Digital Quotient in Education
From IQ (Intelligence Quotient) at the start of the 20th century, through to EQ (Emotional Quotient) near the end, now we’re into the age of DQ (Digital Quotient).
What is DQ?
Many people assume that Digital Quotient has to do with the skills you need to use technology effectively, but colloquially speaking DQ is just a measure of how you’re doing on digital. The acronym was coined by the DQ Institute in 2016 and is essentially the sum of cognitive, emotional, and social abilities that enable us to deal with the challenges of a digital world.
Children are able to access the internet on their own in one way or another, and everyday there is new media through multiple platforms for them to interact with. How do we develop digital intelligence in children to allow them to safely and responsibly navigate their way through these? This is important in the digital age, because the jobs of the future require digital skills like never before. We need to educate children on digital literacy, digital emotional intelligence, and how to safely navigate the internet.
Digital literacy still involves reading and writing, but with how the way we use technology is always changing, it also encompasses things like evaluating the validity of a website, creating online media content, and even sharing content. According to the American Library Association’s definition, “Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” (Heitin 2019)
Digital Emotional Intelligence
Simply put, Digital Emotional Intelligence is the ability to sense emotional responses through digital platforms and use that information to influence how we behave, think, or even make decisions. Just to be clear, this isn’t about robots or AI experiencing emotions. This is human emotions that are being enhanced, expressed, or even just influenced through digital platforms and technology. This can be through emails, text messaging, or even through the use of emoticons and emojis. Being able to teach children how to deal with or even just understand and process emotions has always been an essential part of their upbringing; but with the increasing number of ways that their emotions can be influenced, it has become even more important than ever that we mentally prepare them for this.
Navigating the internet (Safely)
In a world where children use the internet for everything from education to entertainment, it’s becoming more challenging to ensure their safety online. Parents play a role in this too as they set parental controls and house rules to keep their children safe, but more needs to be done to deal with this issue more effectively. The best thing to do is to educate the children properly. In computer and technology classes we should be teaching them how to filter and gauge the safety of content on media platforms, as well as ways to communicate with people online and the risks of sharing pictures and information.
Raising Digital Quotient
Raising the DQ of children is done by teaching them to be digital citizens. As with being a citizen of any nation, there are identities, rules and regulations, and numerous other factors involved. We can teach children about their privacy rights and what happens when personal information is shared online. Teach them to identify, avoid, and deal with cyberbullying. And finally, we can develop their critical thinking skills to give them the ability to evaluate, distinguish, and react to information and contacts that they may experience online.
The important thing here is that we support children as they seek to understand and explore the digital world, and equip them with the tools to not only survive, but thrive.
Heitin, Liana. “What Is Digital Literacy?” Education Week, 20 Feb. 2019, https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/11/09/what-is-digital-literacy.html.