at The Evergreen State College

Category:Digital Literacy

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"It is no longer possible to think about literacy in isolation from a vast array of social, technological and economic factors. Two distinct yet related factors deserve to be particularly highlighted. These are, on the one hand, the broad move from the now centuries long dominance of writing to the new dominance of the image and, on the other hand, the move from the dominance of the medium of the book to the dominance of the medium of the screen. These two together are producing a revolution in the uses and effects of literacy and of associated means for representing and communicating at every level and in every domain." - Gunther Kress

Digital literacy is simply the ability to locate, classify, evaluate, and analyze digital technology. However, digital literacy is making a marked impact on our society.

Because of the interactive nature of digital technology the one-way mode of content delivery that is core to traditional education models is being called into question. Students and teachers are taking a different approach to information, studying, and learning.

Students of the 21st Century have mastered the tools needed to be digitally literate, but they are struggling to critically approach the endless sea of information available to them. While we know how to use the fundamentals of the technology available to us, we struggle to find meaning. Multitasking has become a normalized, and highly valued part of our lives, making deep learning more and more difficult. We are adapting into a new knowledge space that values breadth over depth and is not as concerned with legitimacy of source material.

Psychologically there have been shifts as well. For so long we clung to fears that computers would become human, but instead now we are finding that humans are becoming more like computers; we use simplistic applications to solve problems and interact with one another, rather then complex thinking and emotive communication.

Theoretical and Historical perspectives about digital literacy and literacy are also important to consider. They are the framework for all of our understanding of how these changes came about and what the future may hold.

Areas of Focus:

  • In what ways does digital literacy change the education system, with a special focus on higher education?
  • How can this research help improve the Evergreen library and the lives of its students and graduates?