Sunday, July 29, 2012

Digital competence

In some ways last week's Digital Literacies meeting at JISC confirmed my suspicion, that our current terminology is reaching the end of its shelf-life. Nobody seems sure whether to yield to Paul Gilster, who probably has the longest standing definition, whether to go for a new definition (which one?), or whether to find a new term altogether. Predictably, I thought the literacy folk held the trump card in returning to fundamental questions about meaning and representation. Anusca Ferrari, with the European Commission perspective, explained how digital competence has become the key concept for them - partly because digital literacy has become tied up with issues of inclusion and exclusion. So once again literacy associates with a deficit! Reading some of the documentation (the JRC work and the latest JISC leaflet), I'm struck by the ways in which digital literacy/competence is constructed as: a) a constituent part of employability - enhance your CV, get a job, contribute to the economic future and b) an ingredient of new knowledge practices (much vaguer in definition but suggesting that the way we access, use, create and disseminate knowledge has changed). Ideas that are found in other iterations of digital literacy, such as creativity, participation, social change and citizenship are not so much in evidence here. What happened to the fun? Of course, that has to be excluded....

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