The Digital Access Series: Defining Digital Literacy

What is digital literacy and how can we use it to include more people? One of the most defining features of work in the past two decades is the ability to use and process digital information. This may seem obvious, but having access to digital information is not the same as knowing how to use it. Understanding what digital literacy is will help more people apply it effectively in work, education and life.

Digital Literacy

There are several definitions for digital literacy, but according to US Digital Literacy, digital literacy is defined as “the ability to use digital technology, communication tools or networks to locate, evaluate, use and create information.” Developing these competencies among individuals shouldn’t be the only option, but implementing them continuously will provide a larger impact on their daily lives. Having the ability to understand different tools and platforms enables you to grow and learn.

Digital Skills

Another aspect of digital literacy is the ability to gain digital skills and compete in today’s economy. Within 10 years “77% of jobs” will require tech skills and this trend is shown to increase beyond that timeline. That is why digital skills and digital literacy go hand in hand. Having the “ability to use digital technology” to create information is vital to growth and progress.

Digital Inclusion

Being literate of digital technologies also enables people to be included in their workspace, home and communities. Having the ability to access and process information allows others to be part of our digital world that is part of our daily lives. According to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), digital inclusion is defined as “the activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, have access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). This include 5 elements: 1) affordable, robust broadband internet service; 2) internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user; 3) access to digital literacy training; 4) quality technical support and 5) applications and online content designed to encourage self-sufficiency.”

Digital literacy encompasses a broad range of skills and inclusion that is important in our digital world.

 

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