Digital literacy: Reading for meaning-making, problem-solving and participation in the internet age

One of the things that has changed the most in today’s connected society is the concept of reading. Or rather, the concept of what constitutes a text. From printed letters on a page that took a while to write and distribute — to ones and zeros that travel everywhere, instantaneously. These little bits of data carry a lot of information to us, very fast. Information that reaches us wherever we are, through small screens on our inseparable devices or large screens on the side of buildings. And so we read. By many accounts we are reading more nowadays, not less. We read books, news. We read tweets, facebook posts, blogs, memes, videos, messages. Content is brought to us in the form of games, videos and ads. And we read differently now, taking in many things simultaneously. We interact with images, maps and infographics as we’re reading the news. We read ads as we’re interacting with our friends. Sometimes we click away from what we’re reading and end up immersed in a completely different subject. Or we can be virtually transported to the stories we read. In this fast-paced environment, information comes at us from many sources. In the days of print and TV, journalists, editors, broadcasters, authors and publishers had the authority and the means to convey information to us. Today, as anyone can compose and publish information, the authorship and intent is often unclear. We often read things without really knowing who sent them, and with what purpose. The question is: are we really reading as we’re being constantly bombarded with information through all our senses? What does it even mean to read nowadays? And, more importantly, how do we go from information to knowledge?

Image Adobe Stock
Inquiry-based learning places the student at the center of their own process of discovery and meaning-making, with a bias to critical interventions. Images Adobe Stock (left) and Mariana Ochs (right).

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Mariana Ochs

Mariana Ochs

Designer, educator, Google Innovator. Coordinator of EducaMídia. Exploring design, media and technology in education, and empowering youth in the digital age.