The Importance of Digital Literacy in Today's World

Digital literacy encompasses different skills. For example, locating, analyzing, organizing, understanding and evaluating information; all carried out via digital technology. Find out why it's so important in today's world.
The Importance of Digital Literacy in Today's World

Last update: 17 September, 2021

It’s a reality. Children no longer learn only through traditional reading and writing but also through new technologies. This implies that learning is moving in this increasingly digital age in every way. With all this, comes the phenomenon of digital literacy.

However, what exactly is digital literacy? Is it a process, a capacity, a development…? Furthermore, why is it important to include digital literacy in schools, and what are its benefits? You can find out here.

Digital literacy

Teaching literacy means the teaching of the ability to read and write. From these origins, in today’s world of new technology and communication, arises the concept of digital literacy. This is a process that allows us to acquire the necessary skills to be competent in new technologies.

Therefore, digital literacy concerns the ability to perform different tasks in a digital environment. It’s a generic definition that contains other nuances, since this capability includes other abilities, such as the following:

  • Locate information.
  • Investigate.
  • Analyze.
  • Prepare content.
  • Design digital proposals.

All this is done through technology and digital media. Thus, digital literacy is the ability to communicate, create, and understand information in a completely new way.

Girl looking for information on the computer

Different levels

There are various levels of digital literacy; These range from the most basic to intermediate to superior. However, what does each level imply? What examples of skills do we find in each of them?

  • Basic or elementary level. For example, knowing how to publish on Instagram.
  • Intermediate level. The use of technology to improve your life, or to be more efficient. For example, learning to program on Facebook.
  • Higher level. For example, creating your own digital content.

Importance and benefits

In today’s world, where the use of new technologies prevails, it’s almost essential to, at the very minimum, know what digital literacy consists of. To know that it’s a new way of connecting with people, of communicating both with them and the world.

In addition, digital literacy goes beyond learning digital tools and programs and has great benefits. For example it:

  • Develops critical thinking: By accessing more information, you can better contrast it, thereby fostering critical thinking.
  • Allows access to better jobs. Knowing and mastering ICT (Information and Communications Technology) today increases the possibility of accessing more and better-paid jobs.
  • Favors social inclusion and development. In fact, a lack of access to technologies creates more differences in the cultural, economic, social, and educational spheres.
  • Improves the day-to-day. New technologies can be integrated into your day-to-day life and improve your quality of life, making it easier and more comfortable.

School and digital literacy

Schools are increasingly choosing to include programs or subjects that promote digital literacy skills. However, this type of literacy involves a new way of teaching and learning.

Digital literacy is a new way of learning, in which innovation, active participation and creativity take center stage.

However, what are the advantages of teaching ICT to the little ones? In fact, it

  • Stimulates their curiosity.
  • Promotes more autonomous work. For instance, they have to search for information themselves.
  • Promotes cross-subject learning.
  • Gives those “digital” children (digital natives) already extremely familiar with new technologies more of a grasp on reality.
Children learning with digital literacy

Introducing digital literacy in school

Introducing ICT in the school curriculum translates into the teaching of computer tools and programs, but also involves the introduction of e-learning (electronic learning).

This system offers one good thing in that all geographical barriers are eliminated. In fact, it allows access to unlimited information, as well as collaboration with other centers. Therefore, ICT allows learning of programming and getting to know the internet better. However, its inclusion in school should be based on subjects related to the media and audiovisual education.

As we can see, digital literacy already forms part of our reality, and also of the reality of the little ones. Furthermore, it isn’t only relevant to people who are dedicated to the digital world but also to complete beginners who are just starting to learn from these new technologies.

Indeed, digital environments are increasingly growing, and therefore, having the right tools to move in them is essential.

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  • García, F.J. (2005). Estado actual de los sistemas e-learning. Teoría de la Educación. Educación y Cultura en la Sociedad de la Información, 6(2).
  • VV.AA. (1986). Noves tecnologies: risc i alternatives. Barcelona: Fundació Jaume Bofill.