What does Digital Literacy mean?

Digital Literacy ǀ ©contrastwerkstatt - Fotolia
Digital Literacy for all age groups

Equipping European citizens with digital competences is at the core of the EU strategy: in 2006 the European Parliament recognized Digital Literacy as one of the eight key competences that every European citizen should master [1] and as one of the four foundational skills for learning. Further, enhancing Digital Literacy is one of seven pillars in the European Commission’s 2010 Digital Agenda for Europe. In the words of Androulla Vassiliou, the former European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Youth and Sports - “we need to rethink what kind of literacy tomorrow’s Europe needs" [2].

But what does it mean to be digitally literate today? Is it just being capable of using ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies), or does it also involve dealing with meaningful online knowledge creation, awareness of risks and potential problems in the online world, and so on? And how should policy act to support both the acquisition of digital competences and the transformation of Europeans in competent and aware online citizens?

ELINET, the European literacy policy network, has been leading a discussion at the European level to break down the barriers of digitally illiteracy. ELINET considers Digital Literacy as a “gate to citizenship” [3] and has been working reaching a shared understanding of what Digital Literacy means today, so to provide an input to support existing and encourage new DL policies and initiatives.


 Download the ELINET Position Paper on Digital literacy here


[1] http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/measuring-digital-skills-across-eu-eu-wide-indicators-digital-competence
[2] http://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/school/doc/literacy-report_en.pdf
[3] onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ejed.12055/abstract



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