Exploring Digital Literacies

  1. Digital Confidence Profile:      Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 2.33.42 PM                                                                                                                                                               From my digital profile, I found out that I was comfortable about 4/6 of the segments. I was found to be competent in creating or innovating using online platforms, as well as teaching and learning.

           I agree with this, as I have never been exposed to different areas of online education. During school we used books more than the internet, in terms of finding information and studying, relying on notes more than anything. This ultimately led to me not exploring any sort of platforms, not having the knowledge or getting a chance to innovate or get creative with my work.

           When looking at the 4 Comfortable sections, such as usage, identity and communication, I expected to get these results. This is because I have been using the internet for around 9 years now, but using it for basics. Those basics included using Facebook, browsing Google, listening to music on Youtube, or writing essays using Word. And so I’m used to using the internet for entertainment or basic work, yet I’m not an expert at using all those different tools. In terms of Identity, I was always very aware of how I presented myself on the internet, especially as I had an older brother who was very aware of all this with the new technologies being introduced to the world. I guess I see this as my strength, as privacy is extremely important, and I see many friends paying the price for not hiding certain information from the public. I was lucky to understand the importance of this from an early age, which allowed me to grow up with an even greater sense of responsibility.  

           However, I would still like to learn about all the different digital literacies, and develop my digital skills. I am most interested in learning more about how to use the internet to learn more about certain subjects, as well as to potentially teach people or reach a large audience safely for teaching purposes. I hope getting to develop my skills in this area will allow me to innovate and change my learning patterns at university, to help me be more efficient and aware.

2. Digital Literacies for Online Learning:                                                                                                   Defining Digital Literacies:                                                                                                                      From Wikipedia’s definition of digital literacies, I understood that it basically meant to be able to fully use digital tools effectively for different purposes such as expression, communication and more. However, I didn’t like their definition as it was too complicated, relating it to too many concepts (like delving into Paul Gilster’s work) all in one thought process. This website gave my favourite definition, by making it short but sweet, pinpointing the exact definition, which was repeated in many other websites as well; that digital literacy is the ability to use technologies to communicate information, using both cognitive and technical skills.

                      Digital Skills on the other hand, according to this website, means to simply have any skill relating to being digitally literate. They stated that these skills could vary from either finding your score on a game or to be able to code a website. This surprised me as I went in before searching for the term thinking it meant being an expert, just because of the impression I got from the name of the term. But what I now understand is that it plainly means being able to use whatever digital tool you want effectively; to understand how it works and be able to operate it.

                       Having said this, digital fluency is not as simple as the previous terms. In a nutshell, “being fluent requires competencies and capabilities that go beyond the skill level.” Even though this blog presents this adequate definition, it starts off with explaining it’s complexity due to it’s different combinations and several ways a person can describe fluency, according to what it means to them (which is evident as there is no one set definition for it like the other terms).

                      Therefore, when coming to compare the 3 terms to each other, we can see clear distinctions. My favourite description was found on this blog, where the difference between being digitally skilled and fluent is portrayed visually. They compare the terms to someone’s ability to use a nail and hammer to build a house. A digitally skilled person would reach the intended outcome; a simple house. While a fluent person would build a more complicated, prettier and larger house.

                       From reading ‘What is Digital Literacy?’ by POMO, I can tell that it is not a reliable source because it is a blog, meaning that it is probably not academic. Especially as the blogger, Lisa Harrison, is a person working in digital marketing (found on her twitter), but we do not know much else about her. Also, throughout the blog she did not source any of her information, so we cannot be entirely sure that what she’s saying is reliable.

                       I noticed that most of the definitions and explanations I found were not from formal websites, meaning that the sources were not very academic. The websites I found were mostly blogs, written by people who have been active in the digital world and understand the concepts well. The reason for not finding any formal websites defining digital literacies is because it is considered a ‘new literacy‘. This means that it is part of a group of literacies introduced recently to the world due to digital technology developments. This allows it to be split into many different sections or sub-literacies, making it a complex term, which scholars each explain differently according to their experiences and studies.    

              Digital Skills versus Literacies:                                                                                                             The article written by Dr.Maha made me realise how digital literacy relates to deeper issues, such as the Arab Spring; an important event for me as an Egyptian. I enjoyed reading the article, especially after having researched the topic of digital literacies properly, as it allowed me to link it to real-life and reality.

                   It was also interesting to use the Hypthes.is extension. Reading what other people around the world thought about the points in the article was intriguing, especially regarding the Arab Spring. A user went on to explain that to them they saw the influence of digital literacy with Brexit as well as the US Elections, which is fascinating to think about: how powerful the online world is, to the extent that it can effect politics and the future of a whole country. It makes me wonder how the world would now be without the digital world, would politics be the same? Would people find other ways to communicate on the various topics now discussed online?

3. Stations | All Aboard                                                                                                                                       Blogging:                                                                                                                                                           I chose this specific topic seeing as in this course we mainly use blogs. I have never used, or knew anything about creating and writing blogs.. So I would like to learn more about this, to develop my blogging skills and hopefully become a blogging literate! 🙂 I also want to generally increase my knowledge about the usage of blogs, seeing as its a growing platform, where more people are using it worldwide, containing versatile topics from fashion to food to politics.

                           The main thing I learnt from this ‘station’ was the difference between a blog and a journal. I never even thought that there was a difference, but of course I was wrong. They are similar in that they are both ways of sending out information, but a blog is more concerned about people, or in this case ‘bloggers’ communicating with each other through the comments sections, collaborations and even vlogs (video blogs). While journals are more about recording events; on-going reflections.  

               Create & Innovate: Design Thinking                                                                                                   Seeing as I was rated ‘competent’ in Creativity & Innovation on my Digital Confidence Profile, I thought I would visit this particular station to teach me skills which would prove useful to me throughout university and help me develop those skills to be able to use for my career after university, to be able to turn challenges into opportunities.

                     What particularly stood out to me from this station was the fact that, “innovation is born from the clash of ideas”. I love this phrase just because it proves that in order to create or to develop anything you need to experience things, get different ideas and perspectives: to go out of your comfort zone. If you stick to a mechanical way of developing, you won’t be able to experience proper growth where you learn from your mistakes, where you fail and ultimately succeed; which is the whole point of IDEO U and design thinking in general. It’s this innovative and creative kind of mindset that they support.

Exploring Digital Literacies

3 thoughts on “Exploring Digital Literacies

  1. Fadila, thank you for this blogpost. You have an engaging writing style, and you do something that I consider really useful in blogging: you make some of your thinking process transparent to the reader. I learned a lot about you while reading this, and it gave me ideas for future class sessions, so thank you! Given our previous class discussion about citizenship, I wondered if we might want to discuss how you all felt about the Arab Spring both from a citizen’s perspective but also from the role of technology… I’ll see what others have written 🙂
    You’re on Twitter, right? Would it be OK with you if I shared your blogpost on Twitter with my international network? Would you like me to use your Twitter handle?

    Liked by 1 person

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