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International Literacy Day: Integrating Technology and Literacy

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M Ahmad
The ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts is termed as literacy. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society. A literate population can open many doors out of poverty and unemployment. It may even open doors for entrepreneurship. Literacy is the first step towards education. Thus, it is futile to undermine the importance of literacy.
International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8 September every year. It reminds the global community about the importance of literacy for everyone, including individuals, communities, and societies. It also aims to push for more intensified efforts towards more literate societies.
The first International Literacy Day was celebrated in 1967. It began as an initiative to remind the common people about the importance of literacy to ensure dignity and human rights. A more literate society leads towards a more sustainable society. This day draws attention to the fact that there are still millions of people who struggle to gain literacy even today. It is meant to create awareness about the importance of literacy, numeracy, and education. These should also be made accessible to those who need it the most.
Literacy development is a vital part of our child’s overall development. It’s the foundation for doing well at school, socialising with others, problem-solving, making decisions, developing independence, managing money and working. Technology has become a huge part of our everyday lives, and so it’s brought with it a new form of literacy. Digital literacy involves the ability to use technology effectively and for a purpose. It gives us a whole new way to communicate and discover new information. Using technology also means we have to evaluate what we see more than ever. Anyone can post anything to the Internet, so an important part of digital literacy is being able to evaluate what we see and decide the trustworthiness of sources. Using technology in the classroom, active learning and creating to encourage digital literacy learning at a young age will help students understand how to be productive in the digital world, both in the classroom and beyond.
Technology literacy combats unsafe and irresponsible usage of technology, and creates an effective environment for using tech. The term is tied in with digital literacy, which is the ability to understand and effectively use digital information. Technology literacy is relevant to all forms of technology, including computers, smartphones and tablets.
Digital literacy is now a fundamental component of literacy learning, from teaching reading comprehension to writing and communication. Creative teachers in any field who incorporate literacy education through the use of digital technologies, combined with critical evaluation, can help their students navigate the digital world. Rapid penetration of information technologies in almost all spheres of our life, including education, and the fact that most ordinary users received unlimited access to the Internet, has led to a rapid rise of the information volume or information explosion and massive changes in the way of communication between people in all spheres and also to forming the information society as one of the leading contemporary social processes.
Such changes in socio-economic conditions modified the socio-psychological and psycho-pedagogical portrait of the students, the nature of their participation in educational, professional and social life, as well as the methods of teaching the humanities, computer and natural sciences. The basis of modern educational paradigm are such theoretical concepts as digital literacies, distance learning technologies, information and communication technologies, internet resources, multimedia electronic textbooks, online courses, social networks, Internet resources, individualization and differentiation of learning activities, Personal Learning Network, etc
Digital literacies take various forms in educational settings. They can be used both to support traditional literacies and to introduce new forms in the classroom. The interactive nature of technology makes it customizable for students. There are electronic books and other literacy apps that change pace and reading level depending on student response. Students can use laptops and tablets with internet connection for digital books, email for discussion, smart class rooms for pictorial understanding as means of new gadgets. Another important aspect of the growth of digital literacy has been the greater value given to multimodal forms of literacy, which allow students to remix various media.
In preparing students to be productive, literate citizens, teachers must use technology to adequately prepare students. Literacy development no longer relies solely on reading and writing skills. People must be literate in technology as well. So combining the two, literacy development and technology, makes good educational sense. When teachers use technology to help students create, the students learn how to be productive, literate people. This kind of technological literacy development is student-driven, which can be very motivational. Students can go into apps that help them wonder, plan, gather, create, and share.
Literacy development that includes technology can take various forms in educational settings. It can both support traditional literacies and introduce new forms in the classroom. Technology can help students discuss their ideas by bringing readers and writers together in the same classroom, and it can help students work together at different times through google documents and blogging. Technology is the bridge to creating a new form of education where the borders are undefined.
Emerging technologies are shaping the future of the education system. Fortunately for modern learners, new useful tools appear every day. Various devices and software facilitate the studying process and help students to master essential skills faster than ever before. Particularly, the latest technologies help to improve the literacy skills of adults. Moreover, modern adult learners have access to word processing tools, which help improve writing skills and facilitate the editing process. Specialized software helps to define and correct common grammar mistakes. Technologies allow adults to feel more confident in writing—people overcome a fear of making errors and, consequently, advance in mastering literacy skills.
The latest technology allows adult learners to communicate online with each other. Today, students use the virtual learning environment and can participate in virtual meetings by sharing textual messages, jointly editing one text file, reviewing classmates’ work, etc. Technology empowers teachers to develop creative and interactive classrooms and gives them access to innovative resources. Effective educators understand the benefits of integrating technology in the classroom and finding new ways to make lessons meaningful.
Educators can keep the learning environment interesting and maximize efficiency by using smartboards in the classroom. A smartboard can make lessons more engaging and can make it easier for students to return to the notes when class is over. Additionally, these devices can support a variety of subject-specific learning apps. Technology helps ensure that both teachers and students can easily access class materials anytime with lessons synced to the cloud, supporting videos and graphics uploaded to Google Classroom, and upcoming assignments displayed on a shared calendar.
Student engagement increased by 55% after the introduction of smart technology into classrooms and with technology on hand, teachers can illustrate ideas using interactive media. Whether building collaborative wiki pages with class notes or playing educational games on tablets, students can engage interactively through technology.
We are living in a world where technology is more prominent than ever, and whilst technology brings a wealth of information and benefits, yet it’s crucial to be able to use this technology safely and effectively.
Technology empowers teachers to develop creative and interactive classrooms and gives them access to innovative resources. Effective educators understand the benefits of integrating technology in the classroom and finding new ways to make lessons meaningful. Technology can be utilized in the classroom to improve literacy development through unique engagement with materials.
(The author is a regular writer for this newspaper. He can be reached at specialachivers78@gmail.com)

 


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