Search & Research: Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy
Photo Credit: Doug Belshaw


The traditional perception of literacy is the ability to read and write, but even more so, our ability to understand and share meaning.  This being said, digital literacy takes the skills required for read-and-write literacy by changing how these experiences occur — the processes through which we understand, share meaning, AND create with digital technology.  Digital technology is a network of media that can act as a network of mobile, omnipotent source of information and communication.

IDigital Literacy diagramt is not uncommon to see digital literacy and media literacy (the ability to use, analyze, and create media in many different formats – both digital and non-digital) used interchangeably. However, just because one knows how to use a digital medium to locate and evaluate information does not automatically mean they are digitally literate…but it’s a great start!  Media literacy is an important cornerstone that is required to build digital literacy.

Therefore, digital literacy encapsulates more than just how to use digital technology to find information. It also involves: creating and sharing content, evaluating and thinking critically, collaborating and communicating with others, fostering social and cultural understanding, and being knowledgeable about online safety.  Without digital literacy, you could not function as a digital citizen.


Further “Readings”

One thought on “Search & Research: Digital Literacy

  1. I’m glad you poked at the conflation of digital literacy and media literacy…the idea that they are the same really rubs me the wrong way. Neither wholly contain the other, to my mind. And while I think digital literacy is a thing and an important one, you might have gleaned from the Twitter conversation with Sarah (and Doug Belshaw) that I have questions about whether being “literate” is enough (or whether that “level” is enough) and whether the idea of “fluency”—building on skilled and then literate—is important. I’m working out a time to have a conversation with Doug, for which I’ll at least solicit questions from everyone for!

    I really like Doug’s model, not just because of the alliteration. It goes in a much richer direction than many of the dumbed-down models that have emerged (for various reasons) in recent years in much the same way the idea of, say, Personal Learning Environments has gotten dumbed down in an attempt to tame what is a wild, chaotic thing made of not just rules and observations, but experiences.

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