So, the course started and I had very high ambitions, but got unfortunately hit by reality due to my daughter and I being down with a never ending cold and also being out of office for a couple of days because of a family trip to Italy. Because of this I missed many of the first group meetings as well as the first webinar, but now being back in business and catching up on what I’ve missed I feel my ambition and motivation is on track again! I also attended the first Tweetchat, which was fun, but a bit stressful and noisy.


What I find fascinating in the discourse about digital literacies is the assumption of an existence of something as “digital natives” and “digital immigrants”. I strongly believe, and agree to what David White emphasizes; that there are no such thing as digital natives/immigrants. David White recommends using the typology Visitor and Resident instead, where the users age or technical skill is irrelevant. You can be either a visitor or resident depending on the context and the tool being used (Visitors and Residents, 2014). Assuming there are persons born into the role of a digital native just because they are part of a generation surrounded by digital tools and tech of all sort is irresponsible, as it is our duty to teach this generation certain literacies.

Photo by Kevin Grieve on Unsplash
Kevin Grieve


What kind of literacies are there then to be taught? In my job at Arcada University of Applied Sciences, we follow the DIGCOMP framework set by the European Union for teaching our first year students Digital literacies. At the library, where I work, we follow the ACRL (Association of College & Research Libraries) definition of information literacy. According to ACRL, information literacy is a skill where both searching and using information is reflective and source critical. An information literate person has insight into, and knowledge of, how information is produced and how it is valued. When creating new knowledge, an information literate person is also able to use the information found ethically (ACRL 2015, 3). For all of our first year students we have a self study material together with assignments for the students to learn more on information literacy.


My concern is however if we are doing enough? I often get questions from students needing help with finding scholarly articles. Many of them have done searches in Google and noticed they can not find anything else than Wikipedia articles, news articles, posts from discussion forums, random blogs and web pages. When introducing scholarly databases to the students, I often see students rushing through the databases, quickly entering key words and rapidly browsing their result lists. For me it seems as there is no reflection if 1) it is the right information for their needs, 2) if it does answers their research question and 3) if the information even is reliable. Students want to find the information instantly, just as in a Google search, which often is a problem when using scholarly databases with different search functions and often without hidden algorithms and smart searches to give them certain search results. I see students relying too much on the tool, believing it will give them the “right” answer, without too much effort made by the user.

As pointed out in an interesting recent article by Ibrar Bhatt and Alison Mackenzie, students need to be educated on being critically aware of what hidden powers lie beneath online spaces and to be reflective on their own practices with digital literacy (Bhatt & MacKenzie 2019). Well, that’s a real challenge!



ACRL (2015). Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Available from: ilframework.

Bhatt, I. & MacKenzie, A. 2019, “Just Google it! Digital literacy and the epistemology of ignorance”, Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 302-317.

Visitors and Residents, 2014, jiscnetskills, Available:


Digital literacies with visitors and residents