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Digital literacy as a factor for social inclusion: a critical perspective

José Luis Travieso (

Coordinator, Vocational Training Curricular Design Unit, Department of Education, Government of the Canary Islands

Jordi Planella (

Professor of Psychology and Educational Science Studies at the UOC


The aim of this article is to analyse the possibilities offered by digital literacy as a tool for social inclusion. It pays special attention not only to technology skills training but also the opportunities offered by information and communication technologies (ICT) for improving people's quality of life, and generating scenarios and synergies that aid the creation of social networks. To do so, collectives have been identified that are either at risk or already in a situation of social exclusion, and different training programmes in the use of ICT for these people analysed. The results of the research show a trend, which may be overextended, to develop purely instrumental training programmes, focusing more on learning how to use technological tools than on the people and their needs, and thus on promoting the use of ICT for critical processing of information and generation of shared knowledge, the development of collaborative work, solving the problems of daily life, etc. Nonetheless, there is a growing awareness, among most of the agents providing training, of the need to move this focus towards the development of cooperative and collective values which aid people's integration as critical and active subjects and transcend the concept of simple consumers of technologies and digital content.


cooperative work, digital literacy, social inclusion/exclusion, social integration
, social networks

Submission date:  January 2008
Accepted in:  February 2008
Published in:  April 2008

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