Digital literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, and utilize content using information technologies and the Internet. Digital literacy is the teaching and learning about technology and how to use it. When someone is literate, it means that they have the knowledge and skills in technology and how to use it and what to do with it. Being fluent in digital literacy is knowing when to use the tools of technology and knowing why something is a certain way and how the conclusion came to be. When I first started researching just exactly what digital literacy was, I was kind of surprised how much information there was on the subject and that it is like learning a new language. Technology and the Internet can be complex at times and, just like anything else, we have to learn how to effectively use it and when it is appropriate.
While researching, I discovered that there are 8 elements of digital literacy: cultural, cognitive, constructive, communicative, confident, creative, critical, and civic. When one actually thinks about it, technology is a culture in itself. It is important that we learn about the different functions each piece of technology can be used for and how to easily move from one to the other. The cognitive element is knowing how to use technologies and being able to retrieve information. Being constructive in the digital world is gaining new information and putting it to use by creating something new with the information. The communicative element is understanding the importance of networks and communication. It is being able to communicate between different technologies. Being confident in the digital world is to assess and review ones work, manage your learning environment, and creating your own digital community. It is important to also be creative. You should use the knowledge and skills you have gained to create new and useful things for yourself and everyone else. One must also be critical by considering your audience, appropriate information, and even security. It is also important to be civic in the digital environment. Technology and the Internet connect us to the world and we should be looking for opportunities of public engagement with the use technology.
I think the extent of my digital literacy is using Google as my main search engine and using only the links provided. I hope to learn how to properly and effectively use my tool of technology to acquire each of these elements of digital literacy. While researching I found a useful tool on the Cornell University website: Digital Literacy Resource. This site provides a research guide that teaches students how to identify reliable sources, using Google for research and beyond, citing resources, plagiarism, etc. I think this site would be a great start in learning how to navigate the digital world.