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Digital Literacies: A Guide to Higher Education Applications: Definitions


Students can be more successful at work and in post-graduate studies if they are digitally literate – learning how to identify and create digital solutions, adapt to new tools, and teach themselves more effective and efficient ways of doing things related to their fields."

The framework for digital literacy that we are developing is broadly designed to enable students to:

  1. Find and vet information online - In the digital world it is crucial to be able to not only find information online, but also determine its quality and validity.
  2. See problems from digital perspectives– Students need to be able to analyze a problem and determine how to use digital tools to solve it. For example, can I solve a problem faster by creating a spreadsheet vs. doing it manually?
  3. Become self-directed learners – The Internet has put all the world’s knowledge literally in our hands. Students should know how to take advantage of that and become lifelong learners.
  4. Buy digital solutions – Technology is constantly changing. Thus, it is important that students learn how to evaluate and buy the right digital tools, rather than just knowing a specific tool. For example, being an expert in VisiCalc does not matter if you do not know how to use Excel.
  5. Learn software quickly – Since software is always changing and improving, students need to be able to quickly teach themselves new tools.
  6. Design and create digital solutions – Ultimately students should be able to design and create their own digital solutions. This does not necessarily mean that they need to be able to develop and write their own applications from scratch. Rather, they should be comfortable customizing and combining tools to create a complete solution. For example, creating a form in Word or on the web to automate the collection of customer evaluations and then outputting it to Excel for analysis.

-Phil Ventimiglia, Chief Innovation Officer, Georgia State University


"The ability to interpret and design nuanced communication across fluid digital forms."
-Terry Heick at te@chthought


"Digital literacy is more than knowing how to send a text or watch a music video. It means having the knowledge and ability to use a range of technology tools for varied purposes. A digitally literate person can use technology strategically to find and evaluate information, connect and collaborate with others, produce and share original content, and use the Internet and technology tools to achieve many academic, professional, and personal goals."
-NYC Department of Education


"We define digital literacies as the capabilities which fit someone for living, learning, and working in a digital society."