What does being digitally literate mean?

While being literate means being able to read and write, being digitally literate requires more than those skills. According to the American Library Association, digital literacy is defined as "the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills."

Professor Spires views digital literacy as having three components:
1) finding and consuming digital content
2) creating digital content
3) communicating or sharing it

Think about it this way. To read the news off your local newspaper, you'd have to just access and read it. While accessing news online, you'd have to know how to turn on your computer/phone, know how to search for the site on the internet, assess what site is reliable, be knowledgable on navigating, and more. Texts or pieces of online information may have "hyperlinks, videos, audio clips, images, interactive graphics, share buttons, or a comments section- that force the reader to stop and make decisions rather than simply reading from top to bottom."

"Being digitally literate has reflected the change in how information is processed, delivered and received in todays highly connected world." Nowadays, we access the digital world at home, school, work and society. But it's not the same for all and there are factors that can affect how digitally literate we are. Factors such as age, gender, socioeconomic status and location.

For age limitations, there are companies such as Teeniors where teenagers coach seniors one on one on how to use any technological medium they wish to learn more about. Comcast has even partnered with them to create a specific internet package for low income seniors in Arizona. The study by Ercikan et al. spoke about the digital divide based on location, gender and socioeconomic status. In their literature review they had stated research showed boys being more digitally literate, but their own research concluded girls were more digitally literate. socioeconomic status and location affects access, which in turn affects skills.

Many websites shied away from offering a definition because they say everything in the digital world is constantly changing. One website included online behavior as being an example of digital literacy, which I found very applicable to the definition.

I think this relates to the class since we are practicing in improving our digital literacy. For example, the experience for those who this is the first time making a website. I also think it gives us an insight on how in the digital world, usage varies upon personal skills/practice no matter how small of a cohort there is. We are all different based on our own interests and experiences.

Bawden, D. (2008). Origins and concepts of digital literacy. Digital literacies: Concepts, policies and practices30, 17-32.
Digital literacy and media literacy for today’s learners. US Digital Literacy.
Ercikan, K., Asil, M., & Grover, R. (2018). Digital Divide: A Critical Context for Digitally Based AssessmentsEducation Policy Analysis Archives26(45/55), 1-20.
Heitin, L. What is digital literacy? Education Week. Nov 8, 2016.
How to teach digital literacy in the classroom. Applied Educational Systems.
Mejia, B. Making a connection: Teens help seniors learn digital literacy. Arizona Public Media. June 1, 2018.

One thought on “Digital Literacy”

  1. “Many websites shied away from offering a definition because they say everything in the digital world is constantly changing.” This seems to be a common theme that many of our classmates have all found within searching about digital literacy! I think the reason that a lot of sites shied away from defining it not only because it is always changing but it also changes depending on the context in which it is being used! This is something Tracy talks about in her post when she says that, “This means that digital literacy means different things in different spheres of life, in different professions, and at different levels of technology.” It not only is changing because technology evolves, but it is also changing because of who is using it and what their needed skills are to be digital literate! What do you think? Check out Tracy’s post here: http://englishclasstechnology.com/rich-reflection/readings-2-digital-literacy/#comment-102

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