Literacy in a digital world : searching for common understanding

Kearney, Nicholas Alfred (2013). Literacy in a digital world : searching for common understanding. EdD thesis The Open University.



The increasing penetration of digital technologies in society. involves substantial changes in literacy practices that need not be marginalised as "digital literacy". The Subject of this research is the 'investigation of emerging changes in ‘literacy' in a digitally mediated, world, viewed. From the, perspective of the individual's, understandings, of the changes taking place. To explore the extent. to which understandings are common the research worked with diverse' populations. Three groups of different age ranges (school age, professional adults and retired people) and cultural contexts (Mexico, Spain, and the UK) were interviewed. The data set was analysed according to three perspectives: participants' understandings of how their practices have changed; critical understandings of their practices including the contexts in which they take place; and understandings of their own identity as "literate” individuals. The research approach was qualitative drawing on semi-structured interviews and iterative- analysis of the data. 'While some of the findings confirm tendencies already observed in the literature, others, such as a sense of non-alignment with cultures of transparency, the lack of perception of the self as creator of artefacts, or tensions between convenience and critical positions) provoke reflection and contribute to a fuller understanding of the nature of literacy in a digital world. The key implications of the report's findings for educational' policy and pedagogical practice include the idea that literacy cannot be viewed as a static set of skills. the fact that the evidence presented here. suggests, that there is no clear demarcation between “digital literacy" and "literacy" and the idea that pedagogical practice should take into account the degree of integration of technologies into learners lives. The report identifies a need for educational policy, and pedagogical practice to focus on the development" of 'meta-literacy', or understandings of what literacy and literacies involve.

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