Photo CC-By Ana Maria Menezes
I found a very basic definition of digital literacy on a Microsoft website: digital literacy “teaches the value of computers in society.” Digital literacy is the ability to use technology – anything from cell phones, video games, and social networking to e-mailing, building websites, and searching the internet. Digital fluency on the other hand is not only the ability to use technology, but the ability to use it well. (I learned a lot about the differences between digital literacy and fluency from The Difference Between Digital Literacy and Digital Fluency.) Although I was born into the digital age (the World Wide Web was even up and running for a few years before I was born) I do not consider myself fluent with technology. I had never used the internet until I was in 5th grade and when I was finally exposed to it, I was so far out of my element it wasn’t even funny. At that point in my life, my family had a computer (a super old one even by 2005’s standards), a TV, and a couple of other fairly normal techy gadgets. I have always struggled with digital literacy – let alone fluency. But, thanks to a tech class I took in the spring of ’14, I can now create a website (a fact I am incredibly proud of) and have discovered Google Drive (although, I confess I still don’t completely understand it).
Often times, I feel like I am forced (‘forced’ has a negative connotation connected to it, but more often than not that is how I feel about the necessity of using technology in the modern world) to continue my knowledge of digital matters. However, I do see the necessity for it. In today’s world, digital fluency is essential in many career paths. Just the fact that terms exist for one’s ability to use digital resources proves this to be true (I found out today that transactional is digital literacy and transformational is digital fluency.) I still feel like I’m entering a foreign land each time I try to find out how to do something new on a computer or cell phone. Therefore, this semester I would like to focus on what digital resources I should feel completely at ease using in my future classroom and learn how to become fluent in those resources. Also, the world of technology is ever-evolving and I hope I can learn how to evolve with it. I would like to learn how to keep up-to-date with the latest technology and find resources that easily guide me through our digital age. If our Digital Literacy course can teach us at least this much, I will be a very happy camper. 🙂