Definition: Digital Literacy

I’ve been working Pat Pehlman to craft a definition for digital literacy and outline skills we believe students need to acquire before graduating from Dickinson College. Defining terms is not my favorite task to say the least. I’m always left with the feeling that I’ve left out far too much, or that I’ve made the definition so vague as to be nearly useless. That being said, it’s necessary since this definition will used to define a digital literacy program that will greatly impact our students’ education at Dickinson College.

This is what we have so far. I’d especially welcome comments on the skills section, since that will in turn effect the definition. I’m also not overly concerned with the wording of the definition itself, since I’m sure it will be changed multiple times once it leaves the hands of Pat and I.

Definition - As digital media become more important for communication, critical thinking and creativity it is imperative for our students to be digitally literate. Digital literacies imbricate with traditional literacies and require the ability to locate, assess, modify, remix and create with a variety of media forms. Students should understand the many unique rhetorics of new media types and be able to express their ideas and communicate in an increasingly open and collaborative digital world.

Skills:

Visual literacy
Geospacial literacy
Image – creating, finding, editing
Data visualization from quantitative analysis

Writing (web 2.0, blogs, wikis, etc)
Collaborative
Dynamic
Match platform/medium with purpose
Internet audience (readers may be unknown, various formats that vary organizationally and by common length, formality, etc)

Presentation / Creation / Expression
Digital Audio (Podcasts, Audacity)
Video (Basic editing)
Digital storytelling (Mike Frat examples)
Mashups “Remixing” (Digital Literacies Chapter 8 )
Publishing information (Digital Literacies, page 20) Not just upload, but how to find and gain an audience
Presentations (includes presentions done in person with digital aids)

Internet as social/public space
Creating and managing a public / professional / scholarly identity (e-portfolio as possibility, meta-cognition as goal for process)
Social network as resource (Digital Literacies, page 20)
Digital citizenship (includes responsibilities, Gov’t 2.0, constructive social interaction)

Information Literacy
Building info hoard (Digital Literacies, page 20)
Info retrieval
Evaluating online resources (open [ http://www.doaj.org/ ] vs closed/traditional) Evaluating “quality control” in each case.
Information sharing and organizing
Information filtering (Digital Literacies, page 20)
non-linear and dynamic material (Digital Literacies, page 20)
Copyright (challenges presented by new media, mashups, explanation of GPL and OpenCommons)

3 thoughts on “Definition: Digital Literacy”

  1. “Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information” is definitely better then filtering. I would say regarding your section on Internet as social/public space and creating and managing a public / professional / scholarly identity (e-portfolio as possibility, meta-cognition as goal for process):

    It is important for people to realize that a great number of for profit firms frequently place personal/business information across dozens, if not hundreds of different websites. As such managing an online identity can be challenging and will require a person or business to seek out and gain control of all the information on all of these separate sites.

    That can be a lot of work and effort. Especially for people having no clue on where to start.

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