In everyday uses of the word, literacy associates with being able to read and write. But making meaning, by locating, organizing, and understanding information are also implied, along with critical engagement. So literacy involves both the production and consumption of meaning. Reading Canada’s Information and CommunicationsTechnology Council’s white paper on digital literacy is interesting in this light. Just add the words digital and technology and you come to their definition Digital Literacy which is 'taken to mean the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, and create information using digital technology for a knowledge-based society. It involves a working knowledge of current high-technology, and an understanding of how it can be used. Digitally literate people can communicate and work more efficiently, especially with those who possess the same knowledge and skills.'
As a Canadian researcher looking at Digital Literacies I found the ICTC White Paper lacking in the areas of digital production and critical awareness. (Not too keen on the combative language either: the notion that DL "can be acquired,polished, and wielded as a competitive weapon". Right now Digital Literacy is a priority area for our major funding bodies, especially SSHRC. Does Britain have a similar report or White Paper? I was in the UK last week and was quite horrified at how prescriptive the English curriculum is there. Teachers in Canada have much more flexibility. I was presenting on Digital Poetry and there were a few real resisters in the group.
I should have mentioned that we met at UKLA in Swansea a few years back and that my grad students in my Digital Literacies course are following your blog and might post a comment or two.
Hello Janette, I remember meeting you. Thanks for your critique,but as always with these things policies create opportunities, so it's good that SSHRC is funding stuff. The UK's last offering was Digital Britain and this had a rather mixed reception. Gove, the current incumbent, has been making some noises about technology recently - we'll see what becomes of that.
And, yes, the English curriculum sometimes feels like a straight jacket. So cool to know your grad students check my blog. Comments always welcome!
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