Academic journal article Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

Digital Literacy: A Conceptual Framework for Survival Skills in the Digital Era

Academic journal article Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia

Digital Literacy: A Conceptual Framework for Survival Skills in the Digital Era

Article excerpt

        Digital literacy involves more than the mere ability to use
        software or operate a digital device; it includes a large
        variety of complex cognitive, motor, sociological, and emotional
        skills, which users need in order to function effectively in
        digital environments. The tasks required in this context
        include, for example, "reading" instructions from graphical
        displays in user interfaces; using digital reproduction to
        create new, meaningful materials from existing ones;
        constructing knowledge from a nonlinear, hypertextual
        navigation; evaluating the quality and validity of information;
        and have a mature and realistic understanding of the "rules"
        that prevail in the cyberspace. This newly emerging concept of
        digital literacy may be used as a measure of the quality of
        learners' work in digital environments, and provide scholars and
        developers with a more effective means of communication in
        designing better user-oriented environments. This article
        proposes a holistic, refined conceptual framework for digital
        literacy, which includes photo-visual literacy; reproduction
        literacy; branching literacy; information literacy; and
        socio-emotional literacy.

**********

In light of the rapid and continual development of digital technology, individuals are required to use a growing variety of technical, cognitive, and sociological skills in order to perform tasks and solve problems in digital environments. These skills are referred to in the literature as "digital literacy" (Gilster, 1997; Inoue, Naito, & Koshizuka, 1997; Lenham, 1995; Pool, 1997). Like any fashionable term, "digital literacy" has enjoyed a broad range of uses in the literature, from reference to technical aspects (e.g., Bruce & Peyton, 1999; Davies, Szabo, & Montgomerie, 2002; Swan, Bangert-Drowns, Moore-Cox, & Dugan, 2002), to cognitive, psychological, or sociological meanings (e.g., Gilster, 1997; Papert, 1996; Tapscott, 1998). The indistinct use of the term causes ambiguity, and leads to misunderstandings, misconceptions, and poor communication among researchers and developers involved in the processes of designing and developing learning digital environments (Norton & Wiburg, 1998).

Development of a more clear-cut conceptual framework may improve the understanding of the skills encompassed by the term "digital literacy," and provide designers of digital environments with more precise guidelines for effective planning of learner-oriented digital work environments (Hamburger, 2002). The present article proposes a new conceptual framework for the concept of digital literacy, incorporating five types of literacy: (a) photovisual literacy; (b) reproduction literacy; (c) information literacy; (d) branching literacy; and (e) socio-emotional literacy. Review of the literature and observation of users at work, as well as many years of experience in planning digital environments for children and adults, in both industry and academia, indicates that these types of digital literacy encompass most of the cognitive skills applied when using digital environments. Accordingly, this conceptual framework may enhance the understanding of how users perform with tasks that require the utilization of different types of digital skills.

The application of the proposed framework among users of digital environments was examined in preliminary empirical research (Eshet, 2002; Eshet-Alkalai & Amichai-Hamburger, 2002). Three groups of participants (10 high-school students, 10 university students, and 10 adults over age 30) were given assignments designed to test their ability to solve problems and perform tasks, each of which required a different type of digital literacy. The results of the research indicated that the conceptual framework contributes considerably to our understanding of how learners work in digital environments. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.