This is a briefing paper which represents a summary of the practitioner’s specialism – Digital Literacy. It explores the questions: “Is digital literacy more than just using a computer?” Two other questions are: “Is digital literacy covered in enough depth in the setting?…
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It is the contemporary reality that ICTs or Information Communication Technologies have entered all spheres of our life. As a teacher of ICT, the practitioner finds himself using it more and more every day. In the context of formal education, ICT is recommended to be used by children from their earliest years. Siraj-Blatchford & Siraj-Blatchford (2000) position that since the early age children ought to be finding out as well as identifying the uses of ICT in everyday life. Computers along with programming toys are recommended for use to support learning. Use of play will provide a well-structured foundation for the later use of applications. In other words, the priority of modern education is to integrate ICT across the curriculum. The term ICT is used in modern education when one speaks about digital literacy. While the first associations with this term are the Internet, mobile phones, computers, Facebook, television, games, and Twitter, in education a few scholarly definitions are used. Specifically, Hague (2010), who says that ‘digital literacy’ is a confusing term, provides the following definition: digital literacy constitutes “critical and creative and cultural practices that allow one to understand and share the meaning and knowledge in different modes and formats through various forms of engagement with technology and media” (Hague 2010, 6). ...
Indeed, Eshet-Alkalai (2002) says that the term’s indistinct use leads to ambiguity as well as misunderstanding, low-quality communication, and development of misconceptions. It is noted that a certain inconsistency exists between the supporters of the view that digital literacy is majorly about technical skills and those who support the view that digital literacy is about focus on both cognitive and socio-emotional aspects of functioning in an extensively digital environment. Hence, one of the research questions in this paper is “Is digital literacy more than just using a computer?” Two other questions are: “Is digital literacy covered in enough depth in the setting?” and “Should digital literacy lessons be taught earlier?” First of all, let us critically analyse views on the problem of the nature of digital literacy and its major components in available academic sources. The very concept of digital literacy, the term that is widely used today, was introduced by Gilster (1997) back in 1997. Gilster (ibid) provided a generic explanation of digital literacy rather than a list of competencies and skills that defined digital literacy. In his view, digital literacy is simply an ability to comprehend and utilize information from a range of various sources, i.e. a sort of literacy typical for the digital age. Needless to say, the definition was quite broad, but it evidently opened the door to interpretations by different authors. While the term had been used before, it was Gilster (1997) and then Eshet (2002) that contemplated digital literacy as a broader concept. Specifically, Gilster (1997) explicitly observes that digital literacy is all about mastering ideas rather than
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