Digital Literacy

At the 29 July meeting of Academic Board there was discussion of a proposal to change the document describing qualities of a USQ graduate to include mention of digital literacy. I remember the discussion clearly because there was a proposal that digital literacy be replaced by technological literacy, against which I spoke on the basis of technological literacy having a well established meaning, at least for technology educators and some engineers. The concept was one of the mainstays of the technology education course I taught from 2002 until 2005 and will emerge again when a similar course is offered from 2011.

Some members of Academic Board appeared to struggle with the meanings and distinction because they were, until then, unfamiliar with the terms which were not well defined in the proposal. The proposal was passed and digital literacy is now among the qualities expected of a USQ graduate but it seems likely that many of those who will be required to ensure the quality is developed may be unclear about what it is they are facilitating.

A document that I came across today via the Sixty Seconds newsletter from provides a useful definition of digital literacy and more. Hague and Williamson (2009) “use the term digital literacy to refer to the skills, knowledge and understanding that are required for digital participation” (p. 4). Although the document is pitched at digital literacy in school education it does provide some useful starting points for discussion, including a model of the processes that might be required for learners to demonstrate digital literacy through communication and enquiry.


Hague, C., & Williamson, B. (2009). Digital participation, digital literacy, and school subjects: A review of the policies, literature and evidence. Bristol, UK: Futurelab. Retrieved September 30, 2009, from