OITP and Digital Literacy Portfolio! Plus NTIA and a Digital Literacy Portal

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see this announcement from OITP (Office of Information Technology Policy, ALA) yesterday! Libraries are key players when we talk about digital literacy and education. Though as I’ve noted before we are often overlooked in reports from other institutions and organizations, most recently, as in the Digital and Media Literacy Plan of Action white paper by Renee Hobbs.

I am pleased that OITP is working on a digital literacy portfolio and taking action that will help put libraries at the forefront of digital literacy training and education:

The ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) is in the process of developing a digital literacy portfolio.  During Midwinter, OITP staff began meeting with a range of ALA member groups to learn more about current efforts and to help inform the portfolio development.  One outcome of the Midwinter meetings is that OITP’s Advisory Committee is supporting an OITP task force that would delve into digital literacy issues and include representatives from interested ALA units

The second part of the announcement concerns a National Digital Literacy Portal as mentioned in the National Broadband Plan from the FCC. As you know I’ve been concerned that The Plan fails to address digital literacy training and instruction and neglects the important role all libraries play in addressing the digital divide and participation gap. While I don’t think a portal will solve all the issues, it is a good first step and I am thrilled that NTIA is reaching out to other organizations including libraries:

The Digital Literacy Portal is one of the initiatives underway at NTIA.  NTIA has issued a request for organizations – including libraries – that are engaged in digital literacy projects to submit content to be considered for inclusion in NTIA’s Digital Literacy Portal.

I strongly urge you to read the entire description of the Portal from NTIA

Digital literacy practitioners in the field have identified the need for a centralized location to connect to the most current resources available, collaborate, and share best practices to support opportunities for all Americans to build digital literacy skills.  The Digital Literacy Working Group aims to produce a digital literacy web portal that is the “go-to” place for a variety of practitioners to connect to the most current resources on digital literacy.

And the comment and content policy:

As more and more jobs and information are available primarily online, the ability to use computers and navigate the Internet are critical to participation in the economy.  The Digital Literacy portal will aggregate resources and facilitate collaboration among practitioners who are working mainly with vulnerable populations to enhance their digital literacy skills.

If you submit anything to NTIA be sure to copy OITP oitp@alawash.org.

Also note the mention of the “Digital Literacy Working Group” which, at this time, brings up 7 hits on a Google search. I know government tends to work slow but let’s hope in this case that all parties involve move quickly, as it is, we are already behind.

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