Based on the body of research that has emerged in recent years around Digital Literacy, which encompasses concepts such as Information Literacies, 21st Century Literacy, Multimodal Literacies, Multiliteracies and New Media Literacy ELINET proposes the following definition of Digital Literacy:
Digital Literacy is a broad term used to describe three interrelated dimensions of literate practice in the contemporary age:
- the operational dimension includes the skills and competences that enable individuals to read and write in diverse digital media (including making meaning with and from diverse modes such as spoken and written language, static and moving images, sounds, screen design etc.);
- the cultural dimension refers to developing a repertoire of digital literacy practices in specific social and cultural contexts (such as constructing and/or maintaining effective social, educational and/or professional relationships online);
- the critical dimension recognises that meaning-making resources are selective and operate as a means of social control (e.g. knowing what Facebook is up to when it reminds you that your profile is not complete). Becoming critically literate with digital media therefore includes not simply participating competently in digital literacy practices but also developing the ability to transform them actively and creatively.
This definition of the dynamic processes involved in developing digital literacy is enriched by the following considerations:
- Digital Literacy is transversal to many different activities: it is about making confident, critical and creative use of diverse digital devices to achieve goals related to work, employability, learning, leisure, inclusion and/or participation in society
- Digital Literacy is part of everyday literacy: that is to say, it can be viewed as both similar to and different from traditional literacy. To read and write digitally, students and teachers must learn to create and interpret texts in diverse modes (such as static and moving images and icons, spoken and written language, screen layout etc.), and to navigate texts across diverse digital platforms which offer a variety of learning opportunities, formats for creation, and spaces for expression that were not previously available
- Digital Literacy is a complex and socio-culturally sensitive issue: it is much more than the capacity to use ICT tools, but should be regarded as a set of social and sense-making competences associated with interacting with a range of digital devices, where the central issue is about the diverse literacies needed to communicate and collaborate with others and to find and make sense of the available information
Annual Cross-Cutting Topic 2020 / 2021
TWG Digital Literacy is responsible for the current research project Annual Cross-Cutting Topic 2020 / 2021 Enhancing Digital Literacy Skills: Good Practices for Early and Primary Years Education. For more details see here.
In the absence of a commonly agreed competence framework of digital literacy for children, we adopt a “working definition” which will be refined later: The ultimate goal of digital literacy is for children to locate, comprehend, integrate, create and use information from multiple sources (online texts, videos, audio, images, interactive graphics,…) as well as to communicate and express effectively in various modalities at home and at school (oral, paper, visual, digital).
For this project, aimed at children, we have formulated a more detailed working definition. You can read it here.
We are working on two main outcomes:
- a “European Framework of good practice in enhancing digital literacy skills in early and primary years’ education” and a European policy paper as a short summary of the Framework (similar to ELINET’s European Literacy Declaration), both addressing policymakers, practitioners and other stakeholders in this field. Both papers shall contain research-based recommendations for educating pre-school and primary school children to become digitally literate citizens.
- Parallel to this conceptual work we are working on a database of good practice examples (the call is still open), which we will review and analyse and in case of approval publish on our website. Furthermore, we will integrate the main findings of this practice research in our framework according to ELINET’s top-down and bottom-up approach of exchanging research and practice.