Digital Literacy, Technology and our students

New social, textual and technoliterate practices have altered communication, as our students “message, blog, Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, podcast and Twitter their way into their future lives” (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009, p. 167). With these new forms of communication, new literacies have emerged. They are embodied in new social practices—”ways of working in new or transformed forms of employment, new ways of participating as a citizen in public spaces, and even perhaps new forms of identity and personality” (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009, p. 167).

When trying to understanding what digital literacy, the Tedx Talk by Belshaw (2012, March), states that we should be looking at digital literacies, being plural, socially negotiated and view in vary context. Similarly, Josie Fraser, social and educational technologist, Leicester City Council highlights that digital literacy is a combination of digital tool knowledge, critical thinking and social engagement. The characteristics of digital literacies are outlined as “ supports and helps develop traditional literacies, It’s a life-long practice, It’s about skills, competencies and critical reflection on how these skills and competencies are applied and It’s about social engagement” (Anyangwe, 2012, May 16).

The discussion of digital literary progresses to look at “today’s students” and a discussion around the impact of digital exposure. Marc Prensky introduces the term ‘digital native and digital immigrants.” Prensky argues that students today are “native speaks” of the digital language, and teachers, as “digital immigrants” speak an outdated language and therefore struggle to educate a populate who speak “an entirely new language” (Prensky, 2001, October).

However Prensky’s position is one that has attracted much debate. Open University research explodes myth of ‘digital native by concluding “there’s no evidence of a clear-cut digital divide. Use of technology varies with age, but it does so predictably, over the whole age span. And secondly, although younger people are more likely to be positive about technology, there is evidence that a good attitude to technology, at any age, correlates with good study habits.”

For another subject I made an interactive presentation which is relevant to 21st century learning and multiliteracies, which you might like to view on my YouTube channel. Much of the content is complementary to this subject. Please feel free share your thoughts, link to video;


Anyangwe, E. (2012, May 16). 20 ways of thinking about digital literacy in higher education. The Guardian Newspaper. Retrieved from

Belshaw, D. [Tedx Talks]. (2012, March). The essential elements of digital literacies: Doug Belshaw at TEDxWarwick. [Video file]. Retrieved from

Cope, B. & Kalantzis, M. (February, 2001). Putting ‘Multiliteracies’ to the Test. Newsletter of the Australian Literacy Educators Association. Retrieved from

Cope, B. & Kalantzis, M. (2009). “Multiliteracies”: New Literacies, New Learning, Pedagogies. An International Journal, 4(3), 164-195. Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2001, October). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. Retrieved from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf




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