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Digital literacies 

well, I did not even know there was a word (or two) for it…until recently. nowadays its just assumed that everybody has it, knows it, owns it….and considered a basic skill like writing and reading. But what does it mean to me really?

For me, it’s not about advanced tools or necessarily even technology, but about mindset and critical thinking. I must say, as an introvert-like person, I realized that I feel quite comfortable with technology. I can totally relate to Adelina S. when she writes “What technology offers introverts is the chance to connect on their own terms, in measured doses and from behind a screen.” (Adelina Sarkisyan, https://learnosity.com/an-introvert-in-a-digital-world-how-technology-empowers/), which brings it to the point! I prefer emails over phone calls, I still engage and appear connected, but I have the time to formulate proper arguments or responses and convey my message more efficiently. Its not that I don´t like people, but often I enjoy online seminars that do not require constant face-to-face interaction.

We have zoom or teams meetings at work way too often though, it´s just too easy to pack your daily calendar with online meetings in hourly intervals, …and some have gotten the habit to just squeeze one more meeting in here and there… often those meeting are opportunities to stay in touch with collaboration partners around the globe, but unfortunately  I think most of those meetings would be much more efficient in person around a table. After the pandemic once we met again we kept repeating this running joke “ohh, you have legs” and we happily realized technology can’t replace human connections, but It should be used to strengthen those connections, definitely.

Digital literacy is so much more than knowing everything about computers (which I certainly do not)…I think the most important is to recognize when you don’t know something and knowing how to address that. I love the creation of databases and being able to search for literature online instead of going to the library. It makes me so much more efficient and helps me to learn to be creative, but also critical… I feel I learn new skills constantly …

Though today’s students are “digital natives,” they are not necessarily considered to be digitally literate from the start. I think it’s the teachers job to educate and guide them to think critically, evaluate and question the sources before them, place that technology into the proper context to be creative and develop new hypothesis and ideas —  that make students digitally literate. I wish I could do the same for my kids.

I would say I have a good understanding of how technology works and how I can use it to achieve my goals, but do I know how to manage my online identity, personal security and privacy? Certainly not! And neither do my kids and that is scary. 

When it comes to using technology privately I´m happy to use my phone which helps me to separate work from private. Some services make our lives easier, like what’s app helps to stay connected with my family in Germany (even my parents manage to call via what’s app 😊), online banking and online shopping, but there are also many situations, where we don´t get a choice. The school is communicating via Unikum and our horse riding clubs via facebook and hippocrates, and not to mention all those facebook groups that you are asked to join as a parent…

It can be overwhelming and screen time increases. We decided for ourselves to have phone-free evenings incl. no phones on the eating table. I can tell you…such a relief!

Digital literacies – and what it means to me