Digital Literacy Debate

Digital literacy notes

Picture credit CollaboraiveSociability by vaXzine

I’ve put up a wiki to help organize attendees, resources, schedule and outputs from the Digital Literacy debate that will be taking place online, in Elluminate, on Friday 27 March 2009, at 1pm GMT.

The event arose from conversations on Twitter, around the meaning and definition of digital literacy, and frustration about getting it on the national agenda. I firmly believe that we need to be equipping our learners – whatever age they may be – with the skills to not only take advantage of the information and opportunities offered by technology, but to take an active role in shaping and creating those opportunities – social, educational, political, civic, and economic.

At the end of January 2009 the UK Government published the Digital Britain Interim Report consultation. One look at the official site (more PDF’s than you can shake a small wood at) and the accompanying discussion site – basically a blog post and a lot of comments – may be enough to convince many that this is a timely debate.

Fortunately the UK’s social media credibility was ably defended by two user-generated projects – Tony Hirst and Joss Winn‘s Digital Britain Interim Report site, which enabled users to reply paragraph by paragraph to the consultation text, and then the dynamic duos Fake Digital Britain Report, which allowed users to collaboratively write their own, alternative document.

Although the Digital Briton interim report does outline a commitment to actions to “ensure fairness and access, with universal availability and promotion of skills and media literacy”, the practical debate tended to focus on and stall over the technical issues of universal internet access and minimum speed (aka the 2Mbps debate).

The purpose of this discussion is to try focus on and move forward on issues surrounding Digital Literacy. The focus of the debate will be the UK education sector, but international attendees and contributors are more than welcome. Recently, Digital Literacy has gained a lot of traction within  academic and educational technology discussion within the UK, and is generally thought of as A Good Thing. However, some important questions have yet to be addressed.

  • Is Digital Literacy the right term to be using? What are the alternatives?
  • What is Digital Literacy? can we agree a succinct and useful definition?
  • What are the constituent parts of a robust and meaningful Digital Literacy education?
  • How is Digital Literacy currently being addressed in the UK, with in the schools, Further Education, Adult, Community, Life Long & Work Based Learning, Higher Education and other learning sectors?
  • How do we support a national discussion about Digital Literacy?

These aren’t all the questions that need addressing. Please feel free to add those you think are missing over at the wiki, so that we can draw up the agenda to best reflect the interests of attendees.

If you haven’t used Elluminate before, you’ll need to download Java and make sure your speakers work with the platform! It’s pretty easy, but needs to be taken care of in advance. If you’d like to speak (rather than just listen and use the text chat) you’ll also need a microphone. A webcam would be great & will let us see you. Instructions, Java check and download available here:

More very soon. In the meantime, please do head over to the wiki, sign up, and feel free to  add suggestions and resources.

2 thoughts on “Digital Literacy Debate

  1. A much needed debate, indeed.
    I think my limited knowledge does not fully legitimate me to contribute to the wiki, but (with your permission) I’d like to share here my last ramblings about the subject which, deal, specifically, about whether the concept still applies.
    “Towards a comprehensive definition of digital skills” (
    (please feel free to delete the comment if it falls in your category of “self-promotion” 🙂

  2. Thanks a lot for this comment & I hope that you overcome your modesty and do contribute to the wiki & debate – the value will come from the variety of contributors backgrounds and perspectives and from the conversation that ensues 🙂 & thanks for pointing up your post.

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