“Digital literacy is an important entitlement for all young people in an increasingly digital culture. It furnishes children and young people with the skills, knowledge and understanding that will help them to take a full and active part in social, cultural, economic, civic and intellectual life now and in the future.” Future Lab (2010) p.4.
The curriculum (2013) states that ‘computing ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use and express themselves and develop their ideas through information and communication technology at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.’ Doug Belshaw identifies that there are pre-literate behaviours and gestures involved in everything we do e.g. learning to play an instrument, using a computer or simply opening a book. Children are exposed every day to a wide range of different medias (e.g. books, comics, posters, email…etc) and they need to effectively decode the information in order to understand them. In Belshaws ‘Never-ending thesis’ (2013) he has identified eight essential elements of digital literacies (see picture below) each of the components are explained in more detail here: http://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/view/8017487?login=dajbelshaw&title=the-essential-elements-of-digital-literacies
“To be digitally literate is to have access to a broad range of practices and cultural resources that you are able to apply to digital tools. It is the ability to make and share meaning in different modes and formats; to create, collaborate and communicate effectively and to understand how and when digital technologies can best be used to support these processes.” Future lab (2010) p.4.
In a recently published newspaper article (November 11th 2013), Gurney-Read interviewed Mark Surman (Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation) and he argues that digital literacy skills are ‘as important as learning to read and write’. Surman highlights that being digitally literate is not simply being able to operate a computer ‘but actually understanding how the code and mechanics behind it work.’ At schools today coding is gradually being introduced into lessons for example: using software programmes like ‘Scratch’ to create animations and games. Jodie Lopez argues that ICT can be used to enhance the curriculum and engage pupils learning. In her website (http://www.gettingintoliteracy.com/) she encourages combining literacy skills with ICT skills. On the homepage she indicates how it benefits ALL pupils ‘the G&T students find that the access they are given to technologies and online audiences provides them with a platform for their achievements… Less able students have found that using ICT can be less daunting than being faced with a piece of blank A4 paper and a pencil.’ Gurney-Read (2013) states that ‘embedding digital literacy lessons and furthermore, social media across the curriculum certainly opens up a variety of educational tools for teachers’. However Mark Surman argues that it will be most challenging to teach trainee teachers about the concepts of digital literacy as many have to learn new skills.
Mark Surman: “If you don’t really understand how the digital world functions you’re really living in a world where you don’t have the creative and innovation skills that are going to be needed in the future economy.”
Belshaw, D. (2011-Present: last updated 6 February 2013). What is ‘digital literacy’? A Pragmatic investigation. . Available: http://neverendingthesis.com/index.php/Main_Page. Last accessed 20/11/2013.
DfE., (2013) Computing programmes of study: key stages 1 and 2. [online] DfE. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239033/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_Computing.pdf [Accessed 20th November 2013].
Futurelab., (2010) Digital Literacy Across the Curriculum. [online] Futurelab. Available at: <http://www2.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/handbooks/digital_literacy.pdf> [Accessed 20th November 2013].
Gurney-Read (2013) Digital literacy ‘as important as reading and writing’ [online] The Telegraph. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/10436444/Digital-literacy-as-important-as-reading-and-writing.html [accessed 20th November 2013].
Jodie Lopez: http://www.gettingintoliteracy.com/