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Digital Literacies is best described by The Guardian (2012) as “digital literacy = digital tool knowledge + critical thinking + social engagement”. There are many elements to this statement that I will unpack below:

Digital tool knowledge encompasses many digital tools being software and hardware along with the users knowledge base and personal preferences in working with these technologies. This knowledge base will constantly be growing and changing as (The Guardian, 2012) describes “literacy is not static”.

Critical thinking applies analytical thinking, questioning and reflection to understand a source or program in order to make an informed decision. Applying this level of thinking can help a deeper level of knowing.

Social engagement can apply to a range of different contexts such as a restricted group like the classroom, or private group on social media or  be publically accessible. Applying critical thinking and social engagement can go hand in hand when decisions need to be make around an audience and the level of social engagement required. Belshaw (2012) suggests that digital literacy is context dependant which needs to be socially negotiated.


Anyangwe, E. 2012. 20 ways of thinking about digital literacy in higher education. The GuardianBritain. United Kingdom. Retrieved from

TEDx Talks. 2012. The essential elements of digital literacies: Doug Belshaw at TEDxWarwick [Video file]. Retrieved from YouTube URL: