By Bisma Farooq sheikh
We live in a digital world and using technology is no longer a choice or luxury but a necessity. It is imperative to be digitally literate to thrive in a digital world. Digital literacy is an ability to access technology independently in an efficient, effective, creative and secure manner. But many of us just know how to navigate the google; we are not tech savy; we don’t know how to exploit various apps and softwares. Many students struggle while sharing presentations on online apps like zoom, google meet. They don’t know how to record lectures in zoom cloud. Many of us don’t know how to make multimedia presentations using apps like prezzi etc.Many teachers struggle to make online classes interactive and engaging as they don’t know how to captivate on various features. Neither students nor teachers can be blamed; digital literacy is a skill and it needs to be imparted via proper training through workshops; hands on training should be given to both by professionals; Google is like a dense forest and digital literacy is a guide without which we may go astray; we may waste our time and fall prey to malwares and pirated sites who can steal our data. For every query we google out; we receive thousands and lakhs of search results and to make a right choice is a challenge for students; we don’t know how to differentiate important and unimportant information; how to filter out authentic and quality resources from inauthentic sources. Many of us till our higher education level don’t know about quality knowledge bases like Wiley, Sage, Science Direct, Elsevier, Pub Med, Jstor, Taylor & francis etc which provide us quality knowledge. Many of us spend hours online for surfing right kind of information but miss important information as we don’t know how to do smart work. Teachers have the responsibility to teach students about quality web resources.
We as students many times intentionally or unintentionally copy information from internet and use it in our assignments without knowing that it is unethical act called plagiarism; teachers should teach students about it from beginning so that they can know its consequences and save themselves from this offence. They should be taught how to use information from net and importance of acknowledging and quoting the sources.
One of the main aspect of digital literacy is netiquettes . It is knowing how to behave as responsible and decent netizens in e world. It is very unfortunate to say that many people have poor netiquettes. There are many students who don’t respect the decorum of online classrooms. They attend online classes in markets , and in noisy environs and disturb the whole class. Recently a video got viral where some students turned the music on while teacher was delivering lecture and shared it on social media. Such students need to realise the worth and dignity of teacher. Likewise Some students don’t know how and when to text a teacher. They use informal language. They contact teachers in late hours without realising that teachers also have personal life and other responsibilities. They can’t be available to them 24*7. Humor is a part of healthy teaching and classroom is a family; if a teacher cracks a joke in class it doesn’t mean students will record it and share it on social networks out of context and make fun of their teachers. They should refrain from such nonsense acts and decent and educated members should never like and support such acts. few miscreants take contact numbers of female classmates from class what’s app groups and share them with their friends; all these are unethical acts; which we need to realise.
Every human deserves respect . There are some people who in the name of humour humiliate others. They roast others without taking into consideration its consequences on emotional and psychological health of target person. They make such indecent videos that seems to be more ridiculous than fun. Our mother tongue kashmiri is a decent language; they rob it of its dignity and use offensive language and slangs in videos and it is very unfortunate to see people liking and subscribing such indecent channels. Humour should be healthy ; and it should not be disrespectful ; as it breeds hatred and causes emotional pain. It is my request to young youtubers to respect the decorum of kashmiri language and show some sensible attitude and stop using malicious content. There are some who use offensive and derogatory language in comments; if they don’t like someone’s work it is ok but they have no right to abuse or harass them in public. If some females make videos or share their pics on social media who are we to judge them or use offensive language for them. Some even write in comments that you will never enter paradise .Are we gatekeepers of paradise? Not at all ..so Lets mind our business. Let them take responsibility of their actions.
HOME MESSAGE:We are so inundated by information that our attention span has become very small. Don’t let google make us stupid. Let it not control our thought processes. Don’t believe everything you watch or read on Google. it is not a divine revelation. Let’s use our minds .Lets activate our critical thinking and creativity. For a simple query lets try to exercise our brain first .Exhaust your mind first then google out. Maintain a healthy balance between a reel and real life. Behave as decent and responsible members of society. Don’t let craving for few likes dehumanise you . Let’s try to become technocrats with netiquettes.
Bisma Farooq sheikh can be reached at email:firstname.lastname@example.org