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Inequalities in digital literacy: definitions, measurements, explanations and policy implications

Helsper, Ellen (2016) Inequalities in digital literacy: definitions, measurements, explanations and policy implications. In: Pesquisa sobre o uso das tecnologias de informação e comunicação nos domícilios brasileiros: TIC domicílios 2015 = Survey on the use of information and communication technologies in Brazilian households : ICT households 2015. Comitê Gestor da Internet no Brasil, São Paulo, Brasil, pp. 175-185. ISBN 9788555590313

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Abstract

Digital divide research and policy have moved beyond looking at who does and does not have access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and, therefore, the explanations for digital inequalities and the possible interventions to address it have become more nuanced and complex. The current emphasis is on digital skills or, more comprehensively, digital literacy and explanations for its uneven distribution. Most digital inequalities research and policies focus on individual characteristics as drivers of differing digital capabilities and levels of engagement with ICT. This paper will first discuss the implications of defining digital skills and literacy in different ways. It will then propose that the most useful definition of digital literacy is one that incorporates the idea that the focus should be on the tangible outcomes of Internet use. With the From Digital Skills to Tangible Outcomes – DiSTO project2 as a starting point, a number of related measures are suggested to guide research and help evaluate policy and initiatives aiming to tackle digital inequalities. The paper concludes with the suggestion that this approach also requires reconceptualization of explanations of digital engagement to incorporate social context factors such as household and community dynamics. This holistic approach allows better understanding of what aids or hinders an individual’s ability to benefit from engaging with ICT and enables better design and evaluation of policy.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL: http://www.cgi.br/
Additional Information: © 2016 The Author © CC BY-NC 4.
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2016 17:48
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2019 00:06
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/68329

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