7.16.2007

can literacies be digital?

"digital literacy" is a phrase that has been cropping up everywhere i read and look recently. the use of literacy, to indicate the ability to navigate a particular discursive realm - in this case, the "digital" realm(s) - has always left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. particularly for those of us who conceptualize and actively engage a concept of literacy as social practice. i "get" literacy in a digital age. i can wrap my head around our evolving digital communicative landscape. but what are we really saying when we talk about literacy that is inherently digital - as implied by the phrase "digital literacy"? when we talk about the digital literacies of adolescents, are we really referring to the literacies that we observe in the daily lives of young people who are living and interacting with an increasingly digitized world? and if so, is that the same thing as "digital literacies"?

perhaps i'm getting bogged down with semantics and possibly missing the entire point...

perhaps...

or perhaps we dilute or oversimplify the phenomenon when we gloss over a complicated and diverse emerging landscape of literacy and communicative practices when we simply say digital.

and perhaps it's just a code for like minded "digital literacy" folks to give a silent nod to one another. if the literacy research world were configured like a series of gangs - instead of camps, as we politely note in mixed company - might "DL" be our insignia, our secret handshake, a way of weeding out and letting in...

couldn't the same be said for other adjectives we use to mark and demarcate areas of literacy studies? absolutely. for some reason, this has stuck with me recently b/c i, myself, use the phrase and went off on quite a tangent while writing an explanatory section on this notion for a paper i'm writing. naturally, i wanted to share my confused musings and solicit any and all guidance. we seem to be on a precipice... but, of what??

1 comment:

belledi said...

As a librarian I work with to develop information literacy skills and I believe some of these skills can also be termed digital literacies.
Yes, teens today spend a lot of time on the internet. However, studies are finding that these same teens do not know how to dicern accurate information, what ethical use of information is all about, how to use databases for scholarly research, how to use advanced google search features, how to effectively evaluate and analyze information or why information is important in a democratic society.
Hope this helps you understand a little more about these literacies!