Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

An Approach to Digital Literacy through the Integration of Media and Information Literacy

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Abstract:  Digital literacy often serves as an ‘umbrella’ term for a range of distinct educational practices which seek to equip the user to function in digitally rich societies. This article explores two of these practices, information literacy and media literacy and through an examination of their histories and practices proposes a future direction for digital literacy. The article consists of three main sections. Section one considers the history of information literacy. The gradual development and refinement of information literacy is traced through a number of key texts and proclamations. Section two is concerned with media literacy. It is noted that media literacy education evolved in three broad strands with each pursuing differing political ends and utilising different techniques. The three approaches are still evident and differences in contemporary media education practices can be understood through this framework. The final section argues that while media and information literacy offer much there are deficiencies in both: media literacy lacks a full engagement with the nature of digital technology and how digital technology affords users new communicative practices while information literacy has not fully developed a critical approach in the way media literacy has. It is asserted that integrating and strategically revisiting both approaches offers a digitally aware and critically nuanced direction for digital literacy.

Keywords:  critical digital literacy; digital literacy; history; information literacy; media literacy



© Marcus Leaning. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.