Models and Instruments for Assessing Digital Readiness and Competence
You may be extremely comfortable using technology, but that does not mean your students or fellow teachers are as tech-savvy as you. As digital technology becomes part of our everyday lives and embeds itself into the classroom (and the curriculum), it is imperative that our school community has digital readiness and competence.
What is Digital Readiness and Competence and Why It Is Important
Digital readiness is simply the ability to use digital tools with ease. In other words, digital readiness refers to how “ready” or how comfortable an individual is with digital technology. Along the same lines, digital competence refers to “the confident and critical usage of the full range of digital technologies for information, communication and basic problem-solving in all aspects of life.”
It can be easy to assume that most people are comfortable with using digital technology, but, unfortunately, this is untrue. In fact, Pew Research Center did a study where they assessed Americans by dividing digital readiness into five sections: the unprepared, traditional learners, the reluctant, the cautious clickers, and the digitally ready. According to their assessment, more people are hesitant than more prepared when it comes to using digital tools with only 17% being digitally ready.
Assessing Digital Readiness for Schools
When it comes to schools, educators are already aware of digital learning gaps that are dependent on socioeconomic factors. However, another determination of digital readiness and competency comes from the digital education students gain at school. Therefore, it is important for schools to assess their faculty and classrooms for digital readiness. Schools can use the Digital Learning Readiness Guide to see if you are on your way to becoming a Future Ready School, which assesses the following:
- Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
- Use of Time
- Technology, Networks, and Hardware
- Data and Privacy
- Community Partnerships
- Professional Learning
- Budget and Resources
The detailed assessment also includes clear rubrics for scoring district’s digital learning readiness. Schools cannot expect students to have digital learning skills if the school district is not training teachers and providing technology tools.
Using the Digital Competency Profiler
Also, with the growth of online education at the university level, it is also important to determine whether students and professors are digitally competent since the majority of work in these environments is done online. Therefore, researchers have designed the Digital Competency Profiler to “assess their digital competencies in an easily accessible, efficient, and timely fashion.” The profiler assessment uses a questionnaire to see how comfortable the user is with various computer-based technologies.