What definition of digital literacy do you use ?
Submitted by David J. Rosen on May 12, 2019 - 8:23am
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Hello Integrating Technology Colleagues,
You probably have heard the term "digital literacy," and you may use it with colleagues or with your students. There are now many definitions of digital literacy, and I have included four of them below. At the end of this post, I'll tell you mine, and ask for yours. Consider which of these definitions you prefer, and why; if you have a different definition, what is it?
1. The American Library Association's digital literacy task force definition: "Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills." Note that in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA), the term “digital literacy skills” is defined consistent with the definition in the Museum and Library Services Act of 2010, and based on the ALA task force definition. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/AdultEd/wioa-faqs.pdf (See bottom of FAQ page.)
2. From the Wikipedia: "Digital literacy refers to an individual's ability to find, evaluate, and compose clear information through writing and other mediums on various digital platforms. Digital literacy is evaluated by an individual's grammar, composition, typing skills and ability to produce writings, images, audio and designs using technology. While digital literacy initially focused on digital skills and stand-alone computers, the advent of the Internet and use of social media, has caused some of its focus to shift to mobile devices. Digital literacy does not replace traditional forms of literacy, instead building upon the skills that form the foundation of traditional forms of literacy. Digital literacy overlaps with computer literacy, as most digital media technologies require some level of computer competency. Commenters on digital literacy distinguish it from computer literacy as being a competency using computer assisted tools for medium which predate the ubiquity of personal computers.
3. A professor of literacy and technology at North Carolina State University, Hiller Spires, offers this definition: "a simplified way to think about digital literacy by ordering the cognitive and social processes into three categories: (a) locating and consuming digital content, (b) creating digital content, and (c) communicating digital content"
4. Some people use the term digital literacy to refer to basic computer or other digital device technical and navigation skills, meaning basic digital literacy skills.
Here's my definition:
I start with the the American Library Association's, "Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills." and add "problem solving" acknowledging the important OECD PIAAC international adult literacy assessment called "Problem Solving in Technology Rich Environments." So my definition of digital literacy becomes: An ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, and to solve problems, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.
This might better be called Digital Fluency, and our goal as adult educators interested in integrating technology might be:
Digital fluency: to enable adult learners to successfully use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, and solve problems, in daily living, education and work. The problems, of course, also include those we face in using technology. Adult learners who are fluent in using technology, I might add, have competence, confidence and courage in using it.
What's your definition?
David J. Rosen, Moderator
LINCS CoP Integrating Technology group