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  Digital Literacy Guidebook

Overview

In 1991, there was one website in existence. As of 2018, there are over 1.7 billion websites with over 4.3 billion internet users worldwide. The internet has changed how people communicate, access information, learn new skills, buy and sell goods and so much more. Digital skills have become a necessity for many.

Does your community know how the internet can help? With that many websites online, how do we find trustworthy information? Not everyone can be trusted, how can we all stay safe online? This guide will help libraries connect communities with the tools and resources needed to thrive in a digital world.

These general guidelines apply to computers, mobile devices, Internet of Things devices, and all future internet-powered devices and things. As technology grows more complex, these digital skills will adapt and grow to suit changing technology needs.

The Process

The world of digital literacy is growing larger. Individual libraries do not have the time or resources to tackle everything, for every age group and experience level. Working together we can accomplish great things. This Digital Literacy Guide will work through the following steps to build a feasible Digital Literacy Plan:

  1. Decide which segment(s) of the community to focus on first.
  2. Explore digital literacy options and prioritize immediate needs.
  3. Take stock of community resources (e.g. schools, museums, interest groups, etc.)
  4. Prioritize and build a Digital Literacy Plan for your library.

Digital Literacy Categories

This guide is based on The Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship, the same digital literacy categories used by Nebraska schools. To suit the diverse needs of community members, this digital literacy guide has been reframed into the following categories:

  • Privacy & Security
  • Etiquette & Online Communition
  • Online Finance & Business
  • Learning Online
  • Laws & Regulations
  • Online Health & Wellness
  • Choosing & Using Technology
  • Access to Technology
  • Teaching Digital Literacy

This guide will not make you an expert in all of these topics. The goal is to provide an starting point to determine what your community needs most, and why. With a strong motivation to learn, community members will seek new information.

Goals of the Guide

The World Wide Web has made us all go global. We will all interact with different cultures, belief systems, and viewpoints. To interact and communicate effectively online, we should consider other people. Throughout the process of building a Digital Literacy Plan, communities should be striving towards these ultimate goals:

  • Use technology to strengthen community.
  • Connect your community with diverse voices from around the world.
  • Encourage collaboration between individuals and organizations.
  • Build an environment that empowers people to try, fail, and learn constantly.
  • Work together towards a better future for us all.

These goals are similar to the goals set forth by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Similar standards are being incorporated into Nebraska schools. Ask yourself what you want for the future. Use your resources wisely to help your community thrive in a digital world.

Questions to Consider:

Keep these questions in mind as you work through this digital literacy guide:

  1. What is your library already doing with digital literacy?
  2. How will these skills be used by patrons and staff in everyday life?
  3. What are some practical reasons to learn these skills?
  4. How do these topics overlap?
  5. Do you have any questions or concerns about these topics?
  6. Has anyone in your community run into problems with these skills?
  7. What are your community goals? How can technology help?

By the end of this guide, you will have a digital literacy plan to help your community tackle the technology needs of the future. We’ll start by getting a feel for where you want to put your energy with digital literacy in the library. We have a lot of ground to cover here, so let’s get started with digital literacy!

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