What is Digital Literacy? Importance of digital literacy

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Digital literacy is a combination of awareness, general knowledge, and skills about modern computers and the internet basics, trends, use, and practices. Digital Skills are used on daily basis in life, organizations, education, business, and professions.

Digital education, digital commerce, digital governance, digital media, digital communication, digital payments many other digital activities are promoted and initiated by the governments as well as the private sector. It’s because of the benefits of digital mediums such as it reducing the investment of time, effort, and money and automating complex or repetitive works with accuracy and transparency.

The meaning of digital is the use of computers, the internet, and IoT tools in daily life, social, business, personal and professional activities. With the use of 5G and faster internet, the use of digital will grow more in the future. From a kid to a senior citizen, everyone is connected with digital mediums intentionally, unintentionally, as a compulsion, and also forcefully. These days, if you’re not digitally literate and skilled you’re not considered smart.

Actually, this is an updated definition of smart. Smart is an attractive marketing word. That engages people in the cause, product, and services. No matter, if you’re wasting your time on social media and digital platforms, or whether you’re getting 4G speed in a 5G plan, you will still be considered smart. So it’s very important for all of us to understand the use of digital technologies. And follow the best practices after understanding its advantages and disadvantages.

So, any person, group, community, and nation who is able to use a computer, internet, mobile apps, IoT, and smart electronic devices such as smart TV, Smart Watch, and Digital Automation in their daily life, career, profession, and business are considered digital literate.

It also means the ability to use digital platforms and technologies for the purpose of personal, career, business, and economic development. Practically this includes the use of email, social media, digital payments, online shopping, digital communication (video calls/chats), online learning, online business, and work.

Characteristics of digital literate or digital literate person:

Any person, group, community, society, and citizen who are able to:

  • Communicate online using email, chat, and video calls,
  • Research, learn, and build their personal, career, and business development skills online,
  • Aware, understand and analyze fake news, fake tweets, and online frauds by individuals, groups, and organizations.
  • Understand the importance of internet data privacy and cyber security.
  • Learn new skills and knowledge online.
  • Able to understand and know what is the use or what to search on Google and Bing for their career and business development.
  • Use the internet and computer intentionally for the development of their career and business.
  • Understand fake news, fake WhatsApp messages, and various propaganda.
  • Use the internet to grow business online, using search engines, websites, social media, and content marketing.
  • Use digital marketing and advertising in their business.
  • Research data and information on the internet.
  • Write, create, teach, learn and work with the use of a computer, mobile, and the internet.
  • To pay bills and transfer money using the internet or mobile apps such as google pay.
  • Learn and research digital literacy, computer skills, internet platforms, online business, content creation, digital marketing, website development etc.
  • Pay the challan online such as car challan.
  • Fill or submit government Job/Examination forms online.
  • Access various government digital schemes online through mobile or desktop computers.
  • Join virtual events, seminars, and meetings with their smart Tv or Mobile or Computer.
  • and many others.

All of the above and many similar examples are the characteristics of a digitally literate person. On the basis of the above activities, the definition of a digitally literate person is that “A digitally literate person as per the situation and available sources can save time, effort, and money using computer and internet platforms and technologies.

Ways to become digitally literate:

  • Join basic computer and internet skills courses in the local area or online.
  • Subscribe to technology, computer, and internet security-related YouTube channels, websites, and blogs.
  • Read at least 1 or 2 news related to technology on daily basis for a lifetime.
  • Try to learn and use computers, the internet, and digital platform for your career and business development.
  • Learn the uses of computers and the internet in daily life.

Digital literacy in Education:

Digital literacy plays a big role in the development of the learning capacity and critical abilities of students. But just having computer labs and computer teachers in schools and colleges is not enough. The most critical or important factor behind the development of digital skills and literacy in students is the syllabus. What needs to be taught to students in order to improve their digital skills, analysis, and knowledge?

Students have to teach not just about computer and internet apps or tools but needs to teach actual technology concepts. Just teaching word, excel or anything fancy is not enough. Training in tools is not enough. Actually knowing what tool or technology to use for what purpose ethically is most important for students as well as for teachers.

But for that, it’s important to have the best computer and technology syllabus designed for the students. It’s important that the group or official who designed the syllabus have a vision for their nation and the ability to think through that. For example, if in my country I want to build entrepreneurship and leadership ability then I will include the topic in the computer courses that relate to that goal. For example, I have created a basic computer course syllabus with topics that are important to learn and teach.

So in conclusion, In the 21st century, we expect students and teachers are digitally literate. At least they should know what is important and not important to learn and produce on the web or for national unity.

Also analyzing, differentiating, and blocking fake and vulgar digital content creators, and companies is one of the most important skills.

There are many digital media, content creation, and entertainment companies, organizations, and people who are encouraging fake and vulgar content. It’s important for teachers to teach students about these things.

Not only that it’s also important for students that watching anything or everything on YouTube, Tik Tok or Facebook or Whatsapp is not education. Especially the content that is created for selling, hate and that is Bad, useless frivolous.

No matter if that content got a million views. Having millions of views or likes doesn’t mean it’s not useless or frivolous. It just means that many people and societies still like rubbish and cheesy things.

That’s why the importance of the right digital education. At least for upcoming teenagers, voters and students.

So, these things are important to teach students. So that they will not get influenced by such digital companies, and influencers and become their slave.

So until students are not able to understand or analyze their own or digital content such as what is right or what is bad? and don’t know how to do something on their own using the internet. Till then, the level of digital literacy will remain poor.

Having digital skills and high digital literacy helps people save time, money, and effort. Having technology is not just a type of luxury, it’s a cycle of change. And those who are able to pay for that are using and taking benefits. It is also a monthly financial liability. That’s why digital literacy help to understand where to invest time, effort, and money or where not.

Importance of digital literacy in Leadership and decision-making:

Digital literacy is important per the current scenario for everyone including government and ministers as well as local leaders. If a leader or decision maker is technology illiterate or even does not have basic computer and internet knowledge and awareness. Then it will impact his decisions and policies.

Because he/she has to depend on others for technical analysis. And that can be over-analyzed or wrongly interpreted. And due to that, it will impact societies positively and negatively.

What is the guarantee of becoming digitally literate?

Digital media, online business/communication platforms, computers, and the Internet practices are very broad or like a sea. Technology is uncertain and unstable medium. Change is its nature. If technology does not change as per the demand and problems then it becomes useless. That’s why you often see notifications from companies to update your mobile apps and web apps.

It’s mandatory or forced liabilities. So it’s important for the upcoming generation to stay updated with the latest digital trends and technologies to survive and protect their confidence. Many times it works like a forced liability not only on people but also on the organization or government maintaining law and order in the country.

There are both good and bad uses of digital computers or personal computers and the internet. It depends on your computer literacy or digital literacy that which method you use. You will get results based on your inputs on digital devices. Everything and everyone is connected. Anything can become viral or popular at any time. This is the power of computers, mobile, and the internet. If you learn to use this power in your favor, then you will get amazing results.

For example, if you are not digitally literate you may click any fraud WhatsApp message, link or SMS that may transfer your money from your bank account to another bank account. These types of frauds and scams are happening around the world with technology-illiterate people.

Digital scams are not only happened to those who are technically poor, but scams or digital scams also happen to those who have a very good in computers, internet knowledge, experience, and even degrees in computers and technologies.

Digital literacy is one thing. But analyzing things through digital skills is another skill.

As I told you that technology is like a sea. The only best way is to stay updated about things related to digital activities and learn basic as well as advanced computer knowledge and skills whenever you have time or get time. The person who is updated with the latest safe and legal digital (online) practice is digitally literate. I mean what to do and what not?

If want to know the basic and advanced digital skills to learn then please see the list below. These are the best and most modern digital skills to learn online for career and business development.

Essential basic digital skills for non-technical people:

  • Computer Typing Skills Help you type documents faster and you can also chat faster.
  • Microsoft Office – This tool (Application software package), will help you to stay productive and create, manage, and present documents, reports, data, and information effectively and professionally.
  • Social Media and social networking Skills: These skills will help you to learn and use social media and build your network and then use that network in your favor, career, and business.
  • Basic Photo Editing and Graphic Design Skills:- For editing personal and family photos, thumbnails for YouTube Videos, and photo retouching, banners ad design, birthday cards, and invitation cards.
  • Internet Privacy / Security Skills and awareness: Help you to stay safe on the internet. Read More14 most effective methods to get rid of top 10 types of Internet Scams
  • Knowledge of Search Engines Uses: Help you find and to take the advantage of knowledge and information available on the web in your life, career, and business.
  • Online Learning Methods: Help you study online. You can join online courses. You can learn new skills with free video tutorials and you can also join online degree programs. Learn MoreHow to learn computer skills – Basic Tips to Get Started Quickly
  • Basics of Online Business: You can learn about online business and eCommerce activities. This is will help you plan your own business. And help you to grow your offline business online faster.
  • Online Jobs/Remote works and freelancing: This will help you to work from home, and get and explore international job and career growth opportunities.
  • And knowledge about the uses of computers, the internet, web development, and digital marketing and their importance in the modern era.

More professional and advanced digital skills:

  • Digital Content Creation Skills: This will help you to create content and sell content. With this skill, you can start your YouTube Channel, Blog and also promote your own or others’ businesses on social media through content.
  • Content writing and copywriting skills: This will help you to promote, market, and generate leads and increase sales using engaging headlines, titles, slogans, posts, sales copy, email newsletters etc.
  • Website Design and Development Skills: These skills will help you to build your portfolio, and business website. You can also help others with web design skills to create their business, eCommerce or blog website.
  • Search Engine Optimization Skills: This will help you to optimize your website pages, and posts for the people who are looking for data, information, and knowledge on google and bing.
  • Social Media Marketing Skills: This skill help you to promote your business on social media. This will help also help you to make a positive change in society and become an influencer. And with these skills, you can start your own online social media marketing business.
  • Online Advertising – PPC / Display Advertising Skills: Help you to set up an Ad campaign, generate more leads, help increase sales and grow your business online faster.

Digital skills specifically for online (Digital) business:

  • Digital Marketing Agency Business: Help small business owners grow their business online through digital channels.
  • Website Design/Web Development Business/WordPress Agency: Help to build and maintain the websites of clients.
  • Advertising / Lead Generation Business: Help to set up and run advertising campaigns in order to increase traffic and sales.
  • Social Media Marketing Business: Help brands build and grow their social media presence and build long-term relationships with clients. And also help to drive more leads and sales.
  • Copywriting Business: Help to write engaging titles, ad copy, social media posts, blog posts, and newsletters.
  • Online Course selling: It’s a way to help more people and make them successful in their careers and business. So that students can learn anytime on any device anywhere as per the schedule.
  • Digital Tools Creation Business: Create small Web Applications, APIs, Extensions, and Plugins Creation Business and provide them through SaaS (Software as service).
  • App Development Business: Providing mobile app services or starting your own startup.
    Online Store and drop shipping: Selling and delivering products.
  • Affiliate marketing business: Getting commission by selling others’ products and services.
  • Influencer marketing business: Helping small business owners and brands to reach a more targeted audience.
  • SEO Agency: Help small business owners and bloggers optimize their websites, on-page SEO, and Technical SEO for more organic traffic from search engines.

So the above is a big list of digital skills. You can learn all of these or just choose specific as per your interest. Whatever digital skills you choose to learn, will keep you digitally literate,  productive, and progressive in your career and business.

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