Reflections on Topic 1: Digital literacies

The spectrum of diverse topics in digital literacies encompasses massive information regarding dissemination of data and usage of electronic devices and materials for online learning activities with the aim on advancing and/or acquiring educational knowledge. The wide accessibility of the internet has enable practices in digital literacies to be predominantly common among educators, facilitators, suppliers of education, and learners of all kinds. The term “digital literacies”, although it seems contemporary, its usage, applications, and practices are quite widespread on different platforms of digital media sources and are accessible to all learners of different age groups. For example, entering the term “digital literacies” in google resulted in 488,000 results in 0.50 sec, highlighting popular web-sites such as  Digital Literacy – Wikipedia, US digital Literacy, Developing students’ digital literacy – Jisc, Digital Literacies Overview – Microsoft, just to name a few, which are enriched with abundant material and can be accessible by anyone of any age.

Components of digital literacies are certainly extensive and are interesting growing topics that offer different pedagogic opportunities for both learning and teaching. In the webinar by Sara Mörstell, leader of the Wikipedia Education program in Sweden and Education Manager at Wikimedia Sweden, she addresses digital literacies and their components in a conceptual manner. She points up that the influence of social platforms, such as google and Facebook, which are major source of information in where individuals engage to the maximum thereby analytical algorithms that customize their preferences, have made possible to set up online network architectures for digital learning and information. Certainly, higher interactivity and convincing information embedded within these platforms stresses that we live currently in a filter bubble, as the moderator Alastair Creelman from Mörstell webinar emphasizes it. Mörstell also explains how Wikipedia, a worldwide source of digital information, has become the most generally used tool for providing and acquiring knowledge and any kind of digital information within seconds. Besides these topics, Mörstell addresses the ethical responsibility that each contributor, in case of Wikipedia contributors who are mainly students, has as he/she enters information of interest. Contributors of Wikipedia supply massive contents of information sustained by sources and references that are reliable and valid – all which influences thousands of readers/learners. A similar search engine of this kind with specific targeted groups of individuals is google scholar. Herein, contributors have similar responsibilities to the online learning community as in Wikipedia. Google scholar is a mammoth search engine for digital information that is widely used by numerous scholarly audiences, particularly the scientific communities. In the recent years, google scholar has become the most conventional and useful source for gathering digital information by thousands of readers.

As aforementioned, digital literacies consists of many different tools and concepts for diffusion of digital information. In the guide titled “Developing digital literacies” by Jisc, it is highlighted that there are seven elements within the core of digital literacies: (1) information literacy, (2) digital scholarship, (3) learning skills, (4) ICT literacy, (5) career and identify management, (6) communications and collaborations, and (7) media literacy. Each of these elements has a myriad of material and resources to help educators to develop and implement digital literacy projects.

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Figure 1. Key elements of digital literacies

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Author: Natalia V Rivera

Hello, I am a senior postdoc at the Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet.

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