Saturday, July 18, 2015

Can you spot a fake?

Earlier today I was  responding to a comment on my initial post about the definition of digital literacy, and I ended up using the example of digital photography to illustrate how competence with a technology tool does not mean one is digitally literate.  Here's what I wrote, in response to the question...

"Is technology competence the same as digital literacy?"
Technology competence is a crucial aspect of digital literacy, seeing as we're talking about activities that take place in the digital environment which implies the utilization of technology in some manner.  The ability to utilize technology tools in itself does not however indicate that somebody is digitally literate.  I think we're all coming to the conclusion that digital literacy is a spectrum of skills and experience, and competence with the technology is the first step to higher levels.  I'll use digital photography as an example.
The entry level to this set of digital literacy skills would be the ability to operate a camera - turning it on, then taking a photo; perhaps using some of the settings to adjust the output.  A person at this level might only ever print the photos they take.  We would consider them to have basic competence with their camera, but not be digitally literate in this particular interest/skill set (which does not preclude them from being highly digitally literate in another skill set).
So what does it take to be digitally literate?  Our photographer may next learn how to transfer their photos to their computer, which adds a new realm of technical skill.  Soon they may wish to share their photos with friends and family, which might lead to learning to attach files to emails - now they're starting to combine technology tools and learn transferable skills.  At this point   there are two possible paths of increased skill.  The first is photo manipulation using software like Photoshop.  The second path is towards broader sharing on the internet - a person can do either or both, depending on their interests.  Once they make the decision to start sharing online, the 8 elements really come into play - our photographer is no longer operating in isolation.  Say they join Flickr - suddenly they are sharing their photos with the world, and have the ability to give and receive comments, and they may become as much a "consumer" of images as they are a producer.  As they travel the online world, they might use their knowledge of photo manipulation and critical thinking skills to easily identify fakes that frequently fool the masses...

colorful photoshopped lemons

These ARE NOT lemons injected with food coloring, no matter what they say on Pinterest.  This is a stock photo of oranges that has been photoshopped.

Perhaps this is why it's so difficult to come up with a concise definition - digital literacy is a spectrum that includes a wide variety of skills which can vary depending on interests and desired outcomes!

1 comment:

  1. Not sure whether my initial attempt to comment was successful, so repeating it here; feel free to delete this if the first attempt made it to your site...Beautiful example, Anne--and great to see you creating some links between the course site and your own free-standing blog. Hope it draws many more people into the conversation and results in all of us being able to more effectively foster digital literacy among those relying on us for help.