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Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy

What is Digital Literacy?

Just like information literacy, digital literacy demands skills in finding and using information for projects requiring critical thinking. In times past, digital literacy meant that an applicant or student was well versed in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., and maybe even Adobe Photoshop.  Today, everyone possesses some level of digital literacy as these particular skills have become “standard” in the workplace. Digital literacy is a prerequisite to taking a deeper dive into research.  According to the American Library Association (ALA), digital literacy means "the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills" (ALA, n.d., para. 1).  So, a digitally literate person "uses" several technologies appropriately to complete different parts of tasks.Digital Literacy Retrieved from Wiki CC BY-SA 4.0

Future Lab’s “Digital Literacy Across the Curriculum,” digital literacy touches on and integrates with the following areas:

  • Functional skills
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking and evaluation
  • Cultural and social understanding
  • Collaboration
  • Ability to find and select information
  • Effective communication
  • Internet Safety

These areas are essential to the digital literacy Bloom's Taxonomygrowth of our students and researchers. These areas also pair well with areas from Bloom's Taxonomy and can be used in conjunction with digital tools by faculty to ensure appropriate student progression in digital literacy understanding. 

Why is Digital Literacy Important


Technology grows by leaps and bounds, it's hard to find anyone who is not affected by the technology around us. Since the pandemic, a majority of our business and social meetings have been moved to online technology-based platforms, such as Skype, Zoom, Teams, etc. Those with digital skills will be able to learn, participate, and keep up with their peers in interactive online activities. Further, with more enhanced digital skills, students will be able to critically think, evaluate, collaborate, and create, all while communicating and navigating "safely" in our online digital culture.

What is a computer?

Computers are now a staple in almost everyone's life. It's hard to go about day-to-day and not have at least a minimum understanding of what a computer is and what it does.  These days, when someone uses the term computer, it can refer to many types of devices. For example, there are desktops and laptops, but there are also iPads, phones, smartwatches, and even cars. So, what is a computer?  GCFGlobal defines a computer as, "A computer is an electronic device that manipulates information, or data. It has the ability to storeretrieve, and process data. You may already know that you can use a computer to type documentssend emailplay games, and browse the Web. You can also use it to edit or create spreadsheetspresentations, and even videos" (, n.d.).

Enhancing your computer skills takes everyday practice.  The more you are on the computer, the better you get to know your way around.  You can also build your skill level by using online tutorials.  There are so many free tutorials out on the internet, you may not know where to start.  We have provided a list of tutorials at the bottom of the page under Digital Literacy (DL) Resources - DL Tutorials to get you started in the right direction.  

There are many forms of communication. Communicating through email has become one of the most important skills a student should develop, whether the communication is with a potential employer, their instructor, classmates, or family members.  Why is it so important? According to a article, it's because "good writing is fundamentally good thinking that follows a logical path and is easy for someone to follow. Writing out what you want to communicate forces you to organize your thoughts" (, para. 3). Below are some good tips on how an email communication to your instructor should be written. 

Following these tips on email communications, students can practice digital literacy with every email communication they send.  

  1. Subject line: Keep it simple but relevant to the reason you are contacting the person.
  2. Salutation/Greeting: Always include a polite greeting and use the person's name and/or title. If there is no greeting, your email can seem rude to those who read it.  A polite greeting sets the tone of how you want your next words to come across.
    1. Example 1:Business & more official email: Good afternoon Dr. Heller, Hello Mr. Hardin, Dear professor.
    2. Example 2: Personal friend or family email: Good afternoon John, Hello Sarah, Dear mom.
  3. Identify yourself:  Always use your first line to identify yourself, use your full name, and then add in how they already know you or how they should remember you from now on.
  4. Reason for communicating:  Be short, sweet, and to the point.  Don't get bogged down in explanations. Tell them why you're contacting them, what you've done to work on the issue yourself, and what you need from them. Period.
  5. Closing:  


Internet Safety & Online Privacy


It doesn't matter if you use the internet for employment, education, or fun, keeping your and your family's private information safe from others is one of the most critical pieces to being digitally literate.  There are several tips below on how to protect yourself while using a computer in the online setting.  Let's begin!
ISU Related Digital Security
ISU's two-step login (MFA)     Connecting to ISU Wifi (ISU-Secure)
ISU OIT Security Standards    Security Awareness: Viruses & Malware
Software for ISU Students  
          Other Important Online or Digital Safety Information
Create strong passwords        How to safely use public wifi networks from FTC
Social Media Privacy from Shop Safely
Playing games online Watch out for scams


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Rhonda Beecroft
Cunningham Memorial Library, 232B
510 North 6 1/2 Street,
Indiana State University
Terre Haute, IN 47809


Digital Literacy (DL) Resources

Digital literacy has become a top priority in and around today's workplace. This means it's even more important for college students to prove their skills in this area.  Digital Literacy Resources are essential for every institution to provide.  Whether you are a student studying a new topic, or a faculty member researching for presentation, preparing for a class, or other purposes, knowing how to locate and use sources that are relevant and appropriate is key,  Indiana State University has prepared tutorials to help you gain the skills you will need to succeed while in college.  ISU-specific training can be found at

Besides the training provided above, Cunningham Memorial Library has gathered other resources that can further your understanding and your skills.  Each of the above tabs has been curated to assist and prepare students, educators, and community members with their research and digital projects.  Each of the tabbed topics offers resources specific to the subject tab.  


Books on Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy Books available from our Cunningham Memorial Library Collection or Full Text Online

Digital Literacy Journals & Magazines

Learning for Justice Magazine, Fall 2022    


The resources under the "Digital Literacy Articles" are here to help instructors and students to enhance their knowledge of Digital Literacy to guide is best practices in and out of the classroom.  If you are off campus, you may need to log in to Cunningham Memorial Library to bring up these articles.  Clicking on an article will open a new window.

From digital literacy to digital competence: the teacher
         digital competency (TDC) framework

         Author: Garry Falloon      Date: 29 March 2020
Why Smart Cities Need  Digital Inclusion
         Authors: Bill Callahan & Angela Siefer   
         Date: Sept, 2019


Digital Literacy Activities for the Classroom


Jigsaw Activity 
from K. Patricia Cross Academy

Evaluating Online Sources 

Understanding How Digital Information
Comes to You

Digital Story 
from K. Patricia Cross Academy

Constructively Engaging in Digital

How Online Communication Affects Privacy
and Security

How Fair Use Works

You Are the Product

Digital Tools as a Mechanism for Active Citizenship

Media Consumers and Creators, 
What Are Your Rights and Responsibilities?

News Consumers' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
Complete Digital Literacy Training
 from Texas State Library
& Archives Commission