Kajsa Hartig

A blog about Cultural Heritage and Digital Communication

Digital literacy – or just literacy #Blogg100

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Blog post 013/100 #Blogg100 challenge

Literacy. Photo by Janne Moren, CC-BY-NC-SA.

Photo by Janne Moren, CC-BY-NC-SA.

In October I wrote a short blog post about how we should stop making the distinction between digital and non digital. I am not alone having these thoughts. The Twitter discussion that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post emerged from a Norwegian blog post on this very subject.

Let us realize that this is now part of our everyday life and if you don’t master it you are illiterate.

June Breivik writes on her blog about the need to stop using the word digital as a prefix. I agree. As long as we distinguish digital as something special, we will never really achieve a museum (or library, archive, school etc.) where digital tools are fully integrated.

At the same time we are still in a position where both tools and the changes brought about by them (need for transparency, participation, dialogue, co-creation) are considered disruptive. Most museums are still struggling to fully understand and embrace digital.

For indivduals, the early adopters, and younger generations, digital is as natural as breathing. While for older generations and ”laggards” (see one of my earlier blog posts on this subject) digital is something extra that has to be figured out and is perhaps even seen as intrusive and difficult. Even more dangerous, digital tools might not be seen as useful more to more than a small extent.

One can discuss, like June Breivik does in her blog post, if school kids will benefit from digital tools if they aren’t literate to begin with. The great point made by June Breivik is that we need to remind ourselves that digital, or online, is no different from the physical world. We need our skills regardless if we are on- or offline. An from that perspective I agree, drop ”digital”.

Do I think we should then completely drop the prefix e- or the word digital? Not yet. I say somewhere in the (hopefully not so distant) future. When the borders between digital and physical have been blurred enough, yes then maybe.

While waiting for that moment digitally savvy people, strategists, early adopters, social media experts etc. will keep ahead, monitor and continue to share knowledge and guide colleagues, students, clients, family and friends. ”Laggards” will gradually pick up digital tools as part of their everyday life.

For most parts this will evolve at its own pace. A pace that cannot be forced. But I completely agree with June Breivik that we also have to try to speed up this process and demand more from employees by expecting digital skills not just for people in New media departments but for people all over the organization.

In the end I don’t think museums can fully integrate digital tools yet for some time, a) because it does take time for digital to settle and become standard/natural choice and b) because most organizations aren’t prepared to speed up the process, or they simply don’t have an efficient strategy.



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