Digital Literacy in the World of Digital Natives

Digital Literacy in the World of Digital Natives

Cicek Coskun
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3201-0.ch028
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Digital literacy includes use of technological communication devices and being conscious while using them and to benefit from accurate and useful information and to produce accurate and useful information in the digital world. This study is an attempt to understand the digital literacy of the digital natives who are currently undergraduate students. The objective is to try to understand how they add new media communication devices to their education and to their daily lives. A qualitative field research was conducted with 28 undergraduate students at Baskent University, Ankara. With this aim, the concept of digital literacy was examined first, and the concept of digital natives was examined second. Finally, results of the field research were analyzed. According to the results of the study, it was seen that participants of the study have digital literacy in the context of using new communication technologies. But they need guidance on which digital resources they can use in the fields in which they take education.
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Digital Literacy

The concept of digital literacy was first used by Paul Gilster (1997) in his book. The terminology of the concept is wide-ranging, and it was studied by various authors such as Bawden and Robinson (2002), Martin (2006) and Kope (2006). With the development of technology, the concept of digital literacy has gained importance1. Digital literacy might be defined as:

the awareness, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital devices and facilities to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, analyze and synthesise digital resources, construct new knowledge, create media expressions, and communicate with others, in the context of specific life situations, in order to enable constructive social action; and to reflect upon this process (DigEuLit Project in Martin, 2006, p.19)

The “literacy” term is used as “competence” or “skill” in the relevant literature (Buckingham, 2008, p. 75). Besides, the literacy term carries a social status such as “having essential skills for understanding/using/operationalize something”. There are different literacies, which were discussed in the literature such as visual literacy (Messaris and Moriarthy, 2005, p. 482), cine-literacy (British Film Institute, 2000 in Buckingham, 2008, p. 74), information literacy (Bruce, 1997, Bawden, 2008) and media literacy. Many literacy types which were discussed throughout the development of digital technologies are called as “new literacies”. “‘New literacies’ is a relatively new concept in the literature. According to Australia’s website, new literacies are digital literacies characterized by SMS (short message service), MMS (multimedia messaging service), social networking activities and mobile technologies such as mobile phones, smartphones and tablets” (Ng, 2012, p. 1066).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital World: The state of digitalization of every field of life with the acceleration of technological developments after 1980.

Digital Native: The generation that was born after 1980 and has grown with digital communication technologies.

Communication Technologies: The concept expressing the state of digital communication in the digitalizing world.

Different Literacies: Different literacy types in the literature such as media literacy, visual literacy, computer literacy.

Digital Literacy: The ability to learn and use digital communication technologies easily and consciously.

Digital Immigrant: The generation that was born before 1980 and learned the use of digital communication technologies afterwards.

Media Literacy: The ability to use media products easily, consciously, and efficiently.

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