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What Is Digital Literacy? - Definition & Example

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  • 0:04 Are You Digitally Literate?
  • 0:43 Definition
  • 2:20 Consuming Component
  • 2:50 Creating Component
  • 3:14 Communicating Component
  • 3:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Digital literacy is all about how you use, consume, and share digital data. In this lesson, you'll learn more about digital literacy, what it looks like and the different areas it encompasses.

Are You Digitally Literate?

It's Saturday and your day off, but there is still a lot to do. You need to find a couple of new recipes for a family get-together tomorrow, so you check out a few websites and blogs. You still have to put the finishing touches on a PowerPoint project due for work on Monday. Finally, you have several emails to return to people who have inquired about furniture you've listed for sale through online classified ads.

All of these tasks may seem like second nature in our 21st century, tech-savvy culture. The internet, search engines, email programs, blogs, and online videos have all contributed to our expanding knowledge and capabilities. Proper selection, use and understanding of these tools is a capability known as digital literacy.

Definition

Digital literacy is the ability to navigate various digital platforms and understand, assess and communicate through them. When you read a book on a Kindle, consider the accuracy of a news report linked in your social media newsfeed or create and share a YouTube video, you are displaying digital literacy. Digital literacy encompasses a wide range of ''new'' technology, even the technology you're using to access this lesson! Some signs of a digitally literate individual include being able to find the right tools to consume information and to share and create content for others.

Digital literacy is important because we live in a tech-dependent world. Today, you can buy movie tickets from your smartphone, read the news on a mobile tablet or take books with you to the beach on a digital e-reader.

We need to become digitally literate to keep up with the changing times. Encyclopedias, once a staple in an American home, have given way to Google searches. Making or confirming a doctor's appointment is now easier via text than calling directly. Finding resources to help complete a homework assignment or discover what's happening in town over the weekend can all be done with the click of a mouse or the tap of a screen.

In years past, people communicated through written letters, and this required strong reading and writing skills. We now communicate through email and text, which requires those same skills but also needs digital literacy skills as well. This makes digital literacy important not only for being successful in the workplace, but in society as well.

Dr. Hiller Spires, a professor of literacy and technology at N.C. State University, explains that digital literacy has three distinct components: consuming, creating and communicating.

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