The uses of digital literacy

Katharina Freund


John Hartley's The Uses of digital literacy (2009) is the respectful son to Richard Hoggart's The Uses of literacy (1957), and seeks to update this foundational cultural studies text by examining the contemporary concerns of multimedia and digital communication. Through its eight chapters, Hartley's book covers a number of topics, several of which seem unrelated to the titular issue of "digital literacy". The first chapter is probably the most valuable for teachers, in that it suggests that educational institutions must teach digital literacy skills, and that these skills must necessarily be taught informally. Rather than admonishing students for their "inappropriate" use of Facebook or YouTube while in class, educators can usefully take advantage of the of the existing peer-to-peer knowledge networks of their students.

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