Understanding Digital Literacy




Sarah Abrego

Literacy Practices

Digital literacy refers to reading and writing practices enacted in the digital space. Other practices do not fit the description as accurately. For example, computer literacy more so refers to the actual tools used and how to use them. As for internet and electronic-based, these terms are broader as they can refer to any device. Similarly, technology/technological based can refer to a lot of different devices. Digital literacy requires people to be able to read and write with some form of a sign system. This includes understanding coded web pages, images, animations, and videos.

Eyman and Haas

In the previous section titled “Digital” of Eyman’s book, he breaks down the meaning of digital with the help of Angela Haas. Most of the time, people think of digital solely meaning or referring to something electronic or relating to some type of technology. However, Eyman and Haas bring up the meaning of digital as something involving one’s “digits.” Digitalis, the Latin word for digital, refers to fingers or toes, or coding of information. As such, digital itself can mean or relate to any material production of text including both print and electronic. Some examples include braille, the index system, the Dewey Decimal System, and Morse code.

In Eyman’s “Defining and Locating Digital Rhetoric,” the section titled “Digital Literacy” further explains this idea. Eyman states in this section that this concept “…goes beyond the textual and includes the effective use of symbolic systems, visual representations of language, and digital object manipulation.” As stated previously, digital refers to one’s digits. Literacy itself refers to the ability to read and write.


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