Digital Devices and Digital Culture

Digital Devices and Digital Culture

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3534-9.ch003
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Digital devices are now in our pockets and surround us in digital culture, connecting us across the world in real time. Technology continues to bring disruptive innovation to every part of life including education, work, home life, travel, hobbies, communication, news, entertainment, healthcare, and scientific research. The focus of this chapter is an overview of various hardware and software tools that are used for literacy (metaliteracy) with emphasis on choosing the best device for the purpose at hand. As devices are constantly upgraded and evolving, it becomes impossible to predict how long each device, whether smart phone, tablet, or computer, can serve us. More importantly, understanding the basic advantages and disadvantages of current digital devices will allow individuals to adapt and make the best future choices for metaliteracy in a metamodern world.
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“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” ---Arthur C. Clark’s Third Law

Digital devices have overtaken our lives and Pew Research Center (2018), a leader in Internet and technology research, reported that 95% of Americans now own a cell phone of some kind with 77% owning a smart phone. The preferred source of news for 96% of adults is online, whether on a mobile device, laptop or computer and the number of people reading news on a mobile device has tripled since 2013. Younger people tend to utilize mobile devices more often than older people and Generation Z (age 13- 22) are connected online with smart phones constantly (CGK, 2018).

This chapter addresses the challenges of changing hardware and software (devices and apps) through constant upgrades, format migration and developments such as cloud computing. While not an extensive study of every technology device, the chapter serves as an overview of current mainstream digital devices and how these devices relate to changing literacy. When evaluating and choosing devices, one must ultimately consider the “best tool for the job” in order to match the personal metaliteracy goals necessary for communicating in digital culture. Knowing when and where to use technology tools, both hardware and software applications, is a 21st century skill. The chapter includes a discussion of disruptive technology advocating the adoption of metaliteracy as the term embracing new media and digital devices. The ubiquitous use of mobile devices connecting us globally means we have choices of incoming and out-going information every hour of the day and night. Metaliteracy is always now a personal responsibility.



Technology has brought disruptive innovation, meaning the adoption of revolutionary inventions such as cloud computing and smart phones, to nearly every element of our lives in the past couple of decades. These innovative new technologies may be adopted quickly by some individuals and communities, while other groups (laggards) may move more slowly. Everett Rogers (2003) proposed the Diffusion of Innovations Theory in 1962, now published in a 5th edition, which explains the process of adopting a new technology through five stages: knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation, and confirmation. Adoption of digital devices requires individuals to progress through these adoption stages within a social system, through communication channels over time. Obviously, various social groups such as families, coworkers, friends, educational communities or online communities influence individuals in decision making about various digital devices and about Internet services and applications. Comparison of prices and understanding of available choices is complex as they constantly change.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Online Education: Courses designed for learning which are delivered on the Internet.

Disruptive Innovation: A new technology that revolutionizes a specific field, such as the Internet impacting education.

Internet of Things (IoT): The network of physical objects connected to the Internet and the communication that occurs between these objects, devices and systems.

Digital Divide: The gulf between those with access to computers, digital devices and the Internet and those without access as well as the education in how to use them.

Disruptive Technology: An invention that displaces an established technology changing the way things have been done or making them obsolete, such as the word processing applications on computers replacing the typewriter.

Competency-Based Education: A method of awarding credit to students based on self-paced mastery of knowledge and skills instead of the traditional structured “credit hours” given for time spent in class.

Artificial Intelligence: The theory and development of computer systems programmed through algorithmic sequences to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as speech recognition, decision-making, or visual perception.

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