The 21st century has created an environment where the very meaning of the expression “to be literate” has come to mean much more than it did in the past. Literacy still encompasses the traditional reading, writing, and numeracy, but now includes visual and digital literacies that empower the individual to effectively communicate about, and use information (Jones-Kavalier & Flannigan, 2006). Literacy now incorporates an ability to critically evaluate information, communicate concepts, and express ideas in a variety of media, all mediated by computers. Earlier definitions of digital literacy tended to focus on technological skills (Bruce & Peyton, 1999; Davies, Szabl, & Montgomerie, 2002). However, the current focus has moved to a more pedagogical view that integrates technical, cognitive, and sociological skills (Eshet-Alkalai, 2004). What can the student do with information in digital form? The assumption now is that the student knows how to use the tools, and all that is needed is a focus on metacognitive and pedagogical needs. However, the case study presented in this article suggests that this is not so, and skills need to be integrated with meaningful tasks in order to become part of the lexicon of student learning modes.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Visual Literacy: The ability to critically understand and use images to articulate knowledge and communicate ideas.
Digital Natives: Term used to describe young people who have been brought up in a technologically-rich environment (generally thought to be those born around or after 1984).
Information Literacy: The ability to find, interpret, understand, evaluate critically, and repurpose information from a wide variety of media types.
Technological Literacy: The ability to understand and use (computer) technology to communicate, find and evaluation information, and articulate ideas. Additionally, a technologically literate person understands the impact of technologies on society. It should not be confused with technological competence which relates specifically to the skills needed to use software and/or hardware.
Branching Literacy: The ability to understand and use nonlinear forms of digital information. (Eshet-Alkalia, 2004 AU6: The in-text citation "Eshet-Alkalia, 2004" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. )
Digital Literacy: Digital literacy involves the ability to find, interpret, comprehend, understand, evaluate, restructure, and repurpose the wide variety of media types that can be stored, downloaded, and/or manipulated using computer hardware and software.
Emotional Literacy: The ability to operate in a digital world without being subjected to scams or fraud, while simultaneously deriving benefit from the advantages of digital communication (Eshet-Alkalia, 2004 AU7: The in-text citation "Eshet-Alkalia, 2004" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).