From Digital Literacy to Digital Fluency: How digital are you?

Have you ever wondered how digitally savvy you are?

In today's world, being digitally savvy is more important than ever. It means being aware of new technologies and understanding how they impact your life. And honestly, it's not just for young people or techies; we can all do it.

But why is being digitally savvy such a big deal?

Here are a few reasons:

  • The world is connected, so information is available at our fingertips as it happens. Everyday activities – such as shopping, telephone use, and banking – increasingly require interaction with technology.
  • Children are born into a digital world and exposed to technology from a young age, so it's essential to keep up with them and help them navigate the digital landscape.
  • Many routine processes are now being automated at work thanks to generative AI. If you need to think about how technology will impact your job and every area of your life, you'll soon have a problem because the speed of change is accelerating.
  • Gender inequality is still a significant issue in the corporate world, with women being underrepresented in leadership positions and facing challenges such as the gender pay gap. However, being digitally savvy can help women to level the playing field and compete on an equal footing with men.
  • Many jobs in the future will require digital skills, and the demand for workers with these skills is increasing rapidly. This means digitally savvy women will have better job prospects and be more competitive in the job market.

Excuses like "I'm not so digital" do not work anymore. So many women I meet fear touching technology and experimenting with it, so getting started is tricky. But the good news is that you can start from any level, from anywhere in the world.

To help you get started, here are the four levels of becoming digitally fluent. The higher you go the levels, the more comfortable and confident you are with technology, and the better you can leverage it to create something new.

So on which digital level are you?

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Level 1: Digital Newcomer

You rarely use technologies because you don't believe in them, are afraid, or are overwhelmed by the abundance and speed.

✅ Little to no experience with technology

✅ May avoid using technology due to fear or overwhelm

✅ May have difficulty navigating basic technology tools such as email or online forms

For example, at this level, you might not apply for a job that requires an online application because you need to figure out how to do it.

Level 2: Digital Citizen

You have basic technology skills, can safely communicate, navigate the internet, and can use Zoom or have basic Excel skills. But, mostly, your usage of technology is passive.

✅ Handling yourself appropriately and ethically in a digital environment

✅ Being aware of the impact of your actions on the digital communities you are part of

✅ Basic technology skills include essential software tools, such as Microsoft Word and Excel, such as navigating the internet, using emails, messaging apps, and video platforms, such as Zoom or Teams.

✅ Searching online and finding and using websites

✅ May use social media, but mainly for passive content consumption or shopping, e.g., on Amazon.

For example, at this level, ask family and friends to help you write your online CV with digital tools.

Level 3: Digital Literate

You are "tech-savvy" and comfortable with the basics of technology. However, you use your critical thinking to understand how technology might impact your work area and life more deeply.

✅ You understand the impact of emerging technologies on your work and life and can think critically about it. For example, what are the characteristics of AI, what are the challenges, and how can you apply them in your job or industry?

✅ You are “tech-savvy” and comfortable with technology basics, using digital devices, software, and applications in everyday life - whether at work or home. You can use more advanced tools to create digital content, such as blogs, videos, and podcasts.

✅ You can use conferencing, and design software, e.g., Canva, or project management tools to streamline work processes, communicate and collaborate and share information with others via digital means, e.g., Miro, Google Docs, Loom, etc. You shift from passive to active usage of technology.

✅ You can create and manage your online identity and reputation using social media, e.g., LinkedIn, to build a personal brand and use social media both outside and inside work.

For example, at this level, you might use ChatGPT prompts to help you develop a creative CV and interview questions when applying for a job.

Level 4 Digital Fluent

This means you have mastered your Digital Literacy skills and developed a deep understanding of technology. You can now use your technical knowledge and human skills, such as EQ, creativity, communication, and collaboration, to create innovative solutions

To reach this level, you must be able to:

❤️ Solve problems that matter: You use technology and human skills to enhance, expand, and align your work with your purpose, increasing motivation and impact.

🔎 Search information: With the vast amount of digital information available, you can navigate it effectively, distinguishing between reliable and unreliable sources. This skill can save time, boost productivity, and improve your decision-making based on insights and knowledge gained.

🏄‍♀️ Surf the tech wave: You can choose the right online tools and technologies to stay ahead of the game and thrive. We'll explore how to evaluate your digital proficiency in selecting and assessing online tools and apps that best serve your personal and professional goals.

💡 Action your ideas: You can connect seemingly unrelated ideas and concepts, think outside the box, and unlock new possibilities to develop innovative solutions.

🛠️ Adapt & Iterate: With a lifelong learning mindset, you're open to trying new things, taking calculated risks, and learning from failure for personal growth and development.

👩‍❤️‍👩 Build your tribe: You can effortlessly connect and network with others online, manage and maintain your digital identity, and use various media forms to create and share content. Moreover, you're skilled in collaborating with others to develop compelling content and communicate in a way that increases your visibility and value.

Digital fluency is like becoming a poet or author who can use words creatively. In comparison, Digital Literacy is like learning how to read and write.

Achieving digital fluency requires a deep understanding of technology and the ability to use it creatively to solve fundamental problems:

For example, at this level, someone wouldn't just create a standard CV online; they'd take it to the next level. They'd use AI to create their headshot, attach NFT digital badges to their Notion microsite, and even make a video showcasing their digital savviness or facilitating their interview in the Metaverse!

How to start your digital-savviness learning journey:

  1. Understand your current level by assessing your digital skills.
  2. Rate your confidence level on a scale from 1-10.
  3. Reflect on your use of online technologies and identify areas you'd like to improve.
  4. Note down your aspirations and reasons for wanting to level up your digital skills.

To be a true tech-savvy future-ready woman, you must understand that it's a never-ending journey. You must be open to learning, trying new things, and staying up-to-date with technology trends. The good news is that you don't have to do it alone. Find your tribe, surround yourself with like-minded people, and level up your digital fluency.