Let's keep it simple. Defining a term like "[[digital literacy]]" should be straightforward. Say the term is something like [["apple"]]- you read the word, and what comes up?...Right, I'm an English major; I don't know what defines technology as "digital." Oops. Let's just work around that and go for synonyms.
Weaver's article on the workplace skills gap treats "digital" skills as synonymous with ICT (information communication technology) ones, and Pierce's lumps the (mostly global) digital divide and ICT with having access to the Internet- so take all those as being the same technology.
Then what is being [[literate->literacy]]?It's something you possess. You already know how to [[read]] and [[write]] (or else you wouldn't be here reading this). But in terms of the [[digital]] realm? Is that enough?Let me ask, when you read the word "apple" in a sentence, do you envision the piece of fruit?
I hope so. When you're talking about it just between two people, the meaning and the image [[seem->seems]] straightforward.
But what does a computer see?Computers aren't as straightforward as people- or maybe the way they think is so straightforward I can't quite crack it. I mean to say they interpret things in a different context than we do.
For instance, I just did an experiment; I typed the word "apple" into the Google searchbar, written just like that. No pictures of the fruit came up; all the results are about Apple, the tech company, with the capital letter in its name.
If right now you're thinking something like "Carolyn, you can't speak to computers like they're people who understand syntax or capitalization; you have be specific with what you from them. Try searching [['apple fruit'-> Defining]] if you want stuff about apples," then congratulations, you know how to communicate with Google Search effectively. That's [[one aspect]] of [[digital literacy]] you have down. I tend to think the easiest way to define something is breaking it down into its components.
So: what is [[digital]] [[literacy]]?
We talked in class about the belief that kids are more digitally literate than adults because they grew up using the Internet, as Prensky's "Digital Natives" article argues. So kids like my 7-year-old cousin (who's learning coding) [[might]] certainly have an easier time speaking to or learning through computers than would older folks or "immigrants" getting used to them for the first time now.
That part's logical enough. But I was more in Prensky's camp on Tuesday than I am after reading Weaver's article on the digital skills gap, which draws a harder line on the technical skills needed for the workforce. So most people my age know how to run a Google search for "apple" and play video games: does that mean all of us know the hardware, software, and other assorted -wares of digital technology? Are we actually fluent, or even [[literate->digital literacy]], in computerspeak? Making sense of what's [[written->write]], and reading between the lines: interpretting information, evaluating the source you got it from. With all the talk around fake vs. real news in modern politics, learning to tell the difference is a pretty crucial step to being [[digitally literate-> digital literacy revisited]]. How you communicate knowledge, beliefs, ideas and thought processes in words. But what's the most effective way to convey one's ideas? On paper, Google Docs, in hypertext? With voice clips and images- or nothing but the words? Should you share your five-paragraph response to a writing prompt via a series of Twitter posts? (I speak beginner's Twitter.)
Anyway, the Internet's a global thing, and many sites speak wholly different tongues; you have to know the language suited to the platform that you're using. [[Read->read]] the mood and the audience. That's how you bridge the gap between your mind and someone else's mind [[effectively-> digital literacy revisited]].So, to put the two together:
Digital literacy is how well you can use the Internet (or ICT, or whatever else) to find, create, evaluate, and communicate information.
And more. It's not all that straightforward.
-Carolyn KleinI did an experiment. I typed "apple define" into the Google searchbar and got the results you would expect: dictionary entries about apples, and pictures of fruit that matched my mental images. ("Define apple" gives you the same. Google also suggested that I see results for "Apple (fruit)," which was closest to what I wanted. I did not think to enter that in first.)
So, communicating with digital technology isn't always straightforward- nor is communicating [[through it->digital literacy]].I did an experiment. I typed "apple define" into the Google searchbar and got the results you would expect: dictionary entries about apples, and pictures of fruit that matched my mental images. ("Define apple" gives you the same. Google also suggested that I see results for "Apple (fruit)," which was closest to what I wanted. For whatever reason, I did not think to enter that in first.)
So, communicating with digital technology isn't always straightforward- nor is communicating [[through it->digital literacy]].Of course, "might" presumes everyone of a certain age has access to a computer- which isn't true across the board. Joy Pierce [[pierces]] the veil for us a little there: in fact access depends a lot on where you live... which is impacted by tricksy things like education, wealth, and ethnic/racial factors. So [[digital literacy]] isn't entirely even relevant to that part of the discussion. This pun is [[unrepetant->might]].