Cultivating Digital Literacy: A Necessity in Today’s World



19 April, 2024

Cultivating Digital Literacy: A Necessity in Today’s World

There were days when we used to walk through the giant library racks to find just one perfect book to read. Well, gone are those days!

With everything online and digital, times have changed. We are in a world where everything operates online, be it school assignments, online education, mobile banking, or job applications. Its only rule is to take technology as a tool that gives you freedom, and don’t be scared to experiment if you know its implications. If it has countless benefits, there’s also a huge security risk. To survive in such times, digital literacy among people is of utmost importance.

Yes, in today’s time, literacy has gained new meanings, from the ability to read, write and understand written text to concepts like media literacy, computer literacy, information literacy and digital literacy. And it is understandable to say that cultivating digital literacy has become a necessity in today’s world. Since the digital world is vast and has many facets, keeping pace with it is highly important.

If you are a working professional, think about the project management techniques you have been using. Over the course of time, the methodologies and systems used in project management have evolved. Try and ask your seniors who have been in this profession for a really long time. Similarly, the way the education system has changed its teaching approach from classroom learning to a more digitised manner speaks a lot about the digital world we are living in. All this falls under the umbrella of digital learning and highlights why cultivating digital literacy is the need of the hour.

What is Digital Literacy?

It is the literacy you all know, but with a twist. UNESCO says digital literacy is the ability to safely create, access, manage, understand, communicate and evaluate information through digital technologies. Though the exact definition may differ between organisations, the concept of digital literacy can be explained based on three skills:

  • Way of Consuming Information: How one prefers to complete tasks such as mobile banking, e-reading apps, and others.

  • Way of Creating Information: This includes preparing the information for digital platforms like videos and online articles.

  • Way of Communicating that Information: Once the raw material is prepared, you will have to share it via tweet, email or a PDF.

In today’s scenario, digital literacy has become an important aspect of our lives. From schools to big corporations, it has made its presence felt everywhere.


Related: Promoting Digital Literacy Skills for the 21st Century Learners

Digital Literacy as a Necessity

Digital literacy is no longer a buzzword but a fundamental skill for thriving in this technologically driven age.

  • Enhances Communication:

    Most communication methods have moved online to emails and video calls. Therefore, understanding how to engage in meaningful online discussions using various digital tools in both personal and professional aspects.

  • Empowers Growth:

    Digital literacy is not just about using digital tools; it’s about harnessing their full potential. It’s about enhancing your self-efficacy, boosting your confidence, and adapting to the ever-evolving digital landscape. From online education and doctor’s consultations to filing your taxes via mobile apps, digital literacy has opened up a new world of possibilities, empowering you to explore and excel.

  • Creates Employment Opportunities:

    Digital literacy is not a luxury; it’s a necessity in today’s era. The digital transformation has not only changed the way we live and work but has also created a vast array of job opportunities. Companies are actively seeking professionals with advanced knowledge of digital tools and services. By upskilling in digital literacy, you can position yourself for these exciting new roles, fueling your professional growth.

  • Develops Critical Thinking:

    Digital literacy pushes individuals to think critically and a little out of the box. In the digital world, countless things are still to be explored, and their full potential has yet to be used.

  • Digital Citizenship:

    With digital literacy comes the responsibility of making the experience safe for every other citizen. Thus, digital citizenship is the understanding of ethical and legal aspects of the digital world, online privacy and the consequences of digital actions.

Promoting Digital Literacy Among Students

Children are already exposed to the concepts of digital literacy with online learning and all the technologically driven learning methods incorporated by educators. Nonetheless, students need to be adequately trained to understand digital literacy. It is something which should be incorporated into the academic curriculum. For instance, teachers can take sessions on the responsibility of online resources, or the schools can conduct special workshops on digital literacy.

Teachers should include the following 6Ps of digital citizenship for promoting digital literacy among students:

  • Permission

  • Protection

  • Property

  • Photos

  • Private Information

  • Passwords

Promoting digital literacy among students can prepare them for real-world challenges and develop appropriate behaviour.

However, more than learning about new technologies, embracing digital transformation is required. Employees/students must be prepared to use their skills and benefit from the digital landscape. This is where the digital mindset comes into play.

What is a Digital Mindset?

Digital literacy is not the ability but a set of attitudes that enables individuals and organisations to adapt to new possibilities. A digital mindset is a behaviour that sees how algorithms, data, and AI can open up new business opportunities. Digital literacy can only be created if people have the right attitude, referred to as a digital mindset.

Yes, developing a digital mindset takes effort. According to an article in Harvard Business Review, employees who develop a digital mindset turn out to be more successful in their jobs. Moreover, such leaders are better able to set their company on the path of success and are able to build a resilient workforce.

How to Develop a Digital Mindset?

A digital mindset is one of the most requested soft skills in the job market. A candidate with an open and flexible mindset capable enough to bear the challenges of the digital world is the top priority of an organisation. So, how can you develop such high-demand skills?

Here are a few simple steps to do so:

  • Brush your curiosity about new technologies

  • Continuously update your knowledge

  • Accept the challenges posed by technological advances

  • Relate it to your daily experiences

  • Share experiences and learn from their experience

  • As a leader, build a technological ecosystem in the workplace

  • Let your decision be data-driven

  • Lead by example and spread the word

Bottom Line

We are surrounded by everything digital, which influences every area of our lives. Digitalisation is everywhere in our education system, workplace, and daily lives. Therefore, digital literacy has become a necessity of the 21st century to thrive in the digital world. To sum up, digital literacy is the skill of the future, potentially benefiting the entire society while contributing to the economy.

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