Digital literacy stands for a mixture of knowledge, skills and behaviors used in a broad range of digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs. The notion of digital skills however is more contemporary and limited to practical abilities in using digital devices.
In our ever technological era, being digitally literate has become a must. A digitally literate person has knowledge of the basic principles of computing devices, skills in using computer networks, the ability to be part of social networks and online communities. Also, they need to possess an understanding of digital technologies and critical and analytical thinking.
The traditional approach
However new and modern this concept might be, it cannot have a life of its own without the basis of the traditional forms of literacy. The notion of literacy comes directly from the ability to read for knowledge, write coherently and think critically about the written word. Digital refers to a symbolic representation of information. Digital literacy is the marrying of these two notions and hasn’t come yet to replace the traditional ways. It actually builds upon its foundations.
The pedagogical approach
All over the world, schools are trying to update their curriculum for digital literacy, in order to keep up with the accelerating technological developments. This sometimes includes computers in the classroom, the use of educational software and course materials being made available to students online. All these new techniques are most efficient when the teacher is digitally literate as well and this is an issue in some parts of the world, where investing in this is not looked upon as a good idea.
The workforce approach
By the look of things, people who are digitally literate are more likely to become more economically secure. Many jobs, requiring or not superior studies, do ask for computer and Internet knowledge. Sometime companies will make their own training and courses for their employees, to ensure they are properly educated in this respect. However, coming with the right baggage from school already counts for a lot and will become even more important in the years to follow.
What is it socially essential to be digitally literate?
Among other perks of modern times, digital literacy keeps people in touch with societal trends. If we think of all the social network services that help people stay in contact and not only, let’s say like LinkedIn, we will notice how valuable this might be, if used appropriately. It’s true social sites are most popular among younger generations, however if we continue the LinkedIn example we can say that it has become popular with older professionals as well.
Digitally literate people are also less prone to be victims of email frauds, phishing activities, identity theft. Having more information at hand, they are less likely to believe hoaxes.
It has been scientifically proven that the differences in the level of digital literacy depend mainly on age and education level, while the gender element is starting to decrease.
Where we are going
So it seems that digital literacy competencies, which constitute core competencies of citizenship in the digital age, have enormous practical value. And as responsible citizens of this new era, we should invest more in the digital alphabetization of our children and youngsters and not only.
TRISOFT has been investing in the training of young, promising software developers and designers with great results that are showing in our everyday work, in the projects we are building together and the progress we are making with each step.