If you were to think of digital literacy as a two-tiered model, standard skills and advanced skills, how would you characterize each? Speculate as to what skills will be required in the not too distant future (say 5-10 years)?
In last week’s Internet Writing class, we ran into several graphics that attempted to illustrated what digital literacy is, including the convoluted graphic below.
Needless to say, this graphic left me in a state of confusion; however, it also illustrated to me that multiliteracy or media literacy or digital literacy, whatever the catch phrase is for it these days, is a complex entity. A lot of components go into this form of literacy and as a result, someone’s idea of what skills fit into a specific level of digital literacy may not be the same as another’s list of skills. We are still in the stage of trying to figure that out. And I suspect it will be a continuous “figuring out” as new digital devices are created every day that challenge us to rethink our previous thoughts.
Having said this, if I had to state standard and advanced skills for digital literacy, they would be as follows:
Digital Literacy: Standard Skills
- Device operation – the ability to turn on and do basic device operations; and even this would have to be explained because there are levels of understanding for device operation. For example, if we’re talking about a laptop/computer, is knowing how to defrag your system a standard or advanced skill? If we’re talking about blogging, posting a blog could be a standard skill and knowing how to tag effectively could be another standard skill or an advanced skill.
- Using – this goes beyond device use, like being able to turn on and off a laptop, but being able to work applications within the device. When I bought my mom her first computer years ago, she hated the manuals that came with it, so I wrote a manual for her that had the simplest things like turning on and off the computer, but also had what I considered to be basic/standard skills, skills she would immediately need because I knew of what she planned to do with the computer: how to surf the Internet; how to open Word, create a document, save it, print it, and send it via e-mail; how to send (and attach documents to) e-mail; etc.
- Maneuvering – this would probably tie into the first two, but there is standard maneuverability that is needed. For me, that means the ability to play with the system, with the applications, to learn through mistakes, to not be afraid to learn through mistakes–I guess, in a sense, comfortability with systems one partakes in.
Digital Literacy: Advanced Skills
- Analyzing – I would definitely say that analyzing is a skill that either bridges from standard to advanced or becomes something you develop and fine tune within the advanced level. This is where we begin to seek to understand beyond the use of a device, a system. We understand how it works and why it works, but we also learn the theories, the foundations behind how the system works and how to make it work more efficiently for you.
- Creating – In the standard skills, we (according to my list) look to be able to use a system. In the advanced level, we aim to create within the system, and not just to create for the sake of creating something, but to create with a purpose behind its development.
- Sharing – And because we have a purpose behind our creations, the creation isn’t just for us; therefore, we have to share it with others. And this doesn’t mean, for example, just the posting of a blog. It’s also about understanding other outlets, like Twitter, Facebook, podcasting, etc. so that you can single source the content and share with the great number of people.
Digital Literacy: Future Skills (5 – 10 years)
It’s hard to discern where we’re going in the future. As we moved from standard to advanced skills, we moved from users of systems to creators of systems. I do believe that as each new generation is immersed within the digital culture (or whatever culture comes next), the standard skills will probably also have some of the advanced skills mixed it. Once you move from using and creating and sharing and analyzing, where do you go? Is there another level beyond these things? Or will we be just finessing these skills?
Posted by Shonell @ 21 June 2010