What is digital literacy?

Digital literacy means having the skills you need to live, learn, and work in a society where communication and access to information is increasingly through digital technologies like internet platforms, social media, and mobile devices.

Developing your critical thinking skills (opens in a new window) (PDF, 128 kB) is essential when you're confronted with so much information in different formats – searching, sifting, evaluating, applying and producing information all require you to think critically.

Communication is also a key aspect of digital literacy. When communicating in virtual environments, the ability to clearly express your ideas, ask relevant questions, maintain respect, and build trust is just as important as when communicating in person.

You'll also need practical skills in using technology to access, manage, manipulate and create information in an ethical and sustainable way. It's a continual learning process because of constant new apps and updates, but your future self will thank you if you keep your digital life in order!

Digital literacy is really important now, while you're a university student. It'll also be really important in the future when you enter the professional world. In your workplace you'll be required to interact with people in digital environments, use information in appropriate ways, and create new ideas and products collaboratively. Above all, you'll need to maintain your digital identity and wellbeing as the digital landscape continues to change at a fast pace.

Here you can learn more about the six elements of digital capability as modelled by Jisc (opens in a new window). The Jisc model below illustrates the idea that proficiency in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) is a core element, whilst other skills overlap and build on this capability, and overarching it all is our digital identity and wellbeing.

Interlocking circles representing digital capabilities: outer circle is digital identity and wellbeing. Four overlapping circles within this are digital creation, innovation and scholarship; communication, collaboration and participation; digital learning and development; and information, data and media literacies. A central circle representing 'ICT proficiency' overlays the intersection of the four overlapping circles.

Jisc. (2016). Digital capabilities: The six elements. Retrieved from https://www.jisc.ac.uk/rd/projects/building-digital-capability (opens in a new window)

Drop into a campus library (opens in a new window) and ask Library staff or chat with an Online Librarian (opens in a new window) or ask a study expert.