What is digital literacy?
I think my best introductory post on this is this one clarifying differences between digital skills and digital literacies. Lately I have been working on writing up an article (due soon and can share it once published) about empathetic approaches to digital literacy versus skeptical ones (the more dominant ones). This article on digital citizenship as Empathy and Social Justice gives you the basic direction I am coming from.
What impact does digital literacy have on your personal, professional, and spiritual* life? (*However you interpret this.)
Digital literacy is essential to me. The most important part of digital literacies to me is to connect with people in deep ways… Particularly people I don’t meet. And this is on a personal level but also on a professional personal level. As in, I want to develop personal (affective) relationships with people I work with professionally online. It’s a chicken and egg thing. Am I good at this because I have digital literacies and I’m mindful of it… Or did I develop digital literacies out of my need/hunger for this continual learning and building of relationships? Spiritual is an interesting question. When I see people talk about digital detox as part of digital wellbeing it confuses me. The digital is what connects me to people and I don’t understand why I would want to detach myself from them. I was a child back in the day where I grew up far away from my grandparents and we could barely call them once a week because home phones could not make international calls. Right now, I have lots of friends and colleagues I meet face to face but I also have many friends and colleagues I met online whom i talk to regularly on Twitter, Slack, Zoom or hangouts. Why on earth would I want to become unreachable to them? It would be traumatic for me. And I know because I spent a few weeks without internet during 2011. Another spiritual dimension as a Muslim is that there is a lot of stuff about Islam online and the digital literacies to figure out which of it is credible and which not (whether on social media or websites) is as important as of course generally stuff on the internet. It is just trickier because many people view info about religion as authoritative and naively follow it without checking credibility of who is doing it and what their agenda is. But that problem honestly existed way before the internet. It’s just more distributed and wide-reaching with internet and viral social media
Who are you? (context matters)
I am an Egyptian who works as a faculty developer at the American University in Cairo and who also teaches. I wish you had asked this question befrre the other. I am a mom of a young child trying to live a full academic life without possibility of frequent travel. My digital literacy allows me to grow professionally in ways unprecedented before. I meet people on Twitter or via live video conversations. I co-author articles with people I have never met. My classes become open to the world and my students meet people from all over the world in my course. Most recently I co-created Equity Unbound, an equity-focused open connected online learning experience. There is not a single article defining digital literacies but my course is about digital literacies in an intercultural context. Equity Unbound tackles the elements of identity, empathy, bias and equity before we ever talk about Fake News, privacy, algorithms or digital wellbeing.
All my own text is CC-BY-NC. The articles have their own licenses.