Chapter 1: Transitioning Toward Digital Literacy

1.3 Finding Purpose


There’s always something to learn.  Recently my daughter was watching me snap another one of the endless pictures I take with my phone.  When something catches my attention, a flower, a sign, a place, a moment, I snap a picture with my phone.  Sometimes the pictures become possibilities for writing.  Watching me, “You should really be on Instagram,” she said matter-of-factly.  A new social media network was really the last thing I needed anyway as I was already busy keeping up with Twitter and Facebook; I didn’t need one more place to have to check each day.  “You would like it,” she said.  “You share pictures and there isn’t all the junk you have in your feed on Facebook.”  She had a point.  I did love to take pictures.  I did love to share images.  I had other friends who had tried to push me into the Instagram world.  Perhaps it was time.

1_3_InstagramI’ve learned that recommended applications are often worth checking out.  It’s easy to delete them or stop using them if they don’t work for me.  Knowing she might be right I downloaded Instagram though I wasn’t overly excited about it.  How would Instagram be different from other social media networks for me? I downloaded the application and had to start figuring out the way it worked.  I followed a few friends. I watched the way they posted.  I started trying to figure out how to share.  How do I post?  Where is the edit button?  What do all of these additional buttons do?  How do I find other friends to follow?  Once my picture is ready, where do I add the writing?  I felt like I was starting over.  It’s a feeling I’ve come to recognize in becoming digital.  There’s this idea to try something new; then the challenge of trying to figure out.  It’s easy to want to quit, but if I stay with it I’ve learned the reward is worth it.  

Just like anything we learn, I’ve come to understand digital literacy in small steps.  If you are a piano player, a tennis player, a golfer, someone who sews, a cook, a gardener, or have other interests and hobbies, you have learned what you know in steps.  You began with the basics.  You probably started in small steps with some purpose behind your work.  You searched for experts to tell you more.  You read books.  You experimented.  You tried and you may have failed, but you kept building on what you know because you had reason behind your work.  Working digitally I’ve tried to find the places that work for me.  

The same has been true for my first steps in digital learning.  My first steps in digital literacy were probably about seeking information and finding purposeful use.  Where is that new pizza place?  How do I get to the bookstore?  What is there to do when we’re in Hilton Head?  What are the best tomatoes for canning?  It wasn’t long until I found myself on social media networks.  In the beginning days I found myself just reading what others had shared.  I paid attention to the style of their posts/tweets, considered content, and tried to figure out how the network worked.  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media networks work differently.  In those first days, once I got a sense of the network, I began to try to participate.  I looked for spaces to help me purposefully work.

Spaces To Create

Finding the Right Space

Twitter Logo

I use Twitter professionally.  Reading blogs and following Twitter hashtags gives me new ways to learn.
Instagram logo

I use Instagram to share short poetry and images.
Facebook Logo

Facebook is a bit more personal.
Pinterest logo

Pinterest helps me keep track of important events and organize them into categories.
Shelfari logo

Shelfari lets me keep track of the books I’ve read or want to read.
TED Talks logo

Watching TED Talks and participating in virtual rooms allows me to learn in ways I never thought possible.
MOOC logo

Joining MOOCs introduced me to new people and ideas.

There are so many ways to create using digital tools that change images, organize video around a message, or allow use of text. Having a blog and social media spaces gives me space to save and share these creations.



Launching Digital Writing in the Elementary Classroom Copyright © by Edited by Julie Johnson and Johnson, Julie. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book