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I am a translator and interpreter for English, French and Spanish and an ESP/EFL teacher as well. I teach at the Social Communication School at the Central University of Venezuela. Currently, I am doing a master’s program in Teaching of English as a Foreign Language, which has been helping me to improve and complete my expertise on the teaching of second languages. I have taught English and French for eleven years now and I have worked with students of all different ages, meeting their needs on areas such as speaking, reading, listening and writing. I also teach private sessions for professionals who need to learn or improve their language level. Nowadays, most of my students are doctors and engineers who want to develop their skills to keep updated with their fields. I also translate a variety of texts for individuals and companies which require the service.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

1. Digital literacy

In our first class, we discussed the topic of "digital literacy". I must confess that I was totally relieved when the teacher started with such basic definitions. Even a week before the beginning of the class, I became really anxious due to my poor skills on computer tools. When the professor
asked what digital literacy was, I felt that my mind was
correctly read because I was wondering myself if I fitted into the concept. Was I a digital illiterate person?
According to the Danish Technological Institute, digital literacy “involves the confident and critical use of Information Society Technology (IST) for work, leisure and communication. It is underpinned by basic skills in ICT: the use of computers to retrieve, assess, store, produce, present and exchange information, and to communicate and participate in collaborative networks via the Internet”.
As we can see, the concept encompasses a wide variety of dimensions. This particular type of literacy requires “ordinary” basic literacy skills, which are a necessary precondition for digital literacy, that is to say, cognitive skills. These are the fundamental skills because they consist of reading comprehension, writing, and critical thinking. But it is also important to have the technical skills, which are skills revolving around hardware and software applications, networks and other elements of digital technology such as the Internet, cell phones, personal digital assistants, and other digital devices (Wikipedia, 2009).
The combination of both cognitive and technical skills constitutes digital literacy.

What is digital competence?

It is the combination of not only skills but also knowledge “along with values and attitudes” (Peña-López, 2009) to achieve goals by being efficient in digital contexts with digital tools.
As all we know, technology is nowadays part of our lives and has become an everyday tool, not only for small children but also all-aged adults. It is now mandatory to be proficient in its use and education has incorporated tech tools to better enhance the teaching/learning process.
In the field of language teaching, technology is becoming more and more important because people worldwide communicate and interact more than ever before. This is the reason why we teachers must learn about ICT tools and incorporate them in our classrooms in order to update and innovate in our huge responsibility: the teaching of a second language.

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