Digital literacies, digital inclusion & digital wellness

Pegrum, M. (2022). Digital literacies wordcloud. Created with EdWordle.

2022 Mid-year update
Perth, Australia
25 July 2022

As of 25th July – a day celebrated by many people in the southern hemisphere to recreate Christmas with a northern, wintery feel, and a day that also signals that we’re well past halfway through the year – it’s clear that Covid is not yet behind us, and that we’ll be continuing to do a lot of professional events like conferences, seminars and workshops online for the foreseeable future (and indeed, it seems likely that there will be few fully face-to-face events in the future, with hybrid approaches becoming the norm).

I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in a number of online conferences and panels over the first 7 months of 2022, and some key trends are becoming apparent. Following the publication of the second edition of my book Digital Literacies, co-authored with Nicky Hockly and Gavin Dudeney, I was invited to give a workshop entitled What have digital literacies got to do with digital wellness? for Tokyo JALT on 20 May, and a keynote entitled From digital disarray to digital literacies¬†for TISLID, Madrid, on 27 May, both online via Zoom. There’s clearly widespread interest from educators in how to help our students develop the digital literacies they need to operate effectively in our increasingly digitally mediated world – and in particular, as reflected in the discussions that took place alongside these presentations, this flows into an interest in how to use our technologies in more socially just and responsible ways which take into account our own and others’ mental and physical health – that is, our digital wellness – and the health of the environment and the planet as a whole. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, these discussions focused extensively on literacies like intercultural, ethical, attentional and critical literacy.

I’ve also participated in an Asia-Pacific consultation for the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report, focused on the role of educational technology in supporting progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals education targets, hosted by Monash University, Australia, on 1 June, and I was a panellist at The Role of Open Education, Service Learning and Digital Tools in Promoting Social Inclusion and Active Citizenship for Refugees and Migrants, hosted by the European Digital Education Hub, on 19 July. Again, there was a strong focus on how to capitalise on the potential advantages of digital technologies while mitigating their risks, with emphasis placed on access, equity and diversity. It seems to me that digital literacies may offer a pathway forward here; they can certainly help to mitigate technological risks, particularly through the harder-edged, more critical literacies which can support educators and students in raising their awareness of the implicit biases and dangers of our technologies.

The connection between digital literacies and larger issues around digital inclusion and digital wellness (for all!) seems to me worthy of much more in-depth exploration. I suspect I’ll be part of a lot more conversations in this area in the remainder of 2022!

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