Digital literacy in students new to HE


Digital literacy is the ability to effectively and critically navigate, create and evaluate information using a range of different technologies and there is acknowledgement that students need support with some areas of practice, particularly in academic contexts.

It commonly assumed all students new to higher education naturally possess digital literacy skills, with this group often termed ‘digital natives’.  We assume this generation have grown up with digital technologies; indeed the incoming students in September 2014 will mostly have been born after Google was founded and will have undertaken all of their formal education in a world in which Wikipedia exists.

However, having grown up with these technologies available doesn’t automatically translate into digital literacy and experience shows us our students are not inherently digitally literate, and are often lacking the skills around criticality and evaluation.

In this presentation, from the 2013 Westminster Learning Futures webinar series, Tony Burke from the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment talks through issues around digital literacy of students entering higher education, why it is important and how digital literacy skills can be embedded into the curriculum.

The presentation also details responses to a survey about digital literacy completed by students, and shows that whilst students largely consider themselves to be digitally literate and fans of technology, when it came to using online tools and technologies, many had little or no experience.




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