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Digital Literacy: Welcome

Introduction

One of the Staffordshire Graduate attributes is to be a Life Long Learner with the capability to be technologically, digitally and information literate and, on leaving the University, able to apply these skills to a range of life experiences

This guide helps to explain what is meant by digital literacy and provides information on how the Academic Skills team within Information Services can help support students in developing these skills, and help staff to embed digital literacy into their modules.

What is digital literacy?

There are many definitions of Digital Literacy but one of the best summaries of the skills involved comes from Jisc who define Digital Literacy as:

"those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society"

These capabilities are wide ranging and can mean skills ranging from basic computer competence and the ability to use the Internet, to understanding how to make best use of Library resources and other web-based tools for writing, critical thinking and reflection; knowing how to communicate appropriately both online (through a range of media) and in person; and understanding their digital identify. It also involves the ability to keep up to date by evaluating and adopting new technology and developing new skills as necessary.

More information:  Jisc Developing Digital Literacies programme

Why is digital literacy important?

JISC believe that 90% of new jobs will require excellent digital skills, and that employers value graduates who display such skills as communicating effectively using a range of digital media and critically evaluating the validity and reliability of online information

(JISC,  2013:  http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/developingdigitalliteracies.aspx)

Therefore improving digital literacy is essential  for enhancing employability.   Even if students already feel confident that they have these skills, technology changes quickly, so it is important to continue to develop skills.

Being digitally literate will help students while studying.  Good digital literacy skills will help you:

  • find and use appropriate informationand resources for your studies your studies
  • organise your time using appropraite tools
  • find tools to communicate with other students and your tutors
  • develop personal networks

 

Information Literacy and Digital literacy

Digital Literacy is closely linked with other learning literacies, such as : 

Information Literacy
Media Literacy
Visual Literacy
ICT Literacy

In particular Digital Literacy overlaps with and adds to Information Literacy:  "knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner." (CILIP)

Both are underpinned by critical thinking and evaluation, and so are essential to helping to develop the skills and attributes needed in today's digital information age.

Digital Literacy: some key resources

The following resources, which are mainly from the Jisc Developing Digital Literacies programme,  will help you understand more about digital literacy and how it impacts on both you and your students.