As a society, literacy is only categorized as one form: print. But, as technology keeps evolving and the writing community grows, literacy has taken many forms and distinctions.
Digital literacy is one, of many, different forms of literacy. It is more of a complex version of print literacy. In order to access digital literacy, you’d need to understand the technology and all that comes with it. Though this is known by many, scholars included, some still push against this statement.
A Scholar’s Take
When deciding to intrust literacy via digital means, scholars tend to divide into two different sides. There are scholars who would like to discover new ways to guide literacy instruction. Then there’s opposing side.
The opposing side of digital literacy refuses to couple the word literacy to forms of media. Their reasoning is the dilution that it causes to print literacy. A good example of a scholar who refuses to couple the word literacy with anything other than print literacy is Gunther Kress.
In Defining and Locating Digital Rhetoric, written by Doug Eyman, Kress is used as an example when referencing the distinction of literacy. Gunther Kress is quoted as “differentiating literacy as oriented to writing”, while also acknowledging technology has made this distinction rather difficult.
Ulmer’s Distinctive Solution
Electracy is a suggestion made by Gregory Ulmer, in Teletheory, to be the designation for digital literacy. Ulmer backs his suggestion by stating that electracy can be used as a tool to clearly see “the difference between media literacy”.
Electracy isn’t viewed as a requirement, but as a tool for understanding literacy as it should always be. While many may claim that literacy only functions in print, Eyman fights against it. He writes about the many forms literacy can take and how they can be used as a tool rather than the main event.