Fostering Student Digital Literacy Through the Fabric of Digital Life.



Defining literacy in the writing classroom is a difficult project, as the sheer amount of literature on the subject (Cargile Cook 2002) and various articulations of literacy (Spilka 2009) demonstrate. Despite the struggle to identify an agreed-upon meaning for literacy in writing classrooms, pedagogical scholarship voices a need to understand literacy as literacies, or as plural, multidimensional, or multilayered (Cargile Cook 2002; Breuch 2002; Selber 2004; Hovde and Renguette 2017). Furthermore, as technologies including data analytics, wearable devices, and immersive technologies (like VR or AR) increasingly affect writing processes, the classroom significance of addressing digital literacy is abundantly clear. Multidimensional literacies present a need for multidimensional instructional models, yet there is no innovative model for building digital literacy. Focusing specifically on digital literacy, which includes “making ethically informed choices and decisions about digital behaviour … digital safety, digital rights, digital property, digital identity and digital privacy” (Traxler 2018, 4), our ongoing collaborative research project, Building Digital Literacy (BDL), aims to discover how students understand and develop digital literacy. In this article we provide assignments implemented in several writing courses as part of the BDL project. We hope to highlight how instructors can develop assignments that engage students with the multiple literacies needed to be successful critical thinkers in their personal and professional digital lives.

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