Why digital literacy matters

Teacher and student discussing what is on a computer

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Digital literacy matters as it helps student learning and citizenship by teaching students how to find, evaluate, use, and create digital content in meaningful ways.

What is digital literacy?

Digital literacy requires a variety of strategies and skills, including:

  • critical thinking — questioning how authentic, valid and useful digital information is
  • communicating and collaborating with others in the digital space
  • using digital tools to design and create compelling original content
  • using digital tools to access, use and share information.

Digital literacy benefits learning

Digitally literate students are confident using digital content and tools in their learning. Digital literacy skills enable them to:

  • find and access digital content that is fit for purpose
  • analyse and combine information to develop their own understandings
  • create and share digital content in purposeful ways.

One-off lessons are not enough to build digital literacy. Effective pedagogy for developing digital literacy requires:

  • repeated instruction, guidance, and scaffolded practice, including building digital literacy skills in teaching programmes across all learning areas and topics
  • teachers, library staff, and students modeling digital literacy skills.

Digital literacy benefits citizenship

Informed, responsive, and responsible citizens need digital literacy skills to engage in society.

Digital citizenship relies on digital literacy. It includes these values and behaviours:

  • honest, responsible, and ethical approaches to accessing and using digital content
  • social understanding to act in ways that respect others and protect individual well-being.

School libraries and digital literacy

The school library plays a central and important role in building student’s digital literacy skills. School library collections, staff, services, and spaces all help develop these skills.

Digital literacy matters together with reading engagement and school libraries

We view our 3 priorities, reading engagement, school libraries and digital literacy as interdependent and equally important in supporting student learning and literacy.

The school library and staff play a critical role in helping to create a school culture that supports and encourages reading for pleasure, and digitally literate students. Digital literacy, in turn, needs proficient and engaged readers.