top view of man holding android smartphone near macbook and newspaper
top view of man holding android smartphone near macbook and newspaper
Digital literacy tools

Digital literacy is a new currency that we are using to trade digital technologies for learning and teaching in online landscape. However, there is a significance difference between digital skills and digital literacy. Pewhairangi (2016) wrote on her blog post “Digital skills focus on knowing. Digital literacy focuses on understanding”. This is to say, digital skills help us master how to operate digital tools while digital literacy help us “access, understand, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information” (Law et al., 2018) and forge new meanings. It is the ability to effectively solve problems in a technology-rich environment (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2013). In that sense, a healthy partnership is required between designers of digital educational tools who are inclined to understand what works best in order to improve usage of digital educational tools (Arnab, et al., 2015) and the online platform users who should be free to select digital tools that fit best their context and which favor their creativity and novelty. As Henny (2016) snapped, the right digital tools “encourage teachers and students to become more skilled in studying online”. Therefore, digital tools selected based on users’ (learners/teachers) contexts will encourage them to be cognizant of digital skills that they need to be skilled around, hence, become more open to learning and embrace collaborative skills.


1. Henny, C (2016). “Why Digital Literacy Is Critical In eLearning”. Educational Technology.

2. Arnab, S., Tombs, G., Duncan, M., Smith, M., & Star, K. (2015, December). Towards the blending of digital and physical learning contexts with a gamified and pervasive approach. In International Conference on Games and Learning Alliance (pp. 452-460). Springer, Cham.

3. Law, N., Woo, D., Torre, J., and Wong, G. (2018). A Global Framework of Reference on Digital Literacy Skills for Indicator 4.4.2. UNESCO Institute of Statistics. UIS/2018/ICT/IP51.

4. Sally Pewhairangi (2016). “Digital Skills Are Not the Same as Digital Literacy”. Blog post. 8 February 2016 – 3:13pm.

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Digital literacy, digital tools and online participation – why context matters?