Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Digital literacy and folkbildning conference

Today I was at a conference looking at digital literacy and folkbildning in Stockholm. One of the problems is defining digital literacy, and thereby defining the groups who need to be helped and therefore which methods are likely to be helpful. For example one group are those who have never used a computer/internet at all, another group those who can use a computer but see no reason to do so. A third group are perhaps computer literate but lack the skills required (traditional literacy skills?) to be an active and democratic user of the new digital world. And so on, the list is long!

The problem is becoming more acute because more and more of the functions of society are moving online and not being digitally literate is becoming a real disadvantage. More and more of the discourse inside society is also moving online. Developing professional skills, as a teacher for example, requires digital literacy.

Another discussion is that as the development of internet progresses more and more rapidly the whole field becomes more complicated with more to learn and the catch-up process becomes longer and more difficult. New groups become disadvantaged - if you can't use the tools defined loosely as web 2.0 are you partially digitally illiterate, even if you are an expert in other areas of the digital world?

On the other hand one of the hurdles to overcome is failure to understand why digital literacy is so important and society moving online can also be a motivating factor to go out and become digitally literate. Another part of the development mentioned above is that active use of internet is being made easier (web 2.0 again), and activity makes learning easier.

The discussion continues....

PS The picture is part of an artwork by Andrew Pepper - "Artwork or Network". see also "One Million Points of Light" by the same artist.

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