Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups. As society and technology change, so does literacy. Literacy has in the past been 'centred on language' but with the introduction and use of new technologies and visual texts into school literacies and home literacies, we now encounter, use and interpret multiple kinds of literacies which are embedded in multimodal texts.
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Digital literacy refers specifically to the range of skills, knowledge and competencies required to operate effectively in a world immersed in digital technologies. Digital literacy is becoming more integrated into all aspects of our daily lives - such as access to educational opportunities, health and medical services, banking and consumer services, e-government services, and for applying Green ICT solutions to global environmental challenges.
Twenty-first century learners need to...
Schools must be planning for how they can integrate the development of these sorts of skills/ understandings/competencies in their students. Digital literacy cannot be taught or learned in isolation from the digial technologies. Like any form of literacy, it is developed through an immersion experience, through constant and ongoing practice and exploration, through reinforcement of acceptable practices.
This is the challenge for schools – to provide these sorts of immersive environments and experiences, to make the use of digital technologies a part of the everyday learning experience, and to provide frameworks and feedback that ensures such literacies are developed and assessed.