Digital Competency

I hate it when someone takes a term I think I understand and links it with something else in a way that confuses me. “Literacy” is a good example. It seemed to me that there used to just be “literacy.” Now there is “computer literacy” “media literacy”, “digital literacy”, and “information literacy.”

What confuses me even more is when the same new term seems to mean multiple things. A link (Mandate for Digital Literacy) that I encountered today is a good example. Digital literacy is described in this source as the computer skills competency of an individual to function in the workplace. This link, describing the work of the Global Digital Literacy Council, commercial enterprises (e.g., Certiport , and ISTE is pressing for “digital literacy” standards and assessments.

Here is what confuses me – what this group describes sounds like what I understand to be “computer literacy” – hardware, software basics, productivity apps (word processing, spreadsheet), Internet basics, etc. “The GDLC, or Global Digital Literacy Council, is playing a lead role in the development of desktop application standards and professional competence certifications, and is garnering the collective wisdom of experts worldwide to help drive work towards a general Information Technology (IT) literacy definition.”

On my bookshelf is a 1997 book entitled “digital literacy” (Paul Gilster). Is this book about hardware, software, and productivity apps? No. It is about it about Internet “information” and what makes this source of information unique and what skills are necessary to use information in this form productively.

Maybe this is one of those “political coalitions” attempting to work together to get their skills listed among the required standards.

Are these skills related? Well, kind of, but so is writing and penpersonship.

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