Digital age literacy is not a static skill set, but a set of skills to be continually developed.

Digital Age Literacy

In the early 1900s, basic reading, writing, and calculating skills were enough to define a literate person. Digital-age literacy involves both a broader range of core competencies and the expectation that these proficiencies will be continually developed throughout a person's career. EnGauge includes the following in its definition of digital-age literacy:

  • Basic literacy: the ability to read, write, and calculate sufficiently well to function on the job and in society
  • Scientific literacy: knowledge and understanding of basic scientific concepts and processes
  • Economic literacy: the ability to analyze costs and benefits effectively
  • Technological literacy: knowledge about what technology is, how it works, what purposes it can serve, and how it can be used efficiently
  • Visual literacy: the ability to interpret and use images and video
  • Information literacy: the ability to evaluate information across a range of media
  • Multicultural literacy: the ability to recognize the value of other cultures and adapt to the needs or expectations of other cultures as needed
  • Global Awareness: the recognition of interrelationships beyond the local region
Note that these elements are process-specific rather than task-specific. In other words, technological literacy as defined above involves the ability to understand what kinds of abilities technology can (and cannot) accomplish, not how to use any one specific technology. Moreover, while the list may seem extensive, all of these competencies center around understanding and processing different kinds of information presented in different ways.

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