The Importance of developing Digital Literacies

There is no way around it, technology is changing faster than society. In 2009 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Internet and in that year 91% of people checked a fact online, 71% used the Internet to find out what a word means and 90% researched a topic that they were interested in (Miller & Bartlett, 2012). This information is staggering and shows us just how useful the Internet can be to our everyday life but can we assume that this means that everyone who uses the Internet and other forms of technology is digitally literate? Is there a need to develop digital literacies in a society where it seems that almost everyone has access to it and appears to use it?

To be digitally literate means to have not only knowledge but also skills and attitudes. It is about being able to not only find the information available but also evaluate, utilise, share and create the information found and technologies used in the process. This is an important skill to have, particularly as a learner or researcher as the Internet plays such a vital role in education. In order to access what is relevant we need to be able to understand what is being said, make sure it is accurate and reliable and then use it to develop our own learning. As an individual living in the UK I know that the Internet has a big impact on my life as it is the greatest source of information available to people living in this country (Miller & Bartlett, 2012) and as a student I know how difficult but also how easy it can be when using technology as part of your learning.

I know that I need to develop my digital literacies. For me personally I use my iPad and laptop along with my phone. When I first got each of these items I had very little idea of how these worked. My phone was surprisingly particularly difficult however after investigation into it I was able to use it for what I wanted it for however I was aware that I wasn’t using it to its full capacity as I had a gap in my understanding of it and my skills. My attitude was also not particularly good towards it as I knew that I could just use one of my other devices that I knew how to use rather than trying to figure it all out. In that sense I suppose I was digitally illiterate but improving my knowledge skills and attitudes towards learning about my device I have found that I am able to achieve far more than I had originally hoped to.

Those who are digitally literate can communicate and work more effectively particularly with others who have the same knowledge and skills as they do. This is why I would encourage the development of digital literacies, to aid us as individuals. We are living in a world where we have the choice of 250 million websites,150 million blogs and where over 25 billion tweets were sent in 2010 (Miller & Bartlett, 2012). The conclusion I have come to is that it is important to develop digital literacies to aid us in our learning and understanding of an every changing part of our lives.

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Alvin Toffler.

References
Miller, C., & Bartlett, J. (2012). ‘Digital fluency’ : towards young people’s critical use of the internet. Journal of Information Literacy, 6(2), 35-55.
Toffler, A. (1990). Power shift. Retrieved18th October 2014, from
http://www.brainpickings.org/2012/06/29/alvin-toffler-powershift

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3 comments

  1. eveh1993 · October 21, 2014

    I loved your statistics in your opening paragraph, they surprised me in a way but then again when I think of my own use of the internet it is definitely something I can believe. There’s rarely a conversation that happens now without someone ‘needing’ to Google something!
    I agree with what you have said about not necessarily using technologies to their full potential because it is just too easy to find an alternative rather than having to figure something out whereas “in the olden days” if you had a question/problem/issue there was usually some amount of work in getting a resolution. Nowadays we have so much information and resources available, it’s like we take advantage of them.
    I would have liked to see your thoughts on how we could (or should) be developing and educating people to be more digitally literate. Should it be something we do in schools? How do you know when you are “digitally literate enough”?
    I suppose it would be easy to say nobody will ever be fully digitally literate as everything changes and develops so quickly – who knows!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. stephanienicoleshields · October 21, 2014

    I agree with Eve, your use of statistics in your introdction are really interestnig and allow us to get a better understand of what you are going to talk about in your blog. I agree that not only do we need knowledge to vbe digitally literate, having the correct skills and attitudes is very important when being online and using digital technology. Having these skills will help us use the interent proper and receive useful information. It will help us understand what is good information and what is bad.

    I agree that I do not have the skills and there is a gap in my own knowledge that I need to address for me to become more digital literate. I think that I is therefore important for teachers to use their skills and knowledge to teacher children as at home they may have access to the interent, and do not know how to use it properly. It is important for children to be safe when they are online.

    I like how you use quotes to back up what you are saying, they are very relevant to your text and have made me question my own abilities in learning how to use technology.

    Like

  3. Cristina Costa · October 27, 2014

    I enjoyed reading your blogpost and was interested in the examples you have provided. I was however left wondering if you had any ideas on how you will transfer the ideas you have described to your own practice as a teacher?

    Like

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