Digital literacy across the curriculum

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This handbook is aimed at educational practitioners and school leaders in both primary and secondary schools who are interested in creative and critical uses of technology in the classroom.

Although there is increasing policy and research attention paid to issues related to digital literacy, there is still relatively little information about how to put this into practice in the classroom. There is even less guidance on how teachers might combine a commitment to digital literacy with the needs of their own subject teaching. How can digital literacy be fostered, for example, in a maths or science lesson?

This handbook aims to introduce educational practitioners to the concepts and contexts of digital literacy and to support them in developing their own practice aimed at fostering the components of digital literacy in classroom subject teaching and in real school settings.

The handbook is not a comprehensive ‘how to’ guide; it provides instead a rationale, some possible strategies and some practical examples for schools to draw on. The first section details the reasons teachers should be interested in digital literacy and how it is relevant to their subject teaching. It looks at the increasing role of technology in young people’s cultures, the support they may need to benefit from their engagement with technology and the way in which digital literacy can contribute to the development of subject knowledge. The second section discusses digital literacy in practice and moves through a number of components of digital literacy discussing how these might be fostered in the classroom.

The handbook ends by looking at issues related to continuing professional development for teachers and the ways in which digital literacy can support whole-school initiatives.

It is teachers that are expert in their own school context, in the needs of their students and in the pedagogical techniques required to support learning. This handbook has been informed by the work of fourteen teachers who are interested in how technology is used in classroom teaching and who took part in Futurelab’s digital participation project. Rather than being prescriptive, it aims to provide information which will help teachers to make the best use of their own expertise to support students’ emerging digital literacy.