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Title: Addressing the need for digital literacy in Europe : the Irish experience
Author: Leahy, Denise
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2012
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People are living in a fast changing world today in both their business and personal lives. Information technology is everywhere, making it important to be able to use such technology for normal daily living. Business is carried out using information and communications technology; in the work environment companies use intranets to communicate with staff; governments are moving towards interacting with citizens online; people are communicating with family and friends using technology. However, with the rate of change in technology, it is difficult to define the skills needed to benefit from such technology; these skills are often called "digital literacy.” This research examines digital literacy in personal, social, educational and business life, as a competence which is vital for all citizens. Digital literacy has the potential to reduce or to increase the "digital divide", especially for people who may not have access to technology or for whom that technology is unusable, e.g. for persons with a disability. The European Union recognises the need for digital literacy and identifies it as a requirement for inclusion in the Information Society. In 1995, a project to define the computer skills needed by the "ordinary citizen" was initiated in Europe, the output of which was the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL). This project has been successful with almost 12 million people enrolled by the end of 2011. The experiences of implementing ECDL in Ireland are studied, including the experiences of people with a disability who have taken the certification. The de facto standards, which define the current accepted digital competences, are evaluated, and the accessibility and usability issues, which could cause a barrier to full participation, are identified. The research examines how definitions of digital literacy have evolved and proposes a flexible framework for digital competence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available