The Roles of Technology and Digital Literacy for Global Education

The Roles of Technology and Digital Literacy for Global Education

Dorota Horvath (University of Kent, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9746-9.ch002

Abstract

This chapter considers the critical theory, media literacy, and stresses sustained collaboration and the transnational exchange of critical thinking practices for digital literacy in global education. Media literacy represents a multidisciplinary category that integrates the knowledge of a broader spectrum of social sciences and is the subject of ICT, journalism, psychology, sociology, pedagogy, and, to a lesser extent, requires the attention of institutions and governmental policies. It is important to raise awareness about media manipulation and spreading disinformation and consequently foster mutual understanding among various communities while targeting young and also senior population.
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Introduction

Under the influence of the constant development of media and new communication technologies, in recent years the definition of media education target groups has veered, and the necessary aspect of digital literacy inclusion additionally points from children and youth to adulthood. Therefore, the reference framework of lifelong learning embedded strategic goal to equip citizens with basic digital and discerning skills to reduce the generational differences and the potential risks of social exclusion of digital literacy access. In this context, primarily non-formal education, which responded to the needs of current requirements is at the forefront. However, under the influence of the rapid development of information and communication technologies, it is necessary to address its cross-generational conception additionally in the formal education and seek its fusion strategically with standardised curricula. In the current trend of Lifelong Learning global conception, to limit any form of social exclusion, media education relates to both formal and non-formal education.

To indicate the impact of formal, informal and non-formal education, it is essential to define the terms that I will be referring to in this article. Let me start with traditional formal education that occurs mainly in educational institutions that are classified into the main groups of public, state or private schools. They are determined by the authority of the Ministry of Education or any equivalent legal body, and they comply with the legal state requirements and standards. Generally, formal education provides the learner with a diploma or equivalent achievement certificate or an alternative qualification upon the completion of the study program. Additionally, the learner's educational progress is measured by the official institutionalised transcripts that are nationally recognised and validated. Non-formal education may be mediated by formal education; nevertheless, what divides non-formal education from its formal alternative is the nature of the motivation to become educated. In non-formal education, “the motivation for learning may be wholly intrinsic to the learner” (Eshach, 2007, p. 173), while the motivation of the learners is a constant challenge for teachers in formal education. On the other hand, Haim Eshach defines informal education as follows:

Informal learning applies to situations in life that come about spontaneously; for example, within the family circle, the neighborhood, and so on. These are reflected in what a person is reading, viewing and listening to, and also in his or her hobbies and social life. (Eshach, 2007, p. 173)

Therefore, the most effective approach of educational progress in any field is to combine all three forms of education; however, the coherent process of education is not always initiated. Nevertheless, the interrelation between these three educational forms should be advocated for and advanced. Therefore in this article, I emphasise the importance of non-formal and informal education that may efficiently supplement formal education. In terms of education, digital literacy indicates a growing tendency. It represents a multidisciplinary category that integrates the knowledge of a broader spectrum of social sciences and is the subject of ICT, journalism, psychology, sociology, pedagogy and, to a lesser extent, requires the attention of institutions and governmental policies. The importance and relevance of digital literacy in society grow directly with the constant development of communication technologies, the possibilities of their use and their global access, but also the diversity and the amount of media content they offer.

Traditional media and new communication technologies produce vast amounts of information and diverse content. Children and young adults are main target groups for the media industry; additionally, they become the most vulnerable media consumers. However, 45+ population whose digital skills are less developed experience a significant challenge to navigate through the digital content. The drawback of mastering the technical infrastructure of the internet in the context of the human desire for entertainment might lead to manipulating media practices. To prevent the vulnerable population from becoming the victim of search engine optimalisation, clickbait, fabricated news and hoaxes, it is important to consider complex education of digital literacy and critical thinking skills. Moreover, the older generation needs extra support with the market demands of fast progressing technology products. Therefore, adult learning becomes essential in coping with the velocity of digitalisation that causes a disruptive challenge for our global societies.

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