What is digital literacy and how does it apply to the university setting? While researching this topic, I came across a website entitled US Digital Literacy . The site begins with the following definition:
“The definition of literacy has evolved in the 21st century. The basic definition of literacy means to be able to read and write. To be successful in today’s digital world, literacy goes far beyond being able to read and write. What it means to be digitally literate has reflected the change in how information is processed, delivered, and received in today’s highly connected world.”
When reviewing specific competencies within digital literacy there are three basic areas to consider:
- use of digital technology and tools to find, evaluate and use content provided on the web;
- having the skills to synthesize aggregated digital content from a variety of platforms and sources;
- grow personal ability to read, interpret, validate, and manipulate content via the internet.
According to the US Digital Literacy website these skills include:
“learning how to use technology’s tools. The list of digital tools is never ending. New releases make something that was new yesterday old today. Educators as well as students must thoughtfully determine which tools are essential to their digital literacy tool kit. Tool kit’s vary from one educator to another as they do from one student to another. Once you have mastered a particular tool, move on to another so you can increase your digital power.”
Students are wired to learn digitally. They enter higher education with digital devices practically attached to their limbs. Our obligation is to teach them to become responsible digital citizens as well as discerning users of everything the internet has to offer in our globally collaborative world. Pamela Ann Kirst states in a November 2013 Zanesville Times Recorder article, “Accessing information takes a nanosecond; the assimilation of that information, the interpretation and application of it, are the skills we need today. Anyone with Internet skills can find the data; it’s the finder who can tell us why it’s important that gets recognized.”
Media literacy is a 21st century approach to education in which the Center for Media Literacy defines as:
“a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy.
‘Technology ignites opportunities for learning, engages today’s students as active learners and participants in decision-making on their own educational futures and prepares our nation for the demands of a global society in the 21st century.’ “