Tackling Digital Literacy Head On

Digital literacy is a slippery concept. Mostly I think we subconsciously know what it means but when we try to explain it it sounds kinda big and scary and hard.

We know digital literacy is being able to thrive in today’s technology rich, complex and constantly changing world. But what does that mean exactly? Where do we start? How can we make digital literacy meaningful in a practical sense for librarianship?

There are lots of digital literacy models or frameworks around. Generally they have a school (Netsafe) or higher education (JISC, Deakin University) focus which makes it difficult to apply to the profession. Belshaw’s model is different. It separates digital literacy into components that are meaningful for everyone, including librarians, rather than being heavily education focused.

8 Elements of Digital Literacy

I’ve matched each of the 8 elements in Belshaw’s digital literacy model to core library competencies then designed and developed a course for each element.

There is an additional course to Test Your Digital Literacy Fluency and another one to help you wrestle control from chaos using a one-page project management blueprint.

Course Brief Description
Better Bookmarks Better Bookmarks How to use social bookmarking tools as a better way to bookmark web content.
Communicating Online Blogs Communicating Online: Blogs How to craft online communications with confidence.
Curating Maori Resources Curating Māori Resources Learn to create a curated selection of online Māori resources.
Confident Digital Literacy Design Your Own PLE How to manage your learning in digital spaces.
Digital Rights and Responsibilities Digital Rights And Responsibiilities Understand the expected norms and behaviours of digital environments.
Finding Great Images for Reuse Finding Great Images For Reuse Improve your knowledge of Creative Commons licences to find great images suitable to reuse and remix.
Manage Your Digital Footprint Manage Your Digital Footprint Learn how to proactively protect your identity and data in online spaces.
One Page Project Management One-Page Project Management Wrestle control from chaos with a One-Page Project Management Blueprint.
Critical Digital Literacy The Search Engine CRAP Test Learn how to think critically about the search engines you use on a daily basis.
Test Your Digital Literacy Fluency Test Your Digital Literacy Fluency Understand the 8 essential elements of digital literacy and assess your fluency in each.

Tomorrow you’ll be able to sign up for the courses yourself and realise there is a better way to learn ‘real world’ New Zealand library skills. Just one more sleep!


  1. Sally says:

    It certainly does sound like a great opportunity for wider collaboration, Philip. Ask Debbie to get in touch with me.

  2. vanzijlp says:

    Great news, Sally. We are working with Literacy Aotearoa’s local poupou, Literacy North Otago, as well as CAB here in Oamaru. Debbie Price-Ewen has designed a Digital Literacy Audit to assess skills and then will work with individuals/groups to address these skills. Good opportunity for wider collaboration?

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