I am an Internet scholar who believes that technological tools can positively influence the educational process–as a student and as a teacher, I use these tools every day to write, to think, to share, to collaborate, to learn, and to do work. As such, I strongly value the judicious use of educational technology in the classroom and seek to integrate new media/digital media, images, podcasts, videos, and social media into my lessons and assignments when prudent. However, I also know (from experience) just how much technologies have the ability to distract students from the learning process or create an unproductive environment.
One of the skills students must learn is how to use technology efficiently and effectively to complete tasks in everyday life. Gone are the days when individuals can truly separate themselves from technological elements such as the computer, the Web, online platforms, and other digital tools when entering the workforce or participating in civic life. For students in higher ed, this means knowing when (digital) technology is a hindrance on the learning process instead of a help. In my teaching, I call the ability to use digital tools strategically, usefully, and judiciously digital literacy.
Despite the necessity for students to be digitally literate in the academy, in the workforce, and in civic life, I find that they are often left to their own devices for how to best use these digital tools. As a result, I have created what I call “Scholar Hacks” for integrating technological tools into the classroom in a way that promotes digital literacy in the classroom and outside of it. In the following “Scholar Hacks,” I suggest methods/tips/tricks for students operating in the digital age with an eye to the apps, platforms, and tools both digital and non-that have worked for myself and/or others.