Digital Literacy

Digital literacy has been called the fourth literacy. Reading, writing and mathematics are the cornerstone of being literate, literacy now however is not complete unless someone is capable of accessing and creating digital information. Therefore it is important to talk about digital literacy in education and e-learning.

Critical digital literacy is even harder; consider the required competencies that students need to be just to  become critical. We live in a world where infobesity (information obesity) is a real issue. As teachers we need to be critical in assessing information and filter its use in our lessons. It is no wonder that students cannot always filter when there are so many inappropriate sites out there. The same is true when selecting software; there are so many tools available that sometimes students will use the wrong one.

As a teacher we must prepare students for the world that they are in and the one that they will be part of when they leave school. This means inspiring them to have experience of and be able to select the correct tools in carrying out tasks related to communicating and handling data for a purpose. This is at the heart of digital literacy.

Specific examples of digital literacy:

  • Use of basic word processing and desktop publishing packages in creating a class newspaper.
  • Collating data from the internet about an animals eating habits.
  • Taking pictures of their school and using them in a presentation to parents.
  • Describing the use of technology for financial transactions as part of PSHE.

Socially, as well as academically, their future calls for technological knowledge and digital skills, as an increasing number of our daily-life activities are executed with web based tools.

Sometimes we assume that teachers are digital immigrants and students are digital natives, recently though we are becoming more aware that the increased choice of tools and technology means that most students are perplexed about how to make use of basic tools.

Aspects of digital literacy