Digital Literacy and Web Literacy on Wikipedia

Yesterday, from some random internetting, I found that my namesake, Doug Belshaw, was reasonably well-known climber and member of the Rock and Ice Club in the 1950s. So I did what anyone would do and searched Wikipedia for him. That’s when I stumbled on the fact that my own work is cited on the Wikipedia page for Digital Literacy. Nice!

The Core Elements and their educational effects #

Literacies can be grouped together in what is known as the Essential Elements of Digital Literacies which expounds the theory that having an understanding of these eight essential elements of digital literacies will enable an individual to be digitally literate. The development of these core skills correlated to the particular contexts in which an individual may develop their skills with a view to ensuring that they align with their needs. The eight elements are Cultural, Cognitive, Constructive, Communicative, Confidence, Creative, Critical and Civic. The value of each of these core elements is dependent on varying needs at different times.

  • Cultural - The cultural element of Digital Literacies requires technology use in different contexts and an awareness of the values and concepts specific to the varying contexts.
  • Cognitive - The cognitive component of Digital literacies aims to enable mastery of the use of technological tools, software and platforms. Gaining expertise in digital tools helps learners become more digitally literate.
  • Constructive - The constructive element requires re-using and remixing existing resources depending on the need; or adapting them into new resources. Through construction, a digitally literate user creates new data and shares their creations with others digitally.
  • Communicative - The communicative component requires awareness about different communication devices both digital and mobile. Being digitally literate means communicating in the digital world in several ways.
  • Confidence - The confidence element of Digital Literacy means gaining competence with digital technologies and the ability to create an environment for practising skills and self-learning.
  • Creative - Through the Creative element of Digital Literacy, digital learners create new data in digital environments based on personal interests. This element places emphasis on taking risks while developing searching skills and producing new things.
  • Critical - The critical component requires the digital learner to develop various perspectives. While actively taking part in digital environments, the user should take different circumstances into account.
  • Civic - The civic element is all about developing and acquiring the concepts of democracy and global citizenship through digital technologies. This component helps the participation of the individual in society. Part of digital literacy is the ability to form communities online.

It is recognised that the implementation of these elements in an individual’s context will require constant updating and upgrading as digital information and tools change along with our understanding of them.

There’s a couple of inaccuracies that need fixing, and I’ve made some other suggestions on the Talk page. If you’re familiar with editing Wikipedia, it would be great to have your help. I don’t want to be egotistical and edit a section that references my own work!

Wikipedia: Web Literacy page

Web Literacy #

This find spurred me on to create what’s known as a ‘stub’ article on Wikipedia for Web Literacy. I’d like to have several people quickly build this out so it’s not just me banging on about the importance of the topic! Feel free to dive into the Talk page, and/or discuss with the Mozilla community in this GitHub issue.

What would be particularly useful is a trawl of Google Scholar and other search engines for notable mentions of ‘web literacy’. These should be added to an External Links section underneath References. Please do help - even for five minutes. :)

Comments? Questions? Get in touch via Twitter (@dajbelshaw) or email (


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