I met Doug Belshaw briefly in London a few weeks ago, and then Mark re-introduced us. Doug has been studying Digital Literacy (and in fact is defending his thesis in a few days — good luck Doug!) and works for JISC infoNet.
For a better understanding of what sorts of things Doug has been thinking about, check out this presentation:
I’m especially given lots of food for thought starting at slide 18 — “the 8 elements” of digital literacy. Which of these apply to web literacy? What’s missing? Etc.
On three “ambiguity stages” of defining a “literacy”
- Generative ambiguity.
- “X” is like “Y”. These things have some things in common, which is obvious to those who know X and Y, and not obvious to those who don’t.
- Creative ambiguity. <– [web literacy seems to be mulling around here]
- Can explain the concept to someone else.
- Productive ambiguity.
- Nail bits down.
On how to better define the edges of literacy
- Idea: make up 3 people. Are they web literate or not? Make sure any definition sorts them properly.
- Ambiguous case: someone who’s very very technical but doesn’t have any web-social knowhow. Are they literate?
- Perhaps some sort of radar chart would be a good visualization.
- Minimal threshold to be “web literate” requires savviness in several areas.
On success metrics
- Need two elements:
- 1) Number of people in curriculum (+ completion)
- 2) User studies.
- “It unlocked the ability to do X for me.”
- Imagine a perfect, web literate world. How is it different from today? Go backwards.
Also, lots of other useful information in Doug’s other presentations which I’ll have to go scour now. :)