In thinking about my own digital literacy as part of my continuing studies, I have searched for a definition of what it means to be digitally literate. There are of course conflicting opinions. To some ‘digital literacy’ simply means to have the appropriate skills to use technology. This could almost be as simple as a check list of skills that you have and tasks that you are able to perform. To others ‘digital literacy’ encompasses the cognitive, social and emotional aspects of living, learning and working within a digital environment. I wonder if being ‘digitally literate’ means being comfortable in your ability to use digital technologies to communicate, express opinions, thoughts and ideas, critic information and opinions, learn and ultimately thrive in a digital environment?
I regularly use Twitter and on reflection I learnt to navigate Twitter simply by playing. It was a process of exploration, trial and error that I engaged in because I was curious about it as a source of connection with other educationalists and as a source of information. I was interested!
When I use Twitter I feel curious, interested and supported. Often my thoughts and opinions are reaffirmed and supported by others as they like or retweet. I feel a sense of connection to a community. I recognise that this could also be a criticism of social media and make a conscious effort to try to follow people who share different and maybe conflicting views. However, I think that human nature means that this is not always easy to do!
The benefits of using Twitter for me are that by connecting with others, via Edutwitter, I can continually engage in professional development and learning. I am frequently signposted to books and articles that I am interested to read. I can consolidate and challenge my thinking and learning.
I often share my Twitter discoveries with my colleagues via Twitter or Whatsapp. It is an effective way of becoming a community of learners.
The downside of my Twitter use is that it is a time thief! However, as I continue my learning journey I have discovered that I can manage my use more effectively by setting a time limit…who knew! So to return to the title of this blog post, am I digitally literate? Not yet, but through playful exploration and connection I am learning to communicate, reflect and ultimately thrive in our increasingly digital environment.