Towards a Theory of Digital Literacy: Three Scenarios for the Next Steps

Aharon Aviram [roniav@bgu.ac.il],
Center of Futurism in Education,
Ben-Gurion University, Israel
[http://www.bgu.ac.il]
Yoram Eshet-Alkalai [yorames@openu.ac.il]
Chais Research Center for the Integration of Technology in Education,
The Open University, Israel
[http://www-e.openu.ac.il]

Abstract

This paper focuses on the discussion of the digital literacy skills that are considered necessary for effective and mindful learning in the emerging digital environments. To date, the discourse on this important subject has been practice-oriented, and lacks a sound integrative framework and theoretical foundation. This grave lacuna in the current discourse on learning in general, and on learning in the digital culture in particular, calls for a clear and theoretically-grounded view of the basic literacies required for effective learning in digital environments. Accordingly, this paper reviews an integrative framework for digital literacy recently suggested by Eshet-Alkalai (2004; 2005) as a starting point for the much-needed theorization. Two basic strategies – the conservative and the skeptical – are considered for this purpose. The first strategy relies on the basic assumption of the current discourse that "digital skills" are indeed nothing but skills. The second strategy, based on doubts concerning this assumption, leads to two different skeptical hypotheses. The first contends that the skill-oriented discourse can be reduced to the older discourses on learning styles and multiple intelligences; the second attempts to reduce it to the much more fundamental discourse on the clash between the modern book-based and the post modern digital cultures.

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Tags

e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, internet, collaborative learning, learning management system, MOOC, interaction, LMS,

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