The concept of digital literacies was something familiar yet new to me and exploring this topic gave a whole new meaning and understanding to it. I had the opportunity to reflect on who i am as an individual in the digital age when the topic was introduced by David White during his webinar. I seem to be pretty much a visitor in the digital space when it comes to my personal life, however I would regard myself as a resident when to comes to my professional environment.

The American Library Association (ALA) defines digital literacy as “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” With this simple definition in mind, it is important to understand that even digital natives who know how to post on social media and send an email or text, are not considered “digitally literate” by an means.

I understand that young people face many challenges to success. Among these is a dire lack of digital literacy and access to the internet and data. In South Africa, there are some projects to support this to impart digital skills to young people, particularly young women in rural areas in South Africa. These programmes deliver core skills to enhance young peoples’ entrepreneurship knowledge and boost their employability.

Fear, which was was one of the common focus points during this topic, is certainly seen as a barrier to online learning. There is a general and genuine fear of reform or change. From practical experience and informal interactions, many have expressed the fear of losing the ‘human touch’ since they may not be physically present with their students.

In the formal education context, teachers themselves often don’t have the skills to make use of technology and many institutions do not have integrated e-learning policies to guide innovative teaching and learning practices. In fact, our rigidly structured educational systems do not support innovative educational practices, thus restricting creativity and experimentation.

It seems to me that cellphones have become more prevalent than other devices but are fairly limited to drive education and learning. However, I believe this is changing and the prospect to be able to deliver education is improving.

In my teaching experience, the environment has very much changed during the last year during the Covid-19 pandemic, when we had to rapidly move all classes online and make use of the available tools to deliver content to students. As a result of this, adult learners are therefore expected to manage their time effectively and develop communication and technological skills. They should also be self-motivated and accept the flexibility that goes with online learning.

I would say that I do miss being in the classroom space, however, the concept of digital literacies has definitely helped me to explore much further in the digital space and make use of different tools and methods to enhance the educational experience.


White D (2014) Visitors and residents (part 1). Available at:

Topic 1: Online participation and digital literacies