Digital Literacy – It’s About More Than AccessIn today’s always on, always connected world it would be easy to believe that owning a smart phone or a computer makes one digitally literate, unfortunately that’s far from the truth. This session will explore what it means to be digitally literate and why digital literacy matters.I have a Masters in Information Resources and Library Science from the University of Arizona. I am currently working on a Masters in Public Policy and Administration from Iowa State University. I serve as an ALA Councilor-at-Large, on the ALA Office of Information Technology and Policy or OITP Advisory Committee and as a member of OITP’s Digital Literacy Taskforce. I also serve as a member of the library advisory board for Pew Internet’s research on libraries in the Digital Age. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericskiff/372905058/
Where did the myth of the digital native come from? In 2001 Marc Prensky wrote a series of articles describing people who were born after 1980 as “digital natives” . He accredited this group of people with an innate ability to use new technology. Technologies such as video games, computers, the internet, mobile devices. Many others took up the language and the idea of the digital native began to spread. The idea is that this group of people, the digital native, are fluent in technology and the skills necessary to use it well. They are digitally literate in a way that older generations can’t be. http://www.flickr.com/photos/barabeke/333713092/
*Poll audience on membership in groups* Ask if they agree with the group they fall into. I’m using this chart because the dividing line for digital natives is often drawn along generations. So let’s look at these age groups on their use of technology. We’ll be using the names and groups from the 2010 “Generations” report from Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.Theselabels are based on generation labels are the names introduced by William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book, Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069 (Perennial, 1992). The exception being the break down of “Younger Boomers” and “Older Boomers,” Pew Internet Project’s “Generations” made the distinction between Younger Boomers and Older Boomers because enough research has been done to suggest that the two decades of Baby Boomers are different enough to merit being divided into distinct generational groups.
Based on the idea of digital natives this data will probably not surprise anyone. Millennials and GenX lead in all categories from using social networking sites to game playing to reading blogs.
This data might be a litte bit of a surprise to you. We know that older internet users are still more likely to search for certain types of information online. Generation X leads in visiting government websites followed closely by younger boomers and older boomers. Millennials come in only slightly ahead of the silent generation. We can see that older generations are more likely to go online for financial information, and in fact the Silent Generation leads with 44% of users using the internet for financial information. *story about grandpa’s computer?**ask audience other reason older generations might dominate for government sites*Gov’t offices going paperless – directing users online or to the public library *allow for audience stories*
It is no secret that the use of social media is increasing across all generations. This chart from the Pew Generations report shows the increases between 2008 and 2010. Increases Younger Boomers 150 %Older Boomers 377%Silent generation 209%G.I. 300%Gen X 72% increase
So we know that this group, these digital natives use technology more than other groups but does that really make them digital natives? After all we know that being digitally fluent or digitally literate is about far more than access to technology, its about using that technology well. How can we have a generation of digital natives when one third of the US population or 100 million Americans do have home broadband access?Research shows that the access to digital technologies by generations assumed to be digital natives is often drawn along lines socio-economic status, social class, race, gender and geography. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bostworld/2151256995/
We need to stop focusing so much on the ability to use the technology and instead focus on the literacies created by the technology Access to technology alone will not make one digitally literate. Nor does comfort with a mobile phone, computers, or social media mean one is digitally literate. Much of the literate on digital natives is based anecdotal evidence. Even the data I showed from Pew is about accessing and using technologies, it does not indicate proficiency or the ability to use well or safely. "It's not just about using the tools, it's about using the tools effectively http://www.flickr.com/photos/wafer/5533140316/Fastest growing group of facebook users – women over 55PasswordsSpamPhishingScams“
66 million Americans are withoutbasic digital literacy skills -Usdan 2012
You keep using that word.I do not think it means what you think it means.
Digital Literacy? Media Literacy Visual Literacy Computer Literacy?Technology Literacy?Information Literacy?
Digital Literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicateinformation, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. -ALA Digital Literacy Taskforce (2011)
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