This week, my colleagues (Gail Dandelske, Elizabeth Ferry and Amy Paskov) and I worked on a group Prezi which we titled Assessment of Digital Literacy. Our assignment was to create a Prezi that presented current research in digital literacy assessment.
Meeting with my group online this week, we realized that this topic fit nicely with what we have been studying in the Instructional Technology and Digital Media Literacies program. We have focused much of our time in this program on defining digital literacies and exploring ways to teach these new literacies. It seemed natural that assessing digital literacies would be the next step.
Our Prezi begins with a brief overview of digital literacies, technology skills, online reading comprehension, online content construction, online collaborative inquiry and then provides current methods for assessing digital competencies. I was surprised to see that there are already many standardized and formal assessments of digital literacies. These assessments are usually multiple choice, but some do provide very detailed and realistic scenarios, such as the 21st Century Skills Assessment. This assessment also provides rubrics for a portfolio assessment of skills that cannot be measured in a multiple choice test.
Some of these formal assessments are free, but many are costly. Teachers should also make use of their own formative assessments to check students’ digital literacy skills. Project-based learning and online collaborative projects provide teachers with many opportunities to observe students’ technology and digital literacy skills. There are also many free checklists available online, such as this one from the State of Oregon, to help teachers assess digital skills.
Assessing digital literacies is a new area of education, and teachers need to be aware that new ways of assessing are constantly being developed. Many assessments have not been tested by research, so it is important to try a variety of ways to assess students’ digital literacy and technology skills. As technology evolves, so too will assessments.
Click here if you cannot see the Prezi below.