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Masters in Educational Practice: Literacy


Literacy in a digital age

Learners who are just beginning their education will face different demands on their literacy skills to those in the pre-digital age. In this topic, you will consider the types of literacy that might be needed for the contemporary workplace and the place that traditional oracy, reading and writing might occupy in relation to more digital fluencies.

In one sense, technology changes so rapidly that it is difficult to recommend particular pieces of software, applications or media without the risk of becoming immediately outdated. However, it is worthwhile considering what changes might be needed to teaching philosophies and pedagogy which will allow literacy to be a flourishing subject in the twenty-first century.

To make this discussion more accessible, the topic is divided into two main areas.

  • How will the pedagogy of teaching traditional literacy (oracy, reading and writing) adapt to meet the requirements of the digital workplace?
  • How does the potential existence of different literacies impact on the traditional literacy curriculum?

As an introductory activity to this topic, consider these definitions of digital literacy (external link) and an opposing definition of illiteracy.

Definition of Literacy 1

Digital literacy is the ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented by computers. The concept of literacy goes beyond simply being able to read; it always has meant the ability to read with meaning.

Definition of Literacy 2

Digital literacy is the awareness, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools and facilities to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate and synthesise digital resources in order to construct new knowledge.

Definition of Literacy 3

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.

(Alvin Toffler)


  • to consider the wider view of literacy
  • to learn how to enable children to interpret meaning from spoken and written language and visual images
  • to consider the various literacies required for teachers.
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