An Introduction To Digital Skills. What Is Digital Literacy?

An Introduction To Digital Skills. What Is Digital Literacy?

The Word “Literacy” Alone Means The Ability To Read And Write. But When The Word Digital Is Followed By It, It Gives It A Very Broad Meaning. 

Although even in the combination of “digital literacy,” the ability to read and write is at its center, with the arrival of technology and new methods of receiving and transmitting information, digital literacy includes an extensive range of abilities.

Its From choosing a home video platform to watch movies and series to how to validate a website.

In issue 253 of the magazine, in the note “Skill basket and skill certificate”1, I looked at these two concepts and the concept of soft skills2.

In issue 254, with the note “Introduction to Digital Skills”3, I examined the fields of entering the digital age to some extent. But to join the discussion of digital skills, it is necessary to mention the concept of ” digital literacy, “which is sometimes confused with the idea of digital skills.

Digital literacy

The word “literacy” alone means the ability to read and write. But the phrase digital followed gives it a comprehensive meaning. Although even in the composition of ” digital literacy,” the ability to read and write is at its center, with the arrival of technology and new methods of receiving and transmitting information, digital literacy includes an extensive range of abilities, from choosing a home video platform to watch movies and series to how to validate a website.

There are many definitions of digital literacy. For example, the Digital Literacy Task Force of the American Library Association (ALA) defines digital literacy as “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate and communicate information that requires cognitive and technical skills.”

We need a level of knowledge and ability to work with digital tools to live in a world that is becoming increasingly digital. We need to be able to switch between different digital platforms to meet our needs while knowing what each forum is for and how we should use it.

But the critical question raised here is the difference between digital literacy and digital skills.

  • Digital literacy generally refers to technical aspects and the ability to use digital tools. But digital literacy includes the reason and necessity of using these tools and the reason for choosing a specific platform and content.

You decide to buy some books for your child online. To do this, you need both digital skills and digital literacy. Through digital skills, you can connect to the Internet, find the books you want in a search engine, go to the bookseller’s website, order books, pay for them and receive a receipt. All these jobs are in the field of digital skills.

But finding a site that guides you to choose a book or reviews books, and that you can measure the validity of this site by applying methods and make sure that it is a good site; Whether it’s reading reviews from other buyers, taking the time to read sample sections of the book, or looking at the book’s photo section to make sure it’s suitable for your child, it’s all part of digital literacy.

 Digital platforms refer to the Internet and all the tools that allow people to access the Internet and make purchases, transfer information, or do other things. In this process, all the elements of digital literacy are seen:

The ability to use, access, evaluate and communicate through digital platforms.

In this way, all people in society, from farmers and factory workers, to teachers and students, and even ordinary parents, in today’s world and incredibly shortly, need to have a level of digital literacy along with digital skills; Otherwise, they will find it challenging to carry out their daily tasks.

Nowadays, most people have some level of digital literacy. A digitally literate person can use technology to bring information into their lives, evaluate information, and consume and upload data in their career or daily life tasks. Such a person can communicate with others through the social networks he has chosen or other means of communication such as e-mail or messengers.

Digital literacy is generally considered a soft skill because it relates to the ability to learn and adapt to technology rather than being based on a specific technology that can change. If you understand a browser or a search engine, it doesn’t make a fundamental difference whether your browser is Chrome or Firefox and your search engine is Google or Bing. You are literate in working with the browser and search engine.

Why is digital literacy critical?

According to the definition of digital literacy, there is hardly anyone who does not know that having a minimal level of digital literacy is necessary to live in today’s world. For example, students need specific skills when reading online texts to get the most out of them. Links to other articles on a site or other sites, audio, and video clips, types of infographics, and charts are among them. At the same time, a student (and any other web reader) should know that to maintain focus and avoid distractions; they should avoid paying attention to irrelevant links and images when reading a text.

Education systems should expect students to voluntarily and responsibly create and share digital content. They need to learn that simply reading texts from web pages is not digital literacy.

Such reading is no different from reading a paper text. Digital literacy occurs when cognitive and technical skills are used to find, evaluate, create and communicate information.

They should be able to find additional information, navigate to relevant links, save files with the correct name, copy the content correctly and accessibly, and copy the data when necessary without losing control of the reading. Evaluate and ensure their validity, do not violate the laws or customs related to copyright or authors’ rights, take care of your privacy, and do not violate the privacy of others.

These are just some of the digital literacy that educational institutions must teach our children, teenagers, and young adults.

Digital literacy teachers should receive special training, especially about social networks. Many teenagers see their loved ones sharing their photos on a platform like Instagram; They may decide that there are no limits and they can share any image. But we know that this approach may harm them the most. The task of educators is not to scare children and teenagers from the Internet and social networks.

Instead, in teaching digital literacy, they can teach teenagers about the valuable aspects of these platforms and appropriate solutions for their harmful elements.

Hiller Spiers, professor of literacy and technology at North Carolina State University, considers digital literacy to have three parts:

  1.  Finding and consuming digital content
  2.   Digital content production
  3.  Communicating and sharing content 4

School administrators, media professionals, and educators should focus as much as possible on the benefits of digital literacy skills in schools, as today’s students look to the Internet as a critical source of information. Digitally literate students know how to find and use digital content. They know how to create, communicate and share digital content.

In learning digital literacy and maintaining information security, students learn what they can share on the Internet and social networks and what information they cannot. Students should be taught to recognize online bullying, blackmail, and harassment and deal with it appropriately when necessary.

Traditional job search processes, such as writing and sending resumes, interviewing, and hiring, are no longer effective. Our students must learn to use new online and digital tools for these processes.

Many people learn these processes through various stages, often through trial and error, but how much better if our educational environments take the lead and teach these skills to our youth?