Digital skills represent the “roots” of our digital tree and are a pre-requisite for a successful and rewarding online experience. Your students will need these skills, as well as a broad digital competence, to develop awareness and take ownership of their language learning process, engage in meaningful social and collaborative activities and assess their progress. As a teacher, you also need digital skills to select and appraise digital resources, organise and manage collaborative project-based models and support learning.
We use the metaphor of a gearwheel to explain how digital skills combine to shape our digital competence and how they impact online teaching and learning.
The gearwheel is made up of two interconnected wheels, one for digital resources and another one for digital technologies. They need to rotate in harmony and activate each other in a circular movement. When understanding and use of both digital resources and technologies progress side by side, the gearwheel moves smoothly, indicating that digital skills are being effectively employed in online teaching and learning.
Each hotspot on the gearwheel describes the levels of digital proficiency, from A1 (basic) to C2 (highly proficient). Reflect on what you feel your level of digital proficiency is and consider if and how to improve it. Also, consider your students’ digital proficiency, if they are a homogeneous group or have different levels and if/how that can impact your teaching.
Click/tap on the interactive elements to explore the two wheels and find out more about digital resources and digital technologies.
If you would like to know more about digital skills and digital competences, Maha Bali, Associate Professor of Practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, has written a very clear and informative post on the subject.
(Full article: M. Bali “Knowing the difference between digital skills and digital literacies, and teaching both”. In Literacy Today, January-February 2016).