The significance of digital literacy became increasingly clear in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which profoundly transformed our world. The rapid shift to remote work, online learning, and virtual communication has highlighted the urgent need for digital literacy skills. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, by 2025, over half of the global workforce will require upskilling and reskilling. This demand for digital literacy will continue to soar, making it imperative that individuals incorporate these essential skills into school curricula.
To break it down, digital literacy includes being able to use technology, think critically, and interact with others online. It has evolved into a crucial ability for every member of the workforce rather than just being a skill required for computer scientists or tech enthusiasts. In the time to come, students who have a grasp of the digital world will be at ease to encounter difficulties that might occur when facing technology in the corporate world. By doing so, students will not only be equipped with the tools they need for the future workforce but also enhance their educational experience, foster effective communication and collaboration, and instil responsible digital citizenship.
The lack of digital knowledge among over 90% of India's population creates a significant gap in overall literacy, ranging from 25% to 30%. This highlights the urgent need to introduce digital education to students from an early age, equipping them with essential skills for success in the digital realm. Recognizing its importance, a 2017 House of Lords report proposed treating digital literacy as the fourth pillar of education, alongside reading, writing, and mathematics, emphasising the allocation of adequate resources and instruction. This ultimately leads them to be tech adept.
With tools like Google Docs and Microsoft Teams, students can collaborate on assignments and maintain seamless communication with teachers and peers. As the world increasingly relies on such online tools even for basic interactions, integrating these technologies into school curricula holds immense potential for enhancing
Learning outcomes and preparing students for the future.
Additionally, it encourages collaboration and communication and fosters critical thinking and problem-solving, skills that are essential in today's world. By being adept with technology, students are not only able to effectively communicate on various online platforms such as social media, email, chat, and video conferencing but also learn to navigate and evaluate the vast amount of information available to them online. This ability to discern reliable sources from misinformation equips students with the skills to make informed decisions and think critically about the information they encounter. Furthermore, digital literacy plays a crucial role in advancing digital equity and strengthening its foundation. It acts as a catalyst, empowering individuals from all walks of life to fully participate in the digital landscape and benefit from the opportunities it offers.
Digital literacy also fosters digital citizenship. In order to be digitally literate, one must use technology responsibly and be conscious of their safety and privacy. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has already drafted a skilled course in digital citizenship in partnership with Meta for classes 6–8, a step in the right direction. Students who are computer literate can use social media and other online platforms responsibly and recognize propaganda and fake news, as well as keep their data secure in case of sudden data breaches. By encouraging it, we can help students establish moral online conduct, helping them become responsible digital citizens, which is essential for success in today's world.
However, we cannot overlook the significant challenges associated with implementing digital literacy in educational institutions. One of the primary obstacles is the lack of trained educators proficient in digital literacy. Without knowledgeable instructors, it becomes difficult to effectively impart these essential skills to students. Additionally, inadequate ICT infrastructure poses a hurdle, as many schools may not have the necessary resources or equipment to support comprehensive digital learning. Furthermore, the absence of appropriate policies and guidelines surrounding digital literacy in education creates ambiguity and inconsistency in its implementation. To ensure the success of integrating digital literacy into school curricula, we must address these challenges and raise awareness about the significance of digital literacy in shaping the future of education.
In conclusion, digital literacy has transcended its role in the tech industry and become a global necessity. It combines digital tool knowledge, critical thinking, and social engagement, empowering individuals to navigate the digital landscape with competence. The Netaji Hologram Statue exemplifies the transformative power of digital literacy, showcasing how it enables the creation of wonders previously unimaginable. Digital Literacy = digital tool knowledge + critical thinking + social engagement. If one understands the essence of this formula, their overall competence in navigating the digital landscape will be greatly enhanced. Embracing digital literacy is key to fostering a future-ready society.
About the author: Saurav Bhaik is the CEO of Tagbin, a leading tech-experiential company that specialises in creating unique and unforgettable experiences. As an IIT Roorkee alumni, Saurav is known for his groundbreaking ideas and passion for creating world-changing, high-impact projects such as Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya, hologram statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Temple 360, Digital Exhibition at 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, and more. He takes immense pride in his Indian heritage and draws inspiration from the country's rich culture and civilization. With over a decade of experience in diverse fields, including space design, outreach campaigns, and groundbreaking experiential technology, Saurav is committed to pushing the boundaries of what's possible and striving for excellence in everything he does. He and his team are making significant breakthroughs in the world of AI, and they are dedicated to making a positive impact on the world through their work.