Gone are the days when learning was solely achieved using pens, paper, books, Slate, globes and chalkboards in South Africa. In today’s world, various forms of technology are routinely found in elementary, middle and high school classrooms, including interactive whiteboards, desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets and smartphones.

 belshaw-elements1.pngSource: Adapted from Belshaw. D (2014) accessed 08 October 2018

It is without doubt that the digital world offers tremendous benefits to both lecturers as well as students. It provides platforms that allow us to connect and collaborate. It opens up opportunities to learn about new and important issues, and it empowers innovation in ways that were unimaginable in early days. Do not confuse it with computer literacy, digital literacy comes with a completely different meaning. This is a branch of study that requires a deep understanding of the communal issues emerging out of digital technologies (Edys, 2018). Digital literacy is also about creating an awareness of the standard governing online behavior.

While the use of online courses and e-books is growing in South African education, we are still behind from the developed countries, given that the speed of our fibre optica is so slow compare to the first world countries. Lectures are often delivered using traditional methods, with a great reliance on dead tree materials, and physical core textbooks continue to hold ground over digital versions.  Universities, now competing more intensely with one another for the best students and quality, are increasingly seeing their own technical preparedness as a differentiating factor, and some are offering technical enticements to prospective students free devices or free e-books. Like here in Damelin College, every student who register with us is guaranteed a free tablet, a 1 gig data every month as well as free WiFi access in all our campuses across South Africa.

Benefits of digital literacy

The impact that technology has had on today’s schools has been quite significant. This widespread adoption of technology has completely changed how teachers teach and students learn. Teachers are learning how to teach with emerging technologies tablets, iPads, Smart phones, digital cameras, computers, while students are using advanced technology to shape how they learn. Student perceptions in the study believe that technology helps them retain information better. Today’s technology enables students to learn at their own pace. For example, almost all apps allow for individualized instruction. Students can learn according to their abilities and needs.


Technology occupies an important place within student’s lives. When they are not in school, just about everything that they do is connected in someway to technology. Universities can do more to teach the basic digital literacy skills that students are seeking to prepare them for the workplace. They can recognize that digital literacy skills in their broadest definition will bring great benefits to students, to their eventual place of employment, and to their lifelong working and personal life. Students, already expert users of technology, need direction to turn their technical skills into skills for learning and employability.


Beshaw, D. (2014) Understanding the importance of digital literacy in our life time. Norlan images. FL.

Importance of Digital Literacy in the classroom. How important is it in nowadays?