Hands typing on a laptop keyboard.

Am I Digitally Literate?




Juliana Hays

A Refresher on Literacy

Literacy is a term many of us have heard throughout our academic careers. The definition I was taught when first introduced to the word was, “the ability to read and write.” However, as a college student, the term has evolved. Literacy is the ability to communicate information through symbols.

Last semester in Dr. Friends English 2020 course, our first essay was to write a literacy narrative. Basically, I was to discuss how I developed a certain literacy over time. I chose to write about how I became literate in film. Over a period of time, I learned how to analyze films rather than just watch them. I also learned film lingo and the behind the scenes aspect of filmmaking.

There are a plethora of other literacies. Some are more obscure than others. For example, during our class discussion we talked about how walking through New York City is a literacy. When navigating the streets of NYC, it is important to put some pep in your step rather than strolling at a leisurely pace. For our course, writing for digital spaces, digital literacy is key.

What is Digital Literacy?

I would consider digital literacy to be the ability to use digital tools as a vessel to communicate information. For example, I am using WordPress in order to explain what I learned in this weeks reading and to convey my personal thoughts on the material. Many would argue that digital literacy is more elaborate than print literacy. To quote Eyman, “Digital literacy is more complex in some ways because it requires the user to be able to read and write with a number of sign systems (e.g., coded web pages, video, audio, image, animation), each of which has its own functional and critical requirements.” (pg. 45).

When creating the blog posts there are a several ways to get your message across. For instance, WordPress allows users to add images. This is a very useful feature that helps to further convey information. This blog post, as you can see, I decided to add an image of someone typing on a laptop keyboard. Now, if I decided to add an image of a dog on a unicycle, juggling bowling pins, that would have steered the audience away from the information I am trying to communicate. Not only is learning how to place an image on your blog post a learning curve, but choosing the right image is as well.

What Makes Someone Digitally Literate?

I would consider myself digitally literate. I am well versed in several word processors, and slideshow applications. I also know how to operate Windows. However, I am not literate in Excel or Sheets, nor do I know how to operate a Mac.

How can I be digitally literate when I do not know how to work all digital tools? Well, the tools I do know how to work I can work fairly well. I am able to convey information successfully. With the knowledge and skills I have gained over the years, it would not be as difficult to learn how to operate other digital tools. Now, if an alien dropped down from the sky and tried to make a blog post, that might be a different story.


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