Digital skills are increasingly being discussed and incorporated into programs and funding models. ACAL has started a conversation around whether digital literacy is different to digital skills/ the mechanics of using technologies. We are suggesting that digital literacy is the interaction between literacy and numeracy practices within/in technological contexts – digital literacies.
- Literacy is what people do with language to communicate, access, produce, use, and discuss information and ideas for social purposes, including in the workplace, home and in the community.
- Numeracy is what people do with mathematics to communicate, access, produce, use, and discuss information and ideas for social purposes, including in the workplace, home and in the community.
- The mechanics of literacy, such as basic reading skills (eg sight words, phonemic awareness, use of context, use of existing knowledge frameworks) and the mechanics of numeracy skills, such as basic number skills (eg base 10 system, calculation methods) are essential underpinning tools to engage in literacy and numeracy practices.
- Literacy practices and numeracy practices are the ‘doing’ of literacy and numeracy. The practices are continually evolving and increasingly multimodal: we no longer just rely on printed text, but use various ICT resources as well as visuals (eg signages) to ‘do’ literacy and numeracy.
- Digital skills or the mechanics of digital literacy are tasks such as switching on a computer, downloading an app, using word processing, or email.
- Digital skills are needed in contemporary literacy practices, but digital skills on their own without literacy – ie how texts work in social contexts, will not be helpful.
- Digital literacy is thus the interaction between literacy and numeracy practices within technological contexts – digital literacies.
Some examples of the evolving multimodal digital literacy practices you have told us about this year include the different ways teachers have approached and evolved online teaching practices, and the different ways students approach and evolve online learning practices.