The
shifting of genders in careers is also seen in all tech careers and disciplines.
Exposure, engagement, mentoring, role models and even professional development
for students is growing and in some cases a priority. Integration is a great thing in
cultural understanding and relationships, now it is seen in technology where
students have to be able to work with anyone no matter their color, culture, gender
or lifestyle. Social Media literacy is creating a positive digital footprint everywhere.