Education Technology

Digital Literacy: The State of the Art


  • Bryan Alexander, President, Bryan Alexander Consulting, LLC


Bryan began by talking about the NMC’s Horizon Project Strategic brief…

In 2016, we interviewed all the members of the NMC membership for quantitative and qualitative responses.

Definitions of literacy based on A/B testing:

  • Cultural
  • Cognitive
  • Constructive
  • Communicativve
  • Civic
  • Critical
  • Creative
  • Confident

The 7 Elements of Digital Literacies

  • Media literacy
  • Information literacy
  • Digital Scholarship
  • Learning Skills
  • ICT literacy
  • Career & Identity management
  • Communications and Collaboration

Mozilla Web Literacy

  • Problem-Solving
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration

UNESCO Media & Information Laws of Literacy

Much longer, more political definitions I can’t quite capture as they’re so long. Highlights the difference¬†between production vs. creation

Common Elements

  1. Media literacy > Info literacy > digital literacy
  2. Technical, social and personal capacities
  3. Learners as social, participatory makers

What skill is most important to you? CRITICAL THINKING! Creativity and Problem-solving are right up there, too. Very few digital literacy programs actually exist. Typically, responsibility for this is embodied in a single individual on campus. Conclusion: a university-wide approach is needed.

Literacy Types We Derived from Survey

  1. Universal literacy: basic familiarity with using basic digital tools
  2. Creative literacy: universal literacy, infused with more challenging technical skills (coding, animation, etc.), along with digital citizenship and copyright knowledge.
  3. Literacy across disciplines: different disciplines use different types of tech that are specific to those disciplines.

What Else Should We Add

  • Infographics
  • Data literacy
  • Inc. info and media lit in universal
  • Cyberbullying
  • Privacy
  • Awareness of data used by marketers

Key Findings: Conclusions

  • Should be institutions that provide this kind of information; tech runs at a rapid pace.
  • Implementations should be strategic, i.e. include the whole campus.
  • Students are much more present as makers – make this a part of the pedagogy.
  • Industry partners should be leveraged to prepare students for life outside of school
  • Collaboration across domains is a must
  • Critical social-political engagement
  • Curricula for different areas require different frameworks for implementation of technical literacy; there are also striking differences between regions.
    • Europe: capacities; national & continental frameworks
    • Africa: job skills, economic growth
    • Meddle East: media literacy
    • US: decentralized learning

Where Do We Go From Here?

  • Dealing with fear of fake news
  • Social crisis mode
  • We need to take automation seriously
  • Don’t forget the old stuff!
  • Models of trust

By Paul Schantz

CSUN Director of Web & Technology Services, Student Affairs. husband, father, gamer, part time aviator, fitness enthusiast, Apple fan, and iguana wrangler.

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