The relevance of digital skills for students has never been more visible than it is today.
Technology has permeated almost every aspect of our lives.
There’s no area of human lives where technology doesn’t exert significant influence. From human relations to professional life to whatever field of human endeavor, the ability to use technology well is crucial for modern progress and growth. So we can conclude that technology is the future.
What does this entail?
The answer is simple!
There is a need to expose students who are an essential part of the future to the necessary on-demand digital skills that can make them relevant and help them in their future endeavors.
For this article, I’ll discuss the essential digital skills you need as a student. But, first, let’s look at the meaning of digital skills for students.
What Are Digital Skills for Students?
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines digital skills “as a range of abilities to use digital devices, communication applications, and networks to access and manage information.”
Digital skills for students are, therefore, a set of skills that students need to study and work in our fast and ever-evolving digital world.
We all can agree on this one thing.
Our workplace environments are changing, and modern and more sophisticated technologies are replacing existing ones at a rapid rate.
As a result, education providers must provide students with the right digital skillset, which will enable them to navigate through the ever-evolving digital environment with a feeling of confidence. This digital skillset will be crucial for their future career and relationships.
Why Students Need Digital Skills
In specific terms, students need digital skills for the following reasons:
- To Support Long-standing skills
In a world where the technology you use today may become obsolete at any time, a digitally ready student can evolve with the ever-evolving world of technology with so much ease. For example, a simple digital skill like application or operation skill can help a student function in other more advanced technologies.
- For Academic Improved Academic Performance
Technology is fast taking over the conventional methods of teaching in various classrooms. And most technology-based learning makes use of the do-it-yourself approach.
So, when students make presentations, do assignments, and create charts using technology, it increases their understanding and retention ability. By so doing, their academic performance improves since they can now communicate their discoveries, ideas, and arguments in more novel manners.
- For Increased Online Security
Young people are adventurous and exuberant. For this reason, they tend to try out new things. And in the process of trying out new things online, they may go overboard, thereby exposing themselves to cyber dangers. But with adequate digital information, tools, and resources, they can sufficiently protect themselves against online security threats.
Stay with me.
- To Stand out in the Job Market
Digital skills for students make students stand out from their competitions. Digitally-conscious students can confidently walk into the venue for an interview, flaunting their digital communication skills and showing their readiness to learn and use new digital skills.
They possess the creative mindset that companies seek in employees.
- To Foster Creativity
Teaching digital skills to students fosters creativity.
When Schools teach students digital skills, they develop more critical thinking abilities, become more creative, and learn more captivating ways to present their ideas.
Done with why digital skills for students are essential for their academic and future development, it’s time to discuss the digital skills and capacities that students should have.
Let’s get straight in!
10 Digital Skills Every Student Should Have
1. Application & Operation Skills
These skills ensure students develop proficiency in the use of simple technological devices. For instance, students should be able to show knowledge of the parts of a computer and dexterity in using input devices like mouse and keyboard to perform simple computing functions.
2. Collection & Organisation Skill
Collection and Organisation skills deal with students’ ability to use productivity tools like spreadsheets, word processors, and other digital tools to collect, organize and present data to make it easier for users to understand.
3. Critical Thinking Skill
Digital computation skills help students develop critical thinking abilities and make informed decisions. Students can understand that there can be many solutions to a problem and that they can use or adjust a solution for similar assignments.
What this means is that students should be able to:
Determine what is known and what they need to know regarding a problem. Also, learners should be able to develop a problem statement to resolve an issue or complete a task.
Not only that!
A digitally ready student should be able to identify compounded, interdisciplinary, and real-life problems they can solve with simple computation.
Digitally aware learners should demonstrate that solutions to complex problems need collaboration,cross-disciplinary understanding, and collective thinking.
4. Problem-solving skills
What are they?
Problem-solving skills are skillsets that allow for quick and productive solutions to problems. As a skillset, the problem-solving skill requires swift identification of issues and implementation of an effective solution.
Guess how this will be beneficial to students.
Students will be familiar with a problem and the likely cause of another, having the ability to differentiate an interdisciplinary issue from an actual problem while demonstrating the ability to profer solutions.
So, in specific terms, what we are saying is:
With good digital skills, students should demonstrate a character compliant with open-ended problem-solving skills like perseverance, creativity, patience, and adaptability.
Again, they can understand that there might be no one solution to a problem and that solutions can be used or adjusted in solving related problems by utilizing modeling, simulation, creating prototypes, and refining solutions after testing.
5. Online Communication Skill
This skill exposes students to the internet world and its usage. Here, students learn how to use the internet to facilitate communication online.
When students have these digital skills, they’ll be polite and respectful in all their digital communications and describe and practice online social etiquette in their conversations and information sharing in digital space.
They should be able to recognize and describe the possible risks and hazards inherent in online communications. In addition, they’ll learn how to compose, send and organize e-mail messages with or without attachments.
6. Digital Research Skill
Students develop the ability to use online digital skills to engage in educational and other forms of research.
Students with online research skills can discuss the dissimilarities and relationships among search engines and their rankings status. This digital skill also assists in using search strategies to obtain and arrange media and digital content by sourcing information.
Moreso, students can evaluate resources to obtain their validity, accuracy, relevance, and credibility and analyze how researchers can use media and technology to twist, amplify, and fudge data.
Added to this is that students will also be able to recognize the ethical and legal implications of using another person’s intellectual property without acknowledgment.
7. Collaboration skill
Students develop collaboration skills when they possess the ability to use online platforms and tools to work with people in a digital environment. Simply put, the collaboration skills of students ensure that students learn how to work together over the web.
What this entails is that with the right digital skills, students will garner the ability and confidence to:
Spot and protect against the risks and dangers common with online communication and participation in online communities like discussion groups, blogs, and social networking sites.
Again they should be able to create, share, and utilize collaborative workspaces, documents, or other digital tools for collaboration with distant learners.
Lastly, this skill will enable them to reflect on their responsibilities and rights as creators in the online spaces where they consume, create, and share information.
8. Online Safety Skills
Here’s why this is important
Digital skills for student enables students to show the ability to understand the safety and ethical challenges inherent in the online environment.
Specifically, students should be able to
Appreciate online safety mechanisms, and make informed and honest decisions online and in a digital world.
They should be able to understand the essence of communicating and reporting indecorous content and criminal behaviors in a digital society.
That’s not all.
Students should be able to recognize and comprehend the positive and negative consequences of digital technologies and tools and how technology can influence every aspect of societal and human life.
9. Social Media Skills
Social media has proven to be a revolutionary tool for education in educational content delivery and interactions among students and teachers.
With social media, students can share their ideas and content with experts around the globe, who can give constructive feedback, thereby fostering learning.
But that is not all.
Social media advances students networking skills which helps their various collaborative efforts.
10. Coding Skill
The future is fast tilting towards coding, one of the essential skills employers look out for in potential employees.
Coding fosters creativity, problem-solving, and higher-order thinking skills.
Thus, with coding skills, students develop the ability to understand structures, sequential planning, and clearing concepts in maths, science, and other subjects in engineering and technical studies.
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Technology has penetrated our everyday life so much that we barely remember how things used to be before its advent. What existed in our imagination has become our reality.
These days, you can accomplish some enormous tasks at work or home just by clicking a few buttons on your devices. People who were once separated by geographical distance can now hold meetings and transact businesses seamlessly through the magic of the internet.
In education, digital skills have become part and parcel of the education system across the globe. Learning these crucial aspects of the 21st-century technology that are all over us can only benefit the students in their pursuit of knowledge and future career advancement.
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