Models and Instruments for Evaluating Digital Readiness and Competence

You may be extremely comfortable using tech, but that does not mean your learners or fellow educators are as tech-savvy as you. As digital tech becomes a part of our everyday lives and embeds itself into the classroom, our school community must provide learners digital readiness and competence. 

Why it is Important

Digital readiness is the capacity to use digital tools with ease. Digital readiness measures how “ready” or how comfortable an individual is with digital tech. 

It can be easy to assume that many people are comfortable using digital tech, but, unfortunately, this is untrue. In fact, Pew Research Center did a research study where they evaluated Americans by separating digital readiness into five areas: the unprepared, traditional learners, the reluctant, the cautious clickers, and the digitally ready. Their assessment found that more people are hesitant than more prepared when using digital tools, with only 17% being digitally ready. 

Evaluating Digital Readiness for Schools

When it comes to schools, educators are aware of digital learning gaps that are dependent on socioeconomic factors. Another determination of digital readiness and competency comes from the digital education learners gain at school. Therefore, it is important for schools to evaluate their faculty and classrooms for digital readiness. Schools can utilize the Digital Learning Readiness Guide to see if you are on your way to becoming a Future Ready School, which evaluates the following:

1. Curriculum, instruction, and assessment

2. Use of time

3. Tech, networks, and hardware

4. Data and privacy

5. Community partnerships

6. Professional learning

7. Budget and resources

The detailed evaluation also includes clear rubrics for scoring the district’s digital learning readiness. Schools cannot expect learners to have digital learning skills if the school district is not training educators and providing tech tools. 

Using the Digital Competency Profiler

Also, with the growth of online learning at the university level, it is important to determine whether learners and professors are digitally competent since most 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 evaluation uses a questionnaire to see how comfortable the user is with various computer-based technologies. 

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