Knowing the Difference Between Digital Skills and Digital Literacies and Teaching Both

Hertz-Newman, Jenny


Bali, M. (2016). Knowing the difference between digital skills and digital literacies and teaching both. Literacy Today. Retrieved from:

This article makes the important distinction between digital skills such as the ability to use digital tools (i.e., how to download, how to retweet, how to use Powerpoint) and digital literacies, which Bali (2016) characterizes as the “issues, norms, and habits of mind surrounding technologies used for a particular purpose”.  In other words it’s important for teachers to make sure they are teaching both the HOW of using digital tools as well as the WHEN and WHY involved with using those tools.

I appreciate the way Bali (2016) discusses the contextualized teaching and learning involved in digital literacy — when would you use Google instead of another platform, when should your use be determined by issues of privacy, issues of source reliability, issues of appropriateness and long term consequences of a particular posting?  She proposes a progressive model, scaling up in complexity in both skills and literacy.


Harman, Sheila
IL Information LiteracyStrauss, Valerie (2016). The astonishing amount of data being collected about your child, Washington Post, November 12, 2016.

This article from the Washington Post, while it is not peer reviewed, is related to the needs of libraries and the information highway. Access to the internet, to individualized instruction with games and apps have forced private and mundane info into the hands of many.  There are those attempting to protect privacy and many have a hard time keeping pace with speed of data production. It is important to consider the rights of those who do not know what they are providing freely for longitudinal data relating to , for example financial information, for studies to groups like the Gates Foundations and inBloom. They have searchable data sites for governmental use with terms like “disability”, “homeless” and ethnicity.  It all may seem innocent until the info is used against you or a child.

Rating: This is an eye opener! The author provides insight and advocacy around the topic of privacy in our digital age.