Digital Literacy is not so simple (Reflective Blogging #5)

I was asked the other day about digital literacy and what we should be teaching our children. As always I was struck speechless as I was overwhelmed trying to think of digital literacy as one singular topic. There are just so many pieces to it. Seeing this digital literacy graphic validated my feeling of overwhelm – eight major categories with three subtopics each for a grand total of 24!

Without a real thought out plan we cannot hope to teach the digital literacy skills necessary to navigate our new reality. Seeing these types of charts reinforce the complexity of this new landscape and force librarians to face the challenge of teaching digital literacy head on.

What I love is that these skills enumerated are more than just an introduction to different technologies and tools, but encompass what it means to live a full digital life. Information and digital literacy is more than just being able to post a photo on Facebook. Real literacy is thinking should I post this photo in the first place? Does this photo put me at risk from predators? Will this photo endanger my future someday? Should someone else get credited for this photo? Will this photo hurt others? These are the real digital literacy skills necessary to be a responsible digital citizen and they apply to all. This graphic could be used to guide the planning of instruction for our senior citizens who often are overwhelmed by the digital landscape and for educating our children.

4 comments
  1. Hi @mettlsa, I will admit that I keep thinking that some topics can be taught in one or two lessons. Digital Literacy does not seem to be one of those short topics you introduce someone to and expect them to know and understand immediately. I used to work in IT and now I work as a Marketing Analyst and can proudly say I was wrong about how complex these areas of Business are. Like Digital Literacy, IT and Marketing have ‘many more chapters’ under their titles and that is the best part. I think you say it best: ‘Information and digital literacy is more than just being able to post a photo on Facebook. Real literacy is thinking should I post this photo in the first place?…’

  2. @mettlsa You bring up some important points in that paragraph. It *is* so much more than technology. And the idea to use the graphic to develop learning experiences for is spot on.

  3. Hi @mettlsa, looking at the 24 topics makes me realize how technology has invaded into our lives – or, should I say, it has become our lives? Digital literacy is surely about technology and all the things that come with it, but it is also about people, about how we use it to interact with other people digitally. I would be very much interested to know more about Digital Emotional Intelligence as I feel the power and impact of online communication and how it’s reshaping my own social life. Thank you for your post!

  4. @mettlsa you make such a good point with this illustration. I feel like a ton of the work I have done in the past two years has concerned some aspect of digital literacy, but maybe only a portion of it. I will work with someone on setting up an email so they can apply for jobs, without teaching them anything else related to that account they just set up. This visual helps drive home the idea that someone with limited digital literacy can end up in real trouble!

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