Digital Literacies are PLURAL

Doug Belshaws ‘8 Essential Elements’.

I find references to ‘Digital Literacy’ (in the singular) problematic and, using the work of Dr. Doug Belshaw as my reference, I will attempt to explain why…

Within different settings, and in different contexts, our levels of literacy will vary – while I may be very comfortable logging on to Facebook, checking in at my local coffee shop and uploading a photograph onto my timeline; I may be far less confident about the prospect of conducting online research using a Twitter # filter. In the FBook context I could argue that I was certainly literate, however, in the Twitter context, far less so.

Referring to Digital Literacy in the singular implies that there is only the state of either being literate or not literate, but if we begin to accept that literacies are in fact plural; made up of several interconnected elements (what Belshaw refers to as the 8 essential elements)  – then it becomes possible to discuss this concept in a far less linear way – as Martin (2006a) puts it “digital literacy is a condition, not a threshold”.

If you are keen to hear more of Doug’s ideas; watch this clip where he presented at a TED Conference in 2012, entitled The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies.


One thought on “Digital Literacies are PLURAL

  1. I like your title – and I agree with you that digital literacies are plural. As Belshaw states himself, that the deifinition and understanding of digital literaces is context-dependent, as digital literacy is different dependent on the context you are working in. I wonder what challenges digital literacies meet in your context?


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