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.
It 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.
- Media Smarts “Digital Literacy Fundamentals” — A great webpage about Digital Literacy Fundamentals from Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy. Includes wonderful diagrams! [Will definitely use this source for future assignments].
- Troy Hicks & Kristen Hawley Turner “No Longer a Luxury: Digital Literacy Can’t Wait” — An article from the English Journal offering suggestions for teaching digital literacy skills in classrooms [focuses on English teachers, but makes relevant points for everyone].
- NPR “Closing Digital Divide, Expanding Digital Literacy” — A radio interview with professor S. Craig Watkins of the University of Texas and his research on the trends of digital literacy skills of minority youths.
- TER #033 “Jenny Luca on Digital Literacy and 21st Century Learning” — A Teachers’ Education Review podcast that features an interview with Jenny Luca, who gave a keynote address at the EduTech National Congress and Expo in Australia called Digital Literacy: Guiding Students and Teachers to Develop Their 21st Century Skills.
- YouTube “What is Digital Literacy?” — A very short, basic video explanation of Digital Literacy by IT Futures. Fun animations!
- YouTube “The essential elements of digital literacies: Doug Belshaw at TEDxWarkwick” — A wonderful(ly entertaining and enlightening) TED Talk about digital literacy. The Eight Essential Elements are: Cultural, Cognitive, Constructive, Communicative, Confident, Creative, Critical and Civic. Did I mention that he talks about memes, too?
- Paul Treadwell on SlideShare ” Digital Literacy: Why It Matters” — A slideshow with a collection of interesting graphics that show visual representations of concepts such as digital literacy, information literacy, characteristics of a digitally literate person.