Digital literacy can boost employability and improve student experience #jiscdiglit

Digital literacy can boost employability and improve student experience #jiscdiglit

I am working on the JISC Digital Literacies programme with the Organisational Development in Higher Education Group. We are featured in The Guardian today: 

It starts as follows:

The nature of knowledge is changing and, in this digital age, our definition of basic literacy urgently needs expanding. With an estimated 90% of UK jobs requiring some level of IT competency, the notion of digital literacy – those capabilities that equip an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society – is one that needs to be taken seriously by colleges and universities.

We live in an online world with the digital divide closing up both through government initiatives (Martha Lane Fox, the government’s digital champion, recently took up the challenge of getting 10 million people in the UK online, saying that otherwise “they will be even more isolated and disadvantaged as government and industry expand ever faster into digital-only services”) and technological advances – more than half the UK population now own a smartphone with internet capability.

Universities and colleges have a responsibility to develop students into individuals who can thrive in an era of digital information and communication – those who are digitally literate are more likely to be economically secure and these skills are especially important in higher education given that graduate white collar jobs are almost entirely performed on computers and portable devices.

But it’s not just about employability – increasingly digital literacy is vital for learning itself. Digital tools such as virtual learning environments, e-portfolios and social networking software for peer mentoring are now common within further and higher education and students without the skills to navigate them risk suffering an inferior student experience at best, and being left completely behind at worst. It goes beyond IT skills, a complete culture change is required to live fully within the modern digital society, from understanding how to communicate ideas effectively in a range of media to managing digital reputation and history.

Read full story.

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