Episode 21: The Importance of Digital Literacy

(Remember how terrible word clouds are? We do!)

We’ve talked a fair amount about the importance of critical thinking in both life and in digital transformations. Well, there is another facet to digital transformation that we have yet to cover, namely Data Literacy!

In this episode we talk about what data literacy actually describes, how it is seen in our everyday lives, as well as how we can go about upgrading our own digital literacy skillsets!

To keep up with the podcast be sure to visit our website at datacouture.org, follow us on twitter @datacouturepod, and on instagram @datacouturepodcast. And, if you’d like to help support future episodes, then consider becoming a patron at patreon.com/datacouture!

Music for the show: Foolish Game / God Don’t Work On Commission by spinmeister (c) copyright 2014 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/spinmeister/46822 Ft: Snowflake

Show Notes:

Welcome to data couture, the podcast about data culture at work at home, and on the go. I’m your host, Jordan Bohall. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe lows, get the latest episodes wherever you get podcasts. And if you’d like to stay up to date on everything data couture, be sure to follow us on Twitter at data couture pod. Finally, if you’d like to help support this in future episodes, consider becoming a patron of the podcast through our Patreon page@patreon.com. forward slash data couture. Now on to the show.

Welcome to Data Couture. I’m your host Jordan, and on today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about digital literacy. Now for those that have probably heard terms like media literacy or computer literacy, this is another circle and the Venn diagram connecting who we are in the world to our digital lives. Today’s episode is going to be split up into three parts like usual, the first is going to be a bit of an educational chance, where we talk about digital literacy where it fits into computer literacy as well as to media literacy.

And then we’re going to go into the second part where we talk about how we see this in our day to day lives, how we experience digital literacy and the sort of people who both Have and do not have digital literacy. And finally, in the very end, we’re going to talk about how you can one up your digital literacy game. Stay tuned.

Welcome to the first part of the show. Now you might be wondering what is digital literacy? Well, literacy refers to an individual’s ability to both find, evaluate, and compose clear information through writing and other mediums on the many various digital platforms. Now, digital literacy is evaluated by one’s grammar, their composition, their typing skills and their ability to produce writings, images, audio and designs using the minimum
Different types of technology.

And so while digital literacy was originally focused on digital skills and maybe one’s personal computer, with the rise of the Internet and the use the heavy use of social media, it’s caused many to focus on the shift to mobile devices. Now, digital literacy overlaps commonly with both computer literacy and media literacy. media literacy is small. It was, I suppose, a result of both the UK and US being concerned about various types of propaganda that were spreading up in the 30s and the 40s and also the rise of advertising in the 60s respectively. And media literacy was an effort to raise the social understanding of how these forms of advertising and forms of argumentation can actually manipulate your data.
Today lives. Same thing with computer literacy being computer literate? Well, it’s based in various digital technologies.

And those digital technologies require some level of computing or computer competency. And so digital literacy is somewhere in this three form Venn diagram. Now, they don’t necessarily overlap themselves, but they are all connected at some point in the middle. Now, you might be wondering, Well, what comprises digital literacy? Well, and there are two people called him and ash at alkali and they have contended that there are five types of literacy ease in which digital literacy is composed. So digital literacy becomes a an umbrella term for the following, namely, put a visual literacy and that is the ability to both read as well as the deuce information from visuals.

Then there’s reproduction. literacy, which is the ability to use digital technology to create new pieces of work or combined existing pieces of work together, so that it then becomes your own thing, Photoshop. There’s also branching literacy, which is the ability to navigate in various nonlinear mediums of the digital space. So for example, you see something interesting on Instagram or
Snapchat or Facebook or Twitter or any of the many other various social media websites, you then click over to their website which has a link to some other sorts of content, which you then follow and it takes you down this rabbit hole, so to speak, and you are able to navigate all the way back up to the start to remember where you were some people not going to name names like to have 1000 tabs open on the browser.

That’s a personal pet peeve of mine. But nevertheless, there are multiple ways to gain this branching literacy. The fourth, various type of literacy involved in digital literacy is information literacy. And information literacy is the ability to search, locate, assess, and most importantly, critically evaluate information found on the web, and libraries and various pieces of data. And the final, as proposed by these two people, version of digital literacy or sub section, I guess, sub genre, digital literacy is socio emotional literacy. And this is the social and emotional aspects of being present online. And that might be the case on whether it’s through socializing, collaborating, or simply consuming content. And so as you all know, there are lots of trolls on the internet.

And if you put yourself out there at all, whether that be on social media, whether you have a podcast whether you’re in any other way presenting yourself online. There’s a certain emotional expectation that goes along with that, because let’s face it, there are lots of people who have nothing better to do, but to try to bring you down. And in order to be successful, or at least in order to navigate the various pitfalls that come with being online. One must have this fifth type of literacy, namely the socio emotional literacy.

Now, this is what I mean by digital literacy. And if it’s not obvious, and to hearken back to one of the former episodes, digital literacy combined with a robust set of critical thinking skills are going to allow you to be in the best position to be a data scientist to be a data professional, whether you’re a data engineer, a visualization specialist, a bi engineer, what have you. So let’s move on to the second session where we talk about how this plays out in real life. See us In the second section of data couture, now you might be asking yourself, for me, for that matter. Why are you talking about digital literacy? What does this have to do with data science or data culture? And why do these five sub areas of digital literacy matter, namely photo visual literacy, reproduction, literacy, branching literacy, information literacy, and socio emotional literacy?

Well, it turns out that every single one of these pieces underlie a digital cultural transformation. And so in order for a company or for a business or for anybody to really make the digital cultural transformation divide, there’s going to have to be this underlying set of principles there’s going to have to be
The digital literacy principle, this digital literacy understanding, as well as a strong notion of critical thinking skill sets.

And so has, you’ve probably imagined or you’ve probably experienced, not everyone can really achieve the literacy required to hit all five of the sub genres of digital literacy. So how do I see this play out in the real world? Well, when something’s lacking, let’s say the socio the social emotional aspects. When people get really upset, they open themselves up to the sorts of bullying mentality that so frequently happens on the internet. Or, for example, if they fail to really build up their information literacy skills. They’re not great at searching or locating our system or assessing and critically, therefore evaluating information that they find on the web.

And so what happens is They are rot with all sorts of ill conceived and Ill understood various bits of information that ultimately turn them away from the benefits that digital transformation has to offer. And so the reason why I brought up media literacy at the very beginning of the shows because there are lots of parallels into what I see going on, and the world around me. And so like I said, media literacy became at least the education pieces became very prevalent in the United States In the United Kingdom, and during the run up and the follow through of World War Two, as well as the advent of modern advertising techniques.

And so what happened was, well, people saw all this propaganda all of this as some people like to call fake news coming down the pike coming into their letterboxes becoming readily available, showing up on Billboard
Showing up everywhere that they consume information. And let’s face it, every one of these pieces or every one of these outlets are offering arguments they’re offering bits of information that you’re led to believe is the case, maybe it’s the best mop on the market, or at least the marketing says it’s the best map on the market. Or maybe it’s something more insidious.

Maybe it’s turning you towards a certain political ideology or making you believe that your best interests aren’t really the way you should vote, something like this, right. And so both countries set forth this massive education campaign. And what did it consistent, it was consistent in critical thinking, be able, being able to pull out the arguments that these ads supposedly had, and being able to evaluate them on your own being able to critically assess them. Now, what is an example of that? Let’s take some ads, right? Smoking ads, at least up until the last 10 years, they would always show some cool woman or man smoking a cigarette. And maybe they had a nice car and maybe they had a very attractive partner that they’re flirting with. Maybe they clearly had lots of money. Well, what’s the argument there? I’m sure you can figure it out. Oh, if you smoke, you’re going to have a very attractive partner.

You’re going to be attractive yourself. You’re going to have nice things, you’re going to be affluent. That’s the argument there. What’s the problem with it? Well, we know that smoking and related products cause cancer. What does cancer do? Well, among other things, kills you. But it also leads to lots of health problems a lot leads to lots of economic problems. The point is, I don’t mean to be a anti smoking PSA here. But media literacy was a great campaign to allow the populace to be able to critically evaluate what was going on around them. Now in this common age in this current age, we have a similar problem, it’s almost identical. We now have access to this massive network, the internet, where lots of things happen, lots of things are presented to us.

If you don’t know any better, you could be subsumed or sucked into various problematic things, various problematic ideas, various pieces of information that could lead you astray. Know, to be digitally literate, is to be able to see these pieces, see these bits of information, see these various techniques that are used across the internet and be able to critically evaluate whether or not that’s right for you. Right, it’s a way to almost protect oneself from the onslaught of unregulated and unfiltered information that comes your way help. Even this podcast, you’re supposed to be critically evaluating The words I’m saying and if you don’t agree with it, you should think about that you should evaluate what I’m saying and determine whether or not I am leading you astray.

Digital Literacy allows you to do that. And so how am I seeing this in the world around me? Well, I’m seeing lots of people fall prey to phishing attempts, or lots of people fall prey to multi level marketing because it’s very similar to the advertising piece. Look what I did, I bought this brand new Mercedes because I sold XYZ product when the end of the day you’re just going to lose money. Or much worse. I see people not having access to all these digital outlets that we have which even though it has these negative sides that have been harping on also has this wealth of information, this wealth of connectivity to other people that share your similar interests. And because they don’t have the the necessary digital literacy skill sets, they’re left out there. They’re losing the history, almost
And so I worry that without promoting digital literacy, just like we did media literacy or like computer literacy, we’re going to have a whole section of the world that won’t be able to participate in where we as a human species are going.

So with that, let’s move on to the third section.

Welcome to the third part of the show. This is the part where we talk about what can be done about this lack of digital literacy.

Of course, you’re thinking to yourself, hey, I’ve got my smartphone. I’ve got my various streaming device. I’m listening to you online. I am digitally literate.
Great. And so are your kids. If you have kids, if you don’t have kids, just know that Gen Z, Gen Y for the most part, I suppose. And also this new Gen which this new generation, I’m not sure what they’re calling it, but I think generation alpha. Nevertheless, most of this most of these people are so called Digital Natives they were either born with these technologies already are in place, or they came about at a very early stage in their development. So they’re very used to and very capable using them.

Now, what I’m talking about is bringing up the ranks bringing up everybody who aren’t digital natives, because this is going to be important the majority of jobs, whether that’s a white collar job, a blue collar job, or anywhere in between, they’re increasingly requiring that folks have digital literacy. What can be done about it? Well, lots of schools are taking into account this new
Did set of bits of information, bits of education or to, like help this divide help this failure or the summary of failure but help this golf of digital literacy.

However, that’s not enough. Again, that’s for the Gen Y, or at least it used to be Gen Z and so called Gen alpha. What do we need to do for everybody who’s not in those generations, namely a very significant swath of the global population? Well, it comes down to probably your place of work, it comes down to having a culture at work where if you don’t have these digital literate skill sets, the training is made available to you. It’s training just like any other sort of on the job training. You don’t know how to use a program that’s specific to the company you’re working for. Chances are that company is going to train you how to use that particular set of technology. Similarly, with digital skill sets, well if you don’t have the digital skill sets necessary to perform your job, which
You’re gonna need, especially as things become more and more automated, there are more and more machine learning and artificial intelligence and predictive analytics bits of algorithm out there to help you perform your job more quickly and efficiently.

Well, you’re going to be able to, you’re going to have to be able to be digital, literate and digitally literate, so that you can keep up and be able to
give the sorts of additional information, the higher level creative types of thinking necessary to do the job that you’re eventually going to be put into. So I say to you, dear listener, if you don’t have this available at your current organization, start to demand it because chances are your senior leadership your executive leadership, they’re already seriously considering how to change your work environment, work culture, they’re trying to implement a digital transformation at your company in digital transformations they live or die.
Based on the set of critical thinking skills, and the digital literacy available from all the employees, only then will you have a culture that’s data driven.

So you should suggested at your next, I don’t know, board meeting or for organization meeting, or whatever it is, and make it known that you want it. Because it’s necessary, it’s going to be important to the future of the organization. It’s going to be important to your future work possibilities. So, if you have any comments or thoughts, please put them down below and I would be happy to interact with all of you.

That’s it for the show. Thank you for listening. And if you liked what you’ve heard, then consider leaving a comment or like down below. Stay up to date on everything data could tour, be sure to follow us on Twitter at data couture pod, consider becoming a patron@patreon.com forward slash
couture. music for the podcast. It’s called foolish game. God don’t work on commission by the artist spin Meister used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, writing, editing and production of the podcast is by your host, Jordan Bohall.

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