Importance of Digital Literacy and Hindrance Brought About by Digital Divide

Importance of Digital Literacy and Hindrance Brought About by Digital Divide

Mohammad Izzuddin Mohammed Jamil (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei) and Mohammad Nabil Almunawar (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3479-3.ch116

Abstract

This century has seen one of the most rapid advancements in technology, and more innovative devices spawn every year. In particular, technology in the form of digital media is being used as a medium, such as for buying and selling, education, information exchange, and communication. It is vital to understand the importance of digital literacy. Digital literacy is steadily rising across the globe, giving a good indication of progress. However, one of the major hindrances to digital literacy is the digital divide. Across the globe, the former is able to reap the full benefits of media platforms while the latter would still succumb to the old ways, halting progress. The digital divide is a phenomenon that must be overcome to prevent the uneven rate of digital literacy. This paper argues that having a certain degree of digital literacy is important in both developing and developed countries. With the digital divide significantly hurdling the progress of digital literacy, the paper would then suggest ways and methods of tackling the digital divide.
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Background

The word digital literacy and the topic surrounding it is relatively new, going back only as far as the late 1990s (Lanham, 1997; Pool, 1997). Interestingly, digital literacy existed years after the Internet first made its appearance in 1991 (Berners-Lee, Cailliau, Groff & Pollermann, 1992). Since then, one of the earliest literature introducing digital literacy is done by Gilster (1997), in which he provided the explanation for the definition of digital literacy as possessing the ability to process information via technological means. However, the broad nature of this definition may have caused more questions than answers. The preceding literature that follows have attempted to interpret, analyse and evaluate this definition (Bawden, 2001; Robinson & Bawden, 2001, June; Williams, 2006). Bawden (2008) explained Gilster’s definition further by applying it in the context of the present time; the digital age. The Input-Process-Output (IPO) model was first used to evaluate training (Bushnell, 1990), and has since been used in literature to describe a particular programming process (Curry, Flett & Hollingsworth, 2006; Grady, 1995; Goel, 2010; Zelle, 2004), but none have covered in the context of digital literacy.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Society: A society in which everything runs on digital technology where paperless and electronic means are the norm.

E-Government: A form of digitised government where public services are delivered and processed via electronic or digital means.

Social Capital: The relationship between members of a society who work together to function effectively for the benefit of the society.

Digital Divide: The gap between those who have access to technology and those without. Also include those who have access to technology but are unable to utilise them due to lack of digital literacy.

Digital Literacy: The skills and competences of people in using technological platforms to produce and evaluate information through electronic means.

Healthcare: The provision of medical care and services to the public.

Digital Technology: The use of electronic tools and devices to produce and generate data.

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