I’m currently in the latter stages of my Ed.D. thesis focusing on the concept of ‘digital literacy’. It’s been a long haul – 6 years (spanning 4 jobs, 2 supervisors, and the birth of 2 children) working part-time in a quickly-moving digital world and, to be honest, I’m rather glad it’s coming to an end.
One of the reasons I’m glad that I’ll finish my doctoral thesis this year is that it’s clear just how much we need some alignment and operationalisation around the term ‘digital literacy’ rather than the endless squabbles, petty niggling and swamping of agendas by large organizations. I outlined these problems in 2009 and, unfortunately, they haven’t improved any. The fact that we’re still debating what is meant by the traditional term ‘literacy’ says a lot about how far we’re able to get on with operationalising notions of ‘digital literacy’ in the current climate. I’ll be explaining my notion notion of a ‘trajectory of ambiguity’ in an upcoming journal article: discussions of ‘digital literacy’, I believe, have become mired in endless debates half-way through this trajectory.
During my studies I’ve read countless reports and watched a myriad of presentations claiming (or at least assuming) some kind of authority when explaining what constitutes digital literacy. Many of these elide at least two agendas – usually e-safety or media literacy – with almost all of them missing the main point: digital literacy isn’t the ‘aftermath’ of literacy at all.
We don’t need to be told what digital literacy is, we need to discuss, build consensus, start aligning around a reasonable definition. Granted, there might be a difference in emphasis here and there, but only through such alignment will we able to start operationalising the concept of ‘digital literacy’ and use it for the benefit of learners.
And ulimately, after all the academic churning and grandstanding, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Image CC BY-NC Pulpulox !!!