We recently released a blog about the skills to focus on in 2021; there are also additional skills you can train to supplement and further improve your core skills. These additional skills are known as ‘Digital Literacy Skills’ and focus on being able to properly consume and understand information received from a digital medium. Digital literacy skills can be broken down into three specific skills. Let's go through them now!
Information literacy as defined by the American Library Association, "is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” The first key takeaway from this and the first step in information literacy is that you must be able to recognize when you require more information than what you currently have. Second, once you have identified the need for more information you need to be able to obtain that information. This is something you can improve by learning good resources for obtaining information, and how to pick out good keywords to make effective online searches.
Media literacy is the ability to determine the quality of information and the provider of the information. More specifically it is your ability to identify if information being provided to you is false, biased, incomplete, or otherwise inadequate. Additionally, if the information is of poor quality you should further be able to identify if the quality is due to an honest mistake or if the provider of the information is intentionally skewing it to lead you to a specific line of thought. If information is being intentionally manipulated, you should not use whatever source you found that information from again. The best way to determine the validity of information is to cross reference it against other records of the same thing and primary sources.
Technology literacy is the simplest of the three digital literacy skills. It is simply the ability to properly use devices that give you access to information that you are looking for. For example, knowing how to perform a web search on a computer or your phone requires you to be technologically literate. This is also one of the easiest to teach yourself. You simply need to interact with a device that you would use to obtain information until you understand how it works well enough to use it to obtain information.
Digital literacy only continues to grow more important as technology continues to grow more prevalent in our increasingly digital world. Gaining more experience in these skills will go far in helping you become/stay overall knowledgeable and current with world events. Another way to look at it is that understanding how to properly utilize the staggeringly massive wealth of information that is the internet will make it trivially easy to learn something new every day.
Need additional help developing these skills or even just gaining experience?
Well there are plenty of ways to get started!