From Wikipedia
"Digital literacy is the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate, and analyze information using digital technology. It involves a working knowledge of current high-technology, and an understanding of how it can be used. Further, digital literacy involves a consciousness of the technological forces that affect culture and human behavior. Digitally literate people can communicate and work more efficiently, especially with those who possess the same knowledge and skills."


Before exploring the vastness of the web and how it is best applied in the classroom, we must first understand what it means to be web literate and what intrinsic personal characteristics are needed for success. After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Explore, expand and develop their definitions of web literacy -- and continue to refine them
  • Reflect on the habits and attitudes required for learning in the digital age

New Standards for Reading, Writing, and Information Management

Prior to the 21st century, literacy defined a person’s ability to read and write, separating the educated from the uneducated. Being literate involves more than our ability to interact with static text. Today we inhabit a world where information is coming at us in ways that impact all of our senses -- requiring us to read, write, listen, view, speak, and question our way to understanding the 24-hour, seven-days-a-week constant information stream.

Web literacy, as we have come to call this collection of skills, might be considered the point where computer literacy merges with information literacy and attitude. Attitude in this context is about being willing and able to become an active and participating member of a larger community of learners within an ever-changing flow of information. Yes, web literacy comprises the technical skills needed to use a computer, the information processing ability to access and use print or electronic resources, and the critical competencies required for reading and evaluating material for reliability and validity. But being literate in the 21st Century demands the ability to follow though on any desire to share your voice, the ability to create an online identity, a willingness to forgo some aspects of privacy and ownership, and an open-minded perspective to embrace new relationships.

Web literate learners understand how to become involved in the exchange of information and ideas from a technical, critical, and human standpoint. Your literacy level is no longer determined by grades, age, or the number of questions you answer after a passage. It is not about a person's age or background, and it doesn't refer to their ability to use technology. Instead, success on the web is determined by what kind of learner you are willing to be.

With more than 1.6 billion people connected to the Internet today (Internet World Stats) , it has become the largest knowledge and learning community in the world -- and it is growing daily. It’s exciting to be a part of something this new and fascinating. To succeed in this new world, web learners must:
  • Be self-motivated, with an independent spirit
  • Be self-disciplined
  • Be intelligent and possess an ability to study and learn new skills
  • Be patient and willing to invest time and effort in order to master a new skill, tool, or idea
  • Have perseverance and gain the ability to overcome obstacles and challenges
  • Possess “coach-ability”, "learn-ability" — i.e. the willingness to follow instructions and learn from others
  • Be able to monitor and adjust to changing conditions
  • Have the “mindset” and self confidence necessary to achieve success
  • Possess "network-ability"-- the willingness and motivation to seek, engage, and create new networks and communities

Are these qualities of the learners you know? Of yourself?

Accordingly, web literacy can be defined as the technical, critical, analytical, personal and social skills users need to effectively locate, evaluate, and use online information. Here are four ways to think about a learner's capabilities.
  1. Their knowledge of, and skill with, digital tools and applications
  2. Their ability to think critically, and evaluate and analyze information sources
  3. Their social awareness and ability to represent themselves digitally
  4. Their habits and attitudes determined by their level of curiosity, imagination, adaptability, and perseverance