Digital Literacy

Digital literacy is defined by the New York Department of Education as ” having the knowledge and ability to use a range of technology tools for varied purposes.” However, I believe a better definition is the ability to navigate and utilize different technology for many purpose, legally. I believe that legally is a key word here. Any kid born in the last twenty years has grown up with technology. They know how to copy and paste an image from google. However, do they know how to use the resources on the internet without breaking copyright laws? Do they know how to build a website for their business and insert their own logo?

Technology grows more important every day. Humans rely on technology to get themselves food, entertainment, transportation, and comfort. There is an infinite amount of knowledge just beyond a screen that can be accessed with a few clicks of the mouse. Facebook and other social media sites can be used for business in this technology based world. Digital literacy can meant you are able to do a lot of things with technology. Being able to find the answer to a question on the internet, knowing how to message someone on Facebook, creating a presentation using PowerPoint, and knowing about copyright laws are just a few things someone who is digitally literate could do.  It is very important for children to learn how to use technology both efficiently and legally.

I know that I stated in my first paragraph that any kid born in the last twenty years knows how to use google and copy and paste a photo. However, the stereotype that younger generations are more technology savvy than the older generation is preposterous. I have known many people who are in their teens that simply are confounded by technology. One day, I walked into my best friend’s house to hear screams of anger. I ran into the living room to find my friend sitting at her computer. She was screaming at her computer in frustration as she tried to check her email. On the other hand, my mother, who is 55 years old, texts better than I do. She even uses emojis! Digital literacy is important to teach in school’s because not every younger person is technology savvy. Digital literacy is also important for the older generation to learn also, of course, and adults should take computer classes if they feel they are “behind the times.”

I found Terry Heick’s article, “The Definition of Digital Literacy,”  very interesting. Heick defines digital literacy very interestingly: “The ability to interpret and design nuanced communication across digital fluid forms.” Heick tells the reader that digital literacy is important for research but, that it also includes being able to navigate forms of communications in social media like twitter. I also found Heick’s approach on what literacy means interesting: Literacy implies a fuller understanding and a rounder knowledge. A literate person is aware of multiple information sources, the pros and cons of media forms, and the value and credibility of information. A literate person can process diverse data sources, and suggest macro relevance and micro application of seemingly disparate ideas.

I think of myself as a very literate person when it comes to technology.  I have been grilled by many teachers about research and making sure to give the creator of articles credit. I know how to cite articles, websites, books, and photos. I know how to navigate social media sites very well, because I have been using them for many years. However, I know there is a lot to learn. For example, this is the first time I have ever made a blog. I did not know how to do that before, though it is very simple.


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