06 SES 14, Examining Digital and Media Literacy and Using Media for Rising Awareness on Literacy
Dealing with digital technologies or digital media require certain skills or abilities. These skills are often labelled as digital literacy. People who lack these skills face the risk of being excluded from parts of social life. The discourse about "literacy" or "literacies" initially referred to reading and writing but later shifted to a multitude of areas of life (“multiliteracies”, “new literacies”, etc.). The symposium focuses on media literacy or digital literacy. In order to shed light on the dark, the introductory contribution from Austria offers a conceptual reflection on concepts of literacy.
Digital transformation permeates societies in different ways. The concept of digital literacy (Lankshear & Knobel, 2008) takes up this issue and asks what competencies are available to individuals. Low digital literacy can manifest itself as digital exclusion in the face of changes, e.g. in access to public services or in finding and applying for jobs. The second contribution (from Canada) explores this question drawing on qualitative ethnographic data. It addresses the risk of deepening social, political and economic inequalities.
In clear methodological contrast, the third contribution (from Germany) approaches the question drawing on results of a quantitative study of adult literacy. The leading question here is whether measured low literacy skills also result in low, i.e. rare, practices (for the discussion of practices: Reder, 1994), or whether the social practice of reading and writing (Barton & Hamilton, 2003) rather remains unaffected by the literality measured in assessment studies.
The final contribution from Italy turns the perspective to the educators in educational systems. The finding that reading and writing (despite PISA) receives little attention in schools was responded to by a programme which, via television and Internet programmes, contributed to raising awareness of the subject, making literacy the subject of increased public debate
Barton, D., & Hamilton, M. (2003). Literacy Practices. In D. Barton (Ed.), Situated literacies: Reading and writing in context (pp. 1–6). London: Routledge. Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (Eds.). (2008). New literacies and digital epistemologies: Vol. 30. Digital literacies: Concepts, policies and practices. New York, NY: Lang. Reder, S. (1994). Practice-Engagement Theory: A Sociocultural Approach to Literacy Across Languages and Cultures. In B. M. Ferdman, R.-M. Weber, & A. G. Ramirez (Eds.), SUNY series, literacy, culture, and learning. Literacy across languages and cultures (pp. 33–70). Albany: State University of New York Press.
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