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E-Literacy… Are you Digital Literate?

The trend is digital & digital literacy is the ability to use digital technologies to access, evaluate, create and communicate information in a socially responsible and ethical manner. So, my question to you…are you digital literate?

This week is special as the world is celebrating the `Teachers Day’ as well as `International Literacy Day’ to promote the need for education and a literate society in today's day and age. It is also celebrated to raise awareness about the section of society which still lacks basic education and skills.

This year, UNESCO theme for International Literacy Day 2021 is “Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide.” And I felt each one of us need to support this movement as literacy is still a challenge across the globe in spite of innumerable progress we have made in science & technology

Wondering why am I telling all this…. pay attention for some shocking research report

Global data is alarming as it says that 773 million adults and young people lack basic literacy skills; 617 million children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and during the initial phase of the pandemic, schools were closed disrupting the education of 62.3 per cent of the world's student population of 1.09 billion and due to pandemic adult literacy and education were absent in initial education response plans, therefore many youth and adults with no or low literacy skills or digital literacy skills have had limited access to life-saving information.” 

Isn’t it alarming friends?

For me “Everyday learning and learning new things every year is part of my goal and believe me it is one of the most powerful weapons which I’m using to bring change in what I do and grow myself + add value by sharing knowledge to the community. Of course, Nelson Mandela also said Education is the first step for people to gain the knowledge, critical thinking, empowerment and skills they need to make this world a better place.

BTW the digital divide is still very much a reality today & still many people in the world don't have access to internet. Thanks to COVID outbreak which pushed many aspects of traditional forms in our personal and professional life like work from home, shopping, education into a more digital, online experience has scaled and many of our friends and family members including organization have adopted to new levels of digital competencies and there were many innovation and creativity in software world to enable people to be connected in all forms

So friends, you don’t have a choice… Digital skills is the need of the hour!

So wondering what is Digital literacy? If you have smart device and you have the ability to navigate various digital platforms and understand, assess and communicate through them. When you read a book on a Kindle, you are able to gauge the accuracy of a news report linked in your social media newsfeed or create and share a YouTube video, you are displaying digital literacy. And I learnt lot of digital things during this pandemic time

Digital literacy plays a vital role in defining your ability to succeed as this is an inherent aspect of 21st century education.

Digital literacy requires certain skill sets or competencies that are interdisciplinary in nature which is like general knowledge and functional skills and using them for elementary purpose is essential. For now, let set aside the many disadvantages like no internet, lack of computer proficiency, infrastructure, diversity and that could be your age, gender, knowledge etc., and shift our focus on Digital Literacy which has many advantages. Here are the 5 competencies (1. Information, Learning, Communication, Digital identity and technical proficiency) which I felt is relevant in today’s context.

  1. Information -Your processing of information and managing with relevance and purpose is important to begin. The basics would be your ability to search, locate, assess and critically evaluate information found on the web and on-shelf app on your phone and how you use the content.

  2. Learning – You need to be aware on most relevant common technologies and how to access the digital learning technologies is a way ahead as it promotes a lifelong learning concept. If you are students and professionals, understand the broader context of use and development and integrating it with your work is important. Look out for the digital materials to learn on your own, develop self, build capability confidently and creatively applying digital technologies for better prospects and enhances your professional performance effectively

  3. Communication – Using digital in everyday life and gain understanding of the world by connecting to the people without moving an inch. You are able to collaborate, share and participate in events and other aspects of social life in digital environment is the need of the hour.

  4. Digital Identity – Learn to manage your digital footprint and most importantly understand the impact & implication for your wellbeing and also be aware of the risk + safety of your digital information. Behaving appropriately and in a socially responsible way in the digital environment is your responsibility too.

  5. Technical Proficiency – Balancing your attitude with an open mind, working with key stakeholders on how to safely use digital technologies and engage in digital world. Also identify the need and gaps of your technical capability and fix it at the earliest. Follow the protocol with extra effort to learn and be secure in the digital transition

The competences mentioned are linked to each other. Competences like information, learning communication are the basic knowledge and when other skills are acquired to build your competencies, only then you will efficiently be a fully digital literate person.

s a learning & development specialist, here are a few quick examples which I have used to gain digital proficiency :

  • Knowing the Tools and Application ( MS office 365, word, excel, PPT)

  • Social Apps (Snachat, Insta,FB, LinkedIn, Twitter),

  • Open Source Learning Tools (Moodles, SkillShare, Udemy, Google)

  • Gaming Apps (Subway surfers, Candy crush, Snapchat, Tiktok)

  • Online Banking (App like HDFC, SBI, American Express)

  • Ecommerce to buy and sell (Amazon, Big Basket, Magic Bricks, OLX)

  • Online Meeting Platforms (WhatsApp, Telegram Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Slack and most of these should become part of your lifestyle to get into the space of digital literate

To conclude, Literacy is one of the greatest gift one can receive and I believe you are with me in this journey as it’s not about I know it all’ as it is about ``sharing your knowledge’. If you are an expert, then go ahead empower, engage enlighten other people to scale in true sense as that is the need of the hour.

Digital is the future, being digitally literate is an essential skill. so get ready to learn, unlearn, relearn and engage in today’s digital society for your growth and global success

Wishing you a very Happy Teachers’ Day and International Literacy Day to one and all

Look forward to your views & comments!

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