What is digital literacy? This term has been around recently, and its meaning can be assumed, but still, most people need help understanding what it is. Computer literacy is the possession of skills in the digital space. And what these skills are and how we can apply them in real-life we will learn from this article.
Our world has long stepped over a new stage of development: new software and types of production automation, technical equipment, gadgets, and other complex devices appear daily. Houses have become smart and become one big ecosystem that serves our everyday lives, and smartphones have become our guides in digital media content.
Therefore, as digital citizens, we must understand computer literacy and how to handle information flows safely.
It becomes clear that digital literacy is more than just the ability to use your computer or smartphone to watch videos online. The concept of digital literacy includes a wide range of competencies, from using digital technologies and programming to protecting against hacking and theft of personal data. What is digital literacy, and why is it so important? Let’s figure it out.
In the digital literacy courses, you will know how to work with a computer and useful programs and consolidate new skills on exciting interactive tasks.
What is digital literacy?
Let’s take a closer look at what can be included in the concept of digital literacy.
Digital literacy is a set of knowledge and skills necessary for the safe and effective use of digital tools, technologies, and Internet resources. The foundations of computer literacy are digital consumption, competencies, and security.
- Digital consumption is the use of Internet services for work and life. Includes fixed Internet, mobile Internet, digital devices, online media, news, social networks, public services, telemedicine, and cloud technologies. In other words, it is the digital information we work with daily or the information we consume daily from digital sources.
- Digital competencies are the skills needed to use technology effectively. Includes: information retrieval, use of digital devices, social media functionality, financial transactions, online shopping, critical perception of information, production of multimedia content, and device synchronization.
- Digital security: the basics of security on the Web Includes: the protection of personal data, a strong password, legal content, a culture of behavior, reputation, ethics, information storage, and backups.
A high degree of computer literacy helps to learn. Compared to traditional paper-based learning resources, accessing information from digital sources is easier.
A component of digital literacy is the personal data that students provide and use to join online communities and work with various networks.
How to assess your digital literacy level
To assess your computer literacy level, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you know how to use digital products like an operating system or text editor?
- Is it easy to work with digital devices like a phone, printer, or smart home element?
- Is sending your friends a photo or video, editing a picture, or creating a comic video difficult?
- Can you think critically and analyze information from social networks and video hosting?
- Can you protect your data and saved logins and passwords from hacking, theft, and phishing?
- Will you write code, create an application, or create a website?
If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then your level of digital literacy is very high! ???? If the answer is no to most points, you may be at risk.
Poor computer literacy can put an individual and organization at great risk. Let’s consider an ordinary case.
The class teacher received an email with congratulations, opened it, and clicked on the phishing link. At this moment, her computer becomes infected with a virus that can give attackers full access, transfer files from the computer to fraudsters, steal logins and passwords from an Internet browser, mine cryptocurrency, or delete all data from the computer. However, the worst scenario is when the school network is hacked, and hackers gain access to all the computers on that network. The damage from one mistake becomes colossal.
How can you assess the level of computer literacy of this teacher? A completely harmless oversight led to a serious problem. If the class teacher knew that it was necessary to open third-party letters with a thorough check of the data, knew how to use antivirus software, and understood the consequences of infection, she would never have opened this letter.
This is an example of a low level of digital literacy, which is unacceptable in the modern world.
What skills and knowledge are employers looking for now, and why
In the early 1980s, with the advent of the digital revolution, companies everywhere began to move from analog to digital technologies, and the industrial age ended. Work processes were automated, people began to be replaced by robots, and some employees were laid off, but the other part remained and adapted to the changes.
With the digital revolution came new opportunities, positions, and requirements for the employee. There was an urgent need for the programming of automated systems, the deployment of communications, robotics, and the maintenance of new products.
A striking example is an enterprise resource planning system or ERP system. It is software where you can manage finance, supply chains, operations, trade, reporting, production, and personnel. Consider what kind of specialists should write code for such a massive program. Yes, they are cool guys! They write code and understand the structure and specifics of each production department; that is, their competence includes studying the processes of trade, logistics, and personnel service. The task of these specialists is not only to build processes but also to make them as automated as possible.
Suppose we imagine a modern accountant who runs to the tax office with many reporting documents instead of submitting everything through a digital portal. In that case, we will be very surprised because he wastes his employer’s time and resources.
The personnel renewal cycle in companies is endless. When an employee does not cope with his duties due to the digitalization of his workplace, he is replaced by a more competent one.
Let’s look at the main digital skills that modern employers are betting on:
- Basics of cybersecurity: to protect the company from malicious intent or negligence of personnel. As we already know, one mistake can give fraudsters full access to corporate data. You can learn these basics in specialized classes, such as cybersecurity courses, from Skysmart Pro.
- understanding of the main trends in the digitalization of processes—to introduce the latest chips, for example, an algorithm for selecting candidates for HR;
- digital interaction using communication tools (corporate and personal messengers);
- Work with large volumes of digital data. To do this, they use digital literacy tools in which you can calculate static data (in Microsoft Excel) and conduct analytics (in Tableau);
- Digital management, management of cycles of processes and projects within the organization. Many companies, such as Microsoft, Apple, or Yandex, manage processes within departments using Agile, Scrum, or Kanban methods. Thanks to this, any manager knows what projects have been completed and how many resources have been expended.
Practical tips for computer literacy
- Check and analyze information.
Everything you get from the media—news portals, instant messengers, social networks, etc. A lot of information on the Internet is fake, so filter the sources and double-check the accuracy of what you see, whether it’s a news article, a Tiktok video, or a letter with an offer, and then follow the link.
- Take care of personal data and your digital portrait.
Search engines and the sites we visit remember our behavior on the Web. We provide information about ourselves in the public domain, and, as the well-known meme says, everything on the Internet stays there forever.
- Do not transfer your data to unverified services;
- use different passwords for different services;
- Do not store passwords from important sites inside the browser;
- Do not transfer sensitive data through public services;
- create the right digital portrait;
- Do not get in touch with users who are engaged in trolling.
- Learn the rules of digital etiquette.
The right attitude toward the safety of your personal, confidential, or corporate information will protect you from scammers, bullying, and liability to law enforcement.
- Check your technical background.
Analyze your level of work with a computer or phone and try to improve it.
- If your knowledge is still elementary, take courses on the basics of working with a PC;
- If your knowledge is at the level of an ordinary user, that is, you know how to work in a text editor, create presentations, and play games, you can easily move on to expand your skills and learn programs for creating graphic images, learn to program, and develop games;
- Suppose your knowledge is above average, and you understand the basics of behavior on the Web, can skillfully work with information, use digital communication tools freely, edit audio or video, and write entry-level programs. In that case, you can apply your knowledge as part of a school or work project. However, there is no limit to perfection: even the coolest specialist is always learning to keep abreast of the latest developments in his field!
You can learn the basics of digital literacy, start your journey into developing websites or applications for phones, learn how to program in Python, or create games on various engines. Open the door to your IT world!