Monday, May 23, 2011

Digital Literacy (Session 1)

Digital Literacy

If we turn back in time a hundred years or more, we will be surprised to find out that society’s conception of a person being literate was very different from today’s conception . Literacy in the past had more to do with reading and writing the languages used by certain intellectual circles. A person, who could read and write in Latin; for instance, was considered well-educated and therefore literate.
It is amazing to see how this conception about literacy has changed. We have witnessed the emergence and development of technology in the last 20 years. This evolution of technology and the control that it has upon our lives has undoubtedly changed our perceptions and conception of our reality. Now we have new and different needs.
In this sense, it is pertinent to ask what it means to be literate in the 21th century. Many authors (Asko, 1998; Frechette, 2002; Ogle and Klemp, 2007) argue that being literate in this era is related to developing critical thinking and having a continuum learning to be able to develop knowledge for participating actively in society (Ogle & Klemp, 2007). However, in this technological era developing “Digital Literacy” has become a real need.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (2001), digital literacy is “sophisticated set of competencies pervading workplace, community and social life”. Moreover, “It is the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate and create information using digital technology”. (Wikipedia, 2010 in Reynolds, 2010). It is a fact that to be digitally literate, knowledge and understanding of high technology and its use is required. It is also a reality that people who are digitally literate can communicate and work more efficiently nowadays.
In regards with education, It is well-known that schools and universities worldwide have been planning and updating their syllabuses with the implementation of computer related areas. Now more educational courses are being offered online. Hence the necessity of teachers to prepare in the tech. areas and become digitally literate to satisfy the learning needs of today’s students.
I may say that it has been a long and intricate way for me to get certain command on the use of technology to catch up with my students. That does not mean that I am a hundred per cent digitally literate. Actually, I am far away from being that teacher who is at the forefront in the use of technology. Nevertheless, I have always been open to this wonderful field. Something undeniable is that technology is always changing and new ways of communication and information have appeared. So we teachers can not deny the fact that technology is there to be used, consumed and get the most benefits of. So why not doing it ?

Reference: Frechette, D. (2002) Developing Media Literacy in Cyberspace.

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