The Importance of Digital Literacy

From my own understanding and mild research on the topic, digital literacy is becoming more important to everyday tasks and skills for any occupation. Digital literacy goes beyond basic knowledge on computer programs and electronic devices, digital literacy adds the component of networking. Wikipedia says, “Digital literacy differs from computer literacy in a number of significant ways. While it embraces the practical skills that computer literacy incorporates, there is a much greater focus on sociological, political, cultural, economic and behavioral aspects of digital technologies.”

Literacy covers these eight elements that each have different effects on our education: 

  • Cultural – The cultural element of Digital Literacies requires technology use in different contexts and an awareness of the values and concepts specific to the varying contexts.
  • Cognitive – The cognitive component of Digital literacies aims to enable mastery of the use of technological tools, software and platforms. Gaining expertise in digital tools helps learners become more digitally literate.
  • Constructive – The constructive element requires re-using and remixing existing resources depending on the need; or adapting them into new resources. Through construction, a digitally literate user creates new data and shares their creations with others digitally.
  • Communicative – The communicative component requires awareness about different communication devices both digital and mobile. Being digitally literate means communicating in the digital world in several ways.
  • Confidence – The confidence element of Digital Literacy means gaining competence with digital technologies and the ability to create an environment for practising skills and self-learning.
  • Creative – Through the Creative element of Digital Literacy, digital learners create new data in digital environments based on personal interests. This element places emphasis on taking risks while developing searching skills and producing new things.
  • Critical – The critical component requires the digital learner to develop various perspectives. While actively taking part in digital environments, the user should take different circumstances into account.
  • Civic – The civic element is all about developing and acquiring the concepts of democracy and global citizenship through digital technologies. This component helps the participation of the individual in society. Part of digital literacy is the ability to form communities online

Nowadays, we use Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, and many other programs/apps/etc. to communicate with people beyond our scope. This digital world has its own form of literacy. For example, memes or hashtags are digitally specific forms of literacy that are not found in other forms of articulation.

It is important to remember that the digital world is very public, even if your settings are on private. Whatever you post is forever embedded into cyber space, which is a concept that I find very hard to grasp. Regardless, consideration of others and for your future self is extremely critical in digital literacy.

There are multiple ways to become familiar with the required Digital Literacy skills such as sites like,DigitalLiteracy.gov 

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3 thoughts on “The Importance of Digital Literacy

  1. I think before too long, we’ll be completely paperless, well mostly. I just bought a pen that has a stylus on it! Technology is all around us, and we can’t get away from it, even if we live in a cabin on a mountain, because there is sure to be a satellite and at some point, the Googlemaps car! We can’t stop the technology, so we have to take the old adage to heart, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” So we have to go with the flow. You did an amazing job of giving a clear and concise definition of digital literacy.

  2. I like your point about the different ways we communicate online actually changing our understanding of literacy. (English teachers everywhere complain about the use of “instant message speak” in formal papers!) We’ll be thinking more about digital citizenship later in the semester because you’re right: even when we think we aren’t sharing publicly, anything we publish online, anything we text, can be read and accessed by others.

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