Digital Literacy Education for Digital Inclusion

Digital Literacy Education for Digital Inclusion

Seunghyun Lee (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch208

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Information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as computers and the Internet have widely diffused around the world and become an essential part of everyday life. The use of ICTs at school, work, and home has been increasingly common, transforming everyday activities and shaping a major portion of life experience. In the digital age, basic knowledge and skills in use of ICTs as well as access to them are imperative for individuals to communicate with others, work, personally develop, and gain information. ICTs are becoming an integral element of contemporary society and social change and modifying human interaction and relations (Bure, 2005).

The importance and ubiquity of the Internet and computers raises a wide range of discussions about the nature, notion, education, and various aspects of digital technology-based knowledge and skills, digital literacy, which is vital to develop in the digital world (ETS, 2007). Many people gain transformative benefits from knowing how to perform various tasks on the Internet and computers. However, a great number of people still do not have consistent, quality access to those media, and lack digital literacy (Orrick, 2011). They do not know how to use computers and the Internet, and lag behind in the digital world, thus they do not obtain opportunities for the benefits from knowing it. In addition, they do not gain equal opportunities of taking digital advantages that can enhance their daily life. The inequality in use of ICTs for a wide variety of activities has raised concern about the digital divide, digital literacy gap, and digital exclusion (Seale, 2009; Selwyn, 2006; van Dijk, 2006).

Digital literacy is an important concept and has major implications for current education, culture, society, and community development in the digital age (CRILT, 2009). The development of digital literacy is necessary for people to find information, perform basic tasks, communicate and connect with others, expand social networks online, and gain diverse digital opportunities such as businesses and civic engagement online (Bure, 2005; Orrick, 2011). More importantly, digital literacy education in informal settings for those who are the digitally illiterate is perceived as an important tool to bridge the digital divide and cultural enclaves (Hobbs, 2010), and to contribute to digital inclusion. Digital literacy education for digital inclusion is a crucial tool to offer an equal opportunity and reduce the digital inequality (van Dijk, 2006). This study aims to explore the issues of the digital literacy gap and digital divide and the impacts of digital literacy education (DLE) on the development of digital literacy for those who have a lack of digital literacy. This study also explores the integration of digital literacy education into a digital technology community center.

Key Terms in this Chapter

ICTs: Information and communication technologies such as computers and the Internet.

Digital inclusion: An equal digital opportunity for access to and use of ICTs and benefits from the use of ICTs.

Digital Divide: The disparity between those who have access to computers and the Internet and those who do not have.

Digital Literacy Education: The education to develop the learners’ knowledge and skill construction process and use of ICTs.

Digital Literacy: The necessary digital skills and knowledge in use of ICTs.

Digital Literacy Gap: The disparity in the digital literacy levels.

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