Is Digital Literacy an Essential 21st-Century Skill?

Access and Inclusion July 26, 2014

Three ideas by Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation, from the 2013 WISE Summit
Last year, there were 2.4 billion users on the Internet all over the world. By 2025 this number is expected to reach 6 billion users with 1 trillion connected devices.
Today the Web touches all aspects of our lives as we live in the digital era. Hence it is only natural to ask ourselves: Are digital skills going to be the essential 21st-century skills? 
In a talk at the 2013 WISE SummitMark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, maintained that we cannot afford not to understand the essence of the digital world we live in. He also believes that, most importantly, we need to master it and be able to shape it.   
In order to achieve effective digital literacy, Mark Surman outlines three ideas:

The Web is the 4th literacy. Mastering digital skills is as important as learning to read, write and solve mathematical problems and, as such, it is not an optional skill set. As Mark Surman puts it: “All of us need to understand that this digital world is something made up of these Lego blocks; that we can look inside the Web, understand it, learn it and most importantly shape it.” 
We can boost experiential learning through digital literacy. According to Mark Surman, we are not using the educational potential of computers to the full, encouraging learners to explore, tinker and engage with the Web. Today, digital literacy is accessible to almost everybody with the help of education technology. “[Computers] lend themselves to tinkering and discovery“. Thus educators need to foster experiential learning, inviting learners to discover and play in the digital world. 
“We need to get good at learning everywhere.” Learning should not take place only between 9 am and 3 pm, nor should it remain confined to the classroom. We need to reflect on how we can start promoting learning effectively everywhere. Teachers are essential for mentoring children and developing their motivation to learn. Mark Surman proposes a bottom-up approach with the potential for scaling up.
Watch this video to learn more about Mark Surman’s engaging ideas on digital literacy.