Before the digital literacy, there was a body of prudent world relating to print literacy that are no longer relevant now. There was the use of the term literacy with the addition of prefix that were added with time like information literacy. The definition become incomplete the growing feeling of ideal contextualization of the term in 1960s when the visual nature of information continued to be created in the society (Morris 2018). Therefore, there was the formation of the term visual literacy that entails the ability of a person to integrate other senses beside the visual acuity in comprehending a media concepts and pictures (Bawden 2008). The advancement is essential for human beings and their ability to learn and comprehend concepts and ideas. For a case in point, people can interpret and discriminate visible symbols, objects, man-made and actions that they encounter in their surroundings, as a result, people can communicate conveniently and effectively with these competencies as well as appreciate the aesthetics of visual communication.
The print media has been overtaken by visual media. The preferences of the people in terms of what they buy and believe, recognize and desire, know and learn is influenced by their psyche of photograph they see. Therefore, visual literacy can be termed as the ability to create and communicate through images, decode and encode. Consequently, in the development, digital literacy refers to the capability of human being to acquire and use technique, knowledge, attitudes as well as personal attributes that entails ability to plan, evaluate and execute digital actions in finding remedies to real life situations.
Digital literacy is beyond any single definition since it involves complex contextual understanding that surrounds civic, creative, critical, constructive, communicative, confident, cognitive and cultural elements. In essence, digital literacy is the ability to assemble knowledge from a diverse sources of data for instance reading and making sense of no-sequential as well as dynamic information. In addition, a person is said to be digitally literate is they can make sense and are aware of the traditional tools in line with networked media (Kienhues & Bromme 2020). For example, a person can understand the culture of the people by observing their mannerisms and establish their beliefs and hence can interact with them with ease by responding in a dignified and emotionally matured way.
Digital literacy is an integrated model of skills that have been enriched with time. The evolution of digital literacy begun with photo-virtual literacy in 1990s they require cognitive skills to not only employ understand visual messages but also to think through them (Eshet 2004). The knowledge of the environment enhances the insightful interpretation of the visual images. A typical example of using photo-visual knowledge in digital literacy is the interpretation of graphic user interface as well as playing computer games where instructions are given through graphical representation of icons and symbols (Bawden 2008). Therefore, success in photo-visual literacy is mark by intense memory and strong intuitive thinking that is associated with the interpretation images. After visual literacy was the creation of reproduction literacy that involved the duplication of creative materials. The era is characterized by the reproduction of academic work through editing visual, audio tapes and texts.
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Importance of digital literacy
Digital literacy is instrumental because it has transformed labor market by creating both risks and opportunities hence necessitating the employees to have extra skills and knowledge. In essence, the concept can be look to be beneficial in three vantages; using tools interactively, acting autonomously and working with socially heterogeneous groups. Therefore, the skills and the knowledge that a persco9n will enable him to elevate the sustainable development goals, cohesion and justice, social welfare as well as personal well-being. In early 2000 in Bologna ns Lisbon, educationalists linked political objectives in education to higher education using the digital literacy project called tuning Educational Structures in Europe (TUNING) (Bejaković & Mrnjavac 2020). The central aim was to distinguish generic from subject specific competences. The framework distinguishes three competencies as crucial in transforming the education sector; interpersonal, instrumental and systemic competences.
Furthermore, the ability to integrate and make sense of variety of concepts has since the first time in Europe, enable citizens to decipher ideas hence improving their personal actualization through social inclusion, employability and active citizenship. The competences are essential in the knowledge based society (Bawden 2008). Digital literacy inculcate the need to factor in the traditional competences that ranges from numeracy, mother tongue fluency together with skills in foreign languages, science and technology. As such, digital literacy does not only create a balance society but it also enhances learning in civic education, entrepreneurship, initiative taking and cultural awareness and most importantly self-expression.
Problems Related to Digital Literacy
Digital literacy has a share of menace in the labor market with it tendency to reduce job opportunities for the people. The skills and knowledge are pertinent in the operation of machines hence increasing efficiencies by reducing costs and increasing production. In essence, the number that by industries and factories require is no longer huge as it was initially. Berger and Frey (2015) predicted a loss of 40-60% of the existing jobs in Europe due to automation. The robotic power that the machines have has rendered manpower irrelevant in a competitive job market. Unluckily, the problem is escalating with the high population growth experienced all over the world. Despite the fact that there are growing industries as result of industrialization, digital literacy has been on demand regarding other skills less valuable in recent past.
According to Bejaković & Mrnjavac (2020), there is a hint that millions of jobs are going to be lost as result of digitalization. Furthermore, digital literacy has created a polarized labor market where the employers created high affinity for skilled employees with high cognitive abilities. Therefore, the demand for low-skilled and middle workers whose input in the industry is purely manual work has greatly diminished hence creating crisis where the low class citizens are incapacitated. Digital literacy thereby creates a challenge to the upcoming generation since their parents cannot afford to sustain their well-being as result of unemployment.
Media and Information Literacy
Information literacy is the capability of a person to recognize the need for information as well as the ability to not only locate, evaluate but also the ability to use the information effectively (Bawden 2008). The endeavors can be made possible by the language and sound competences, fluency in information technology and critical reasoning and discernment. Therefore, it worth to note that information literacy has the power to initiates, sustain and extend a continuous learning process that require technology but not ultimately (Morris 2018). Media on the other hand refers to the central means of communication like the internet, publishing and broadcasting. Media and information literacy is thereby the ability to make use of the avenues where information are shared. It enables people to communicate deeply and efficiently through the internet.
The term information used to be termed as the ability to use as well as manipulate primary software packages. However, the meaning has continually changed to the process of finding, analyzing and evaluating data and material collected. According to Grand-Clement, et.Al (2017) any can create and disseminate content in the internet however it require information literacy to discern the material. There is growing need for skills and insightful and critical mind that can filter content and share real and factual information (Grand-Clement et al. 2017). Furthermore, critical and information literacy enable the people to properly document and get feedback that are sound and convincing by eliminating errors and deception in the media. Inquisitive skills brought about digital versatility and mental acuity bring about creativity and innovation in the manner in which people handle information at their disposal (Lankshear & Knobel, 2005). Information literacy also create autonomy in thinking. For example, literate people believe what they like to believe and as such respect the independence in others. They do not impose ideas and positions on others but rather convince them based on mutual benefit even though they could be supporting them assertively.
Real World Practices Using Digital Literacies
Digital literacy is essential in real life situations like retrieving data, processing data and sending mails. Retrieving information from the internet such as research content require literacy skills. For instance when searching content from the internet, researchers are supposed to discern the difference between real and factual data from the voluminous information found in the google and other research online content (Lankshea & Knobel 2005). In essence, without the insights and competences on information and media skills they cannot distinguish the data. Furthermore, processing information like creating posters and making sense of the content in the photos in them require literacy as well as sending mails in using computers and mobile phones. In searching for information like location of a place from the google and other mobile application require internet sharpness and skills like hypertext navigation and knowledge assembly (Lankshea & Knobel 2005). Therefore, information literacy and media competence is a crucial skill in the practical and contemporary aspects like searching for accommodation, food, culture and weather information hence filtering them to find relevance and usefulness.
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Labor MarketThe dynamics of the labor market has necessitated for employees who are not only versed with the literacy skills but resilient to the changes that are taking place (Bejaković & Mrnjavac 2020). The potential employees that are digitally versatile stand a chance to get jobs for their relevance in the industry. Most of the operations in the internet are undertaken through coding and encoding digital messages and signals hence labor should be well versed with such skills. In the other, literate people are able to process and contextualize information hence reducing the conflicts among the employers as result of emotional and cultural intelligence.
Furthermore, there are situations that necessitate working at work like the case of the pandemics such as COVID 19 that hit the world economically and socially. During such moments, tasks are completed at home and communicated or send through electronically enabled means. In addition, the workers get feedback while at home (Sally, 2020). The transactions are faster and convenient compared to the manual and physical interactions. Therefore, the market have shifted to provide in-service training to their employees while they are keen in looking for well-packaged workers technologically.
The need for such employees is also informed and motivated by the demand for proper data collection. For instance, in marketing salespersons would wish to get partners and buyers for their commodities thereby are required to ascertain the serious and reliable buyers from the mix of marketing and advertising data on the internet. Therefore, workers should smart and digitally informed to create content that is reliable, accurate and factual about the commodities hence effectively appealing to the buyers and business partners. The employers are not only keen and interested for technical skills but also the ability to process digital data.
Study of Media and Information Literacy
According to Grand-Clement, et. al (2017) student in all fields of study should have digital and professional literacy for them to be productive in their jobs in future and enable to graduate. The education systems in Europe has integrated the concepts in the curriculum while in some instance it is treated as a subject of its own. The communication skills as part of information literacy have been emphasized in scales of education. During learning, students need to analyze the relevance, validity and reliability of the information they acquire online. Therefore such skills are crucial especially where voluminous data is required. In as much information literacy when studied in school, is blurred by the fact the concept that it is wide hence no one can claim full competencies of the information competence.
Digital literacy is part and parcel of the contemporary world where communication and marketing strategies and initiatives are done in the internet. The students, employers and the workers alike are supposed to integrate the ideas, images and technical signals in order to understand and communicate effectively. For instance, students should learn skills to acquire, analyze and interpret data based on relevance, accuracy and reliability while employers are keen and affiliated with to digitally versatile workers. The workers on the other hand, are challenge by the dynamism in the labor industry that require them to have such skills in order to deal with marketing and advertising content. In my opinion, digital skills are crucial in the communication particularly professional interaction. The ability to process information accurate and interpret appropriately creates cultural and emotional intelligence pertinent in workplace relationship. Furthermore, sending mails and acquiring information in the internet are among the basic skills and knowledge that each person should learn to survive in the 21th century given the technological and digital advancement that have taken shape in the country. Therefore, digital skills should be stressed in the education system to capture the requirement of the future job market that predictably will necessitate ICT literacy in applications and use of digital services.
Bawden, D. (2008). Origins and concepts of digital literacy Preview the document. Digital literacies: Concepts, policies and practices, 30(2008), 17-32.
Bejaković, P., & Mrnjavac, Ž. (2020). The importance of digital literacy on the labour market Preview the document. Employee Relations: The International Journal, 42(4), 921-932.
Eshet, Y. (2004). Digital literacy: A conceptual framework for survival skills in the digital era. Journal of educational multimedia and hypermedia, 13(1), 93-106.
Figure 1.0: https://unsplash.com/photos/-dNCKf4zs3YFigure 1.1:https://unsplash.com/photos/t0Lc7M82qKo
Grand-Clement, S., Devaux, A., Belanger, J., & Manville, C. (2017). Digital learning: Education and skills in the digital age Preview the document. RAND corporation and Corsham institute.
Kienhues, D. & Bromme, R. (2020). General Literacy in a Digital World. Springer, Boston, viewed on 1 September 2020, < https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_45>.
Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2005). Digital literacies: Policy, pedagogy and research considerations for education Preview the document. Paper presented at the Plenary address given at the ITU Conference, Oslo.
Morris, W. (2018). ‘Why it is important to be Digitally Literate in the 21st Century’, Literature School, viewed 1 September 2020, < https://medium.com/literate-schools/why-it-is-important-to-be-digitally-literate-in-the-21st-century-583000ac8fc0>.
Sally, H. (2020). ‘Business Literacies and the Future of Work’, UTS Online Subject 21900, lecture notes, UTS, Sydney, viewed 1 September 2020, <https://canvas.uts.edu.au/courses/15476/pages/w2-literacies-required-for-the-future-of-work?module_item_id=330474>.