Digital literacy: Need of the Hour
By: Bisma Farooq Sheikh
We live in a digital world and using technology is no longer a choice or luxury but a necessity. It is imperative to be digitally literate to thrive in a digital world. Digital literacy is the ability to access technology independently in an efficient, effective, creative and secure manner. But many of us just know how to navigate the google while we are not tech savvy; we don’t know how to exploit various apps and software’s.
Many students struggle while sharing presentations on online apps like zoom, google meet etc. They don’t know how to record lectures in zoom cloud and many of us don’t know how to make multimedia presentations using apps like prezzi etc. Many teachers struggle to make online classes interactive and engaging as they don’t know how to captivate on various features.
Neither students nor teachers can be blamed as digital literacy is a skill and it needs to be imparted via proper training through workshops and hands on equipment training should be given by professionals. Technology is like a dense forest and digital literacy is a guide without which we may go astray and waste our time besides falling prey to malwares and pirated sites which can steal our data. For every query we google; we receive thousands and lakhs of search results and to make a right choice is a challenge for students as many don’t know how to differentiate important and unimportant information and how to filter out authentic and quality resources from inauthentic sources.
Many of us, till our higher education level, don’t know about quality knowledge bases like Wiley, Sage, Science Direct, Elsevier, Pub Med, Jstor, Taylor & francis etc which provide us quality knowledge. Many of us spend hours online for surfing right kind of information but miss important information as we don’t know how to do smart work. Teachers have the responsibility to teach students about quality web resources.
We, as students, many times intentionally or unintentionally copy information from internet and use it in our assignments without knowing that it is unethical and sheer plagiarism. Teachers should teach students about it from the beginning so that they know its consequences and save themselves from this offence. They should be taught how to use information from net and importance of acknowledging and quoting the sources.
One of the main aspect of digital literacy is netiquettes- it is knowing how to behave as responsible and decent netizens. It is very unfortunate to say that many people have poor netiquettes. There are many students who don’t respect the decorum of online classrooms and attend online classes in markets and in noisy environs and disturb the whole class. Recently a video got viral where some students turned the music on while teacher was delivering lecture and shared it on social media. Such students need to realise the worth and dignity of teacher. Likewise some students don’t know how and when to text a teacher and use informal language. They contact teachers in late hours without realizing that teachers also have personal life and other responsibilities and thus can’t be available to them 24*7.
Humor is a part of healthy teaching and classroom is a family; if a teacher cracks a joke in class it doesn’t mean students will record it and share it on social networks out of context and make fun of their teachers. They should refrain from such acts and decent and educated members should never like and support such acts. It has also been seen that few miscreants take contact numbers of female classmates from class whatsapp groups and share them with their friends. Such acts are unethical and liable to legal action, we must know.
Every human deserves respect. There are some people who in the name of humor humiliate others and roast others without taking into consideration its consequences on emotional and psychological health of target person. Fun is made of languages and pronunciations as well as renditions and slangs used in videos which is very unfortunate. Equally unfortunate is the fact that people go on liking and subscribing such indecent channels. Humor should be healthy not be disrespectful which breeds hatred and causes emotional pain. It is my request to young youtubers to respect the decorum of Kashmiri language and show some sensible attitude and stop using malicious content.
It is also a fact that we are so inundated by information that our attention span has become very small. Don’t let google make us stupid and let it not control our thought processes. Don’t believe everything you watch or read on Google as it is not a divine revelation and we must use our minds and our critical thinking and creativity to sort things out before passing them on as ‘authentic’ and ‘truth’.