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The importance of digital technology

in life
Our era has come to see the vital importance of digital technology in our daily
lives. It allows us to unlock a huge collection of information and communication
data. Each kind of task, be it a regular task or a job specific task requires digital
proficiency or literacy. Digital literacy can be defined as "the ability to use digital
technology, communications tools, and or networks to access, manage,
integrate, evaluate, and create information in order to function in a knowledge
society" (Lemke, 2003). The execution of a successful approach for the
advancement of digital literacy skills is known to include multiple components
that tackle hurdles for explicit demographics such as; attitude, age,
socioeconomic status, language, and regional availability of resources. In
order to increase digital literacy levels strategies must be targeted and
implemented, where necessary for specific populations and situations keeping
an account of different obstacles. According to (Castells, 2009) there is a
technological transformation with the increasing use of internet access.
Therefore, technology transforms the mode or platform in which we converse
and process knowledge. A substantive growth in execution of information and
communications requires improvement in quality of life and development by
preparing people for a knowledge society. As said by (Castells 2009, pg 21)
networks demonstrate strength in their flexibility, adaptability and capacity to
self configure. Therefore networking is here to reside and education has no
alternative but embrace it. In this essay the basic focus is on the need to
develop nation's digital skills at all levels as it is gradually becoming important in
the present period where technology and its benefits are becoming more
sophisticated and pervasive. By critically discussing whether developing the
nation's digital skills at all levels helps in achieving fairness rather than
amplifying it in the presence of various inequalities?

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The Digital Britain report sets out an action plan to contribute its full potential to
secure UK's place as one of the world's foremost digital knowledge economies
which is significantly dependent on having enough people with the accurate
skills in the exact place at the precise time by applying new technologies; further
assembling a high class of professionals and ensuring Britain's future
prosperity. The issue is not only of financial competitiveness, but also of fairness
which is defined as ensuring that all have access to the content, services and
skills to contribute and connect effectively to the digital economy and the
benefits are available to all. There is an immense range of services delivered
online while also a hazardous threat to those who lack or struggle to access
technology. Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media
(November 2007) believes that "It is neither morally acceptable nor economically

sustainable to leave millions of people behind, unable to use information and


communications technologies to their advantage." However it is of upmost
importance to transform the lives of those who are excluded in order to avoid
the major parts of our society being deprived and enduringly lag behind.
Though, the matters about digital exclusion broaden far-off than ensuring
access to internet albeit with the increasing role of the internet in daily life, an
analysis of utilizing the opportunities offered by the internet is of fundamental
significance.
To critically discuss the actions taken by The Digital Britain report in line with
developing nation's digital skills; it is required to understand and discuss why
should there be an urgency to build on the nation's skills, what digital skills are
currently being delivered, how these are processed, how is it made sure that no
one misses out and lastly to what extent the contribution of internet access is
helping the society to improve the present inequalities? In this essay, we will
discuss and argue the answers to these questions to aid us in understanding the
relationship between digital inclusion, digital skills and media literacy. The essay
will first converse about the opportunity to ensure that no one is prevented
from access to broadband followed by raising the topic about engaging the
society to use and understand the digital media and finally, providing them with
the capability to develop and acquire the necessary digital skills to involve
themselves in the digital economy with confidence and support.

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Whenever we talk about building the nation's skills, the first thing which comes
to mind is the need to incline towards digital economy. In today's changing
business scenario most of the positions advertised by the recruiters require at
least some type of IT-user skill. In the year 2009 around 92% jobs required
applicants to hold both general (hardware and software skills) and specific
application skills (such as databases, and spreadsheets) in particular. For Britain
to increase its competitiveness in the global economy of 21st century, it requires
to create awareness among people to embrace the digital technology for a safe
speculation of an information revolution that can alter every part of their lives.
Therefore the government has taken various inspired initiatives to educate
everyone with a vision to shape a brighter future for Britain.
Talking about UK's present landscape as per national statistics, the number of
adults who have never accessed internet in 2010 is about 9.2 million. The
National Digital Participation Plan in collaboration with Digital Britain Report has
set a determined aim of reducing the number of non-internet users in the
country by 60% by 2014 by overcoming the three barriers to digital inclusion availability, affordability and capability. For this, the UK's government is
committed to distribute broadband services universally up to 2Mb/s by 2012
which is a significant step to ensure more of the general population in the UK
will have an opportunity to access to the internet. The 'Race Online for 2012'
program in the UK challenges governmental and nongovernmental
stakeholders to work collectively to aid the deprived groups to enhance digital

literacy skills making it affordable for them. According to (HM Government, Nov
2009) "The best use of digital technology, either directly or indirectly to improve
the lives and life chances of all citizens, particularly the most deprived, and the
places in which they live". Hence, the various proposals by Race online 2012,
Digital Charter, Digital Champion and expert Taskforce are considered to take
imperative steps to reach the next level for forming a fully digitally engaged
society which encourages excellence and fairness. Over recent years the
government has enhanced its understanding of social exclusion through
scrutiny of cohort studies and longitudinal surveys.
Information has become one of the chief inputs in financial procedures, and
information and (ICT) steadily became vital for the capability of enterprises,
communities and individuals to contribute effectively in the global economy
(Hollifield and Donnermeyer, 2003). When wisely applied, ICTs recommend
prospects via network effects to narrow down social and economic inequalities
and to sustain innovative market access in services and support wealth creation.
The basis of inequalities in internet access and use are frequently hinted back to
usage factors (price of technology, lack of information, ability or operational
skills) and psychological factors (nervousness about using technology or
reluctance to try something new) (Van Dijk and Hacker, 2003). There is a crucial
need to tackle the difficulty of the particular individuals and communities who
might have lack of knowledge, the resources, or the ability to achieve an
equivalent opportunity to contribute in society and economic life. For the ones
working in more disadvantaged communities, and who see the impact of
technology on people's daily lives, the relations among digital and social equality
are perceived without any doubt. However, it is argued that the spotlight should
be on structuring the business case for digital inclusion quantitatively and
qualitatively.
According to Castells despite the globes increasing interconnectivity there are
some individuals that are extremely involved in a global networks and others
stay mainly excluded. Therefore the analysis of international digital strategies
and European Union actions lists key international policy goals: digital equality,
accessibility for all, literacy and digital competence, technology to enhance and
technology for inclusion in order to gain better understanding of the needs and
problems and by delivering affordable services to engage individuals with the

internet sources in an attractive way. Consequently this explains how various


international policy goals helps individuals to overcome various psychological
factors like anxiety and lack of interest by accustoming them to the available
technology.
According to (Reaching Out: Action Plan on Social Exclusion, September 2006) "It
is possible to extend opportunity to the least advantaged so that they enjoy
more of the choices, chances and power that the rest of society takes for
granted." Ofcom plays an imperative role in promoting media literacy and
persists to work with stakeholders in turn to: offer people the opportunity and
inspiration to develop proficiency and self-confidence to participate in
communications technology and digital society; and update and allow people to
handle their own media activity (both consumption and creation). This
argument follows up and agrees with the statement made by Selwyn (2002)
about the significance of considering the diverse variety of activities which are
associated to internet use (expenditure activity, investments activity,
manufacturing activity, political activity and social activity). Accordingly,
government in collaboration with the assistance of private and public media
organizations operates as a unifying and funding source in support of digital
literacy programs. Further in order to sustain media literacy; enriching public
services like libraries and museums can offer individuals an enhanced quality of
life.