In a first for the region, ictQATAR partnered with the International Institute of Communications (IIC) on the Digital Literacy Communications Forum, on February 9, 2010, addressing an issue of primary concern for all, with significant implications for everyone.
Being digitally literate means more than just knowing how to use a computer or surf the internet. True digital literacy requires being empowered with information on how to best use digital communications to succeed both economically and socially.
In an engaging forum hosted today by ictQATAR and the IIC , regional and international experts worked to develop a clear definition of digital communications literacy and define its importance in areas such as business, culture, education and creativity.
"We all recognize that media literacy has parallels with traditional literacy-the ability to read and write text. Yet media literacy is the ability to 'read' and 'write' audiovisual information rather than just text. Media literacy is the ability to use a range of media and be able to understand the information received," said Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, ictQATAR's Secretary General. "But the ability to understand the information received is not enough. Being able to process this information critically - questioning, analyzing and evaluating that information is essential. "
Specific areas addressed in the forum included:
- Industry initiatives in digital communications literacy
- The development of social and cultural aims
- The protection of minors from inappropriate material
- The role of formal learning.
The forum featured speakers from:
- The World Internet Project
- The Australian Communications and Media Authority
- BBC Children
- Al Jazeera
- The Center for Media Literacy
- The European Association for Viewers' Interests
"The Middle East as a region has enormous potential both economically and socially if it begins to develop a more digitally literate society," said Andrea Millwood Hargrave , Director General of the IIC, who served at the Forum Chair. "Bringing together such a diverse group of experts to address real ways of building digital communications literacy is an important step in realizing that potential."
In her opening remarks to the forum, Dr. Hessa stressed the importance of the Arab world maintaining its sense of community in the digital age, and stressed that digital communications is in fact a way to share Arab voices with the rest of the world.
"Our community has a story to tell about our history, our people and our struggles. That story is unfolding every day, in millions of bits of digital transmissions. It unfolds via status updates on Facebook and tweets on Twitter. It unfolds during dialogues that occur through online learning and research sessions. I urge you to keep community in mind. Digital literacy is the way to ensure we can bring everyone along with us," she said.
The Digital Communications Literacy Forum concluded with a roundtable discussion on the range of topics covered and included reflections on the day from Northwestern University-Qatar students.
In closing the forum, Millwood Hargrave encouraged participants to take the ideas and knowledge shared and develop tangible programs.
"Training programs for teachers, the development of curriculum for schools and workshops for parents on cyber safety are some tangible ways to build digital communications literacy in the Middle East. The key is finding what the most important areas of need are and developing a tailored initiative to address those needs. Through a better understanding of what digital media literacy is and where the current gaps are, I am confident extremely valuable programs can be launched to move the region forward."
For more information, visit: www.ictqatar.qa
Follow us on our social media channels: