This design case includes two examples of design projects that look at digital literacy as a political act with the potential to empower people. The basic premise is that digital literacy is not an isolated educational and technical component for communities, but in order to be meaningful, it must derive from current social and cultural practices, and find scenarios where technology adds value. Therefore, digital literacy is an experience, and not an end-product.
The two projects were carried out in rural areas of the state of Karnataka, India, with two communities of women, who engaged in a pedagogical process using digital tools. During participatory sessions, we constantly relooked at how technology can be part of social arrangements where people have more control over their own lives individually.
This approach to digital literacy is informed by the principles of empowerment, citizenship and individual rights. It gives priority to cultural meanings, and poses digital devices as artifacts that are embodied by people and can extend their capacity of communication and transformation. The methodologies of ‘Ways of Knowing’ include participatory processes, the use of digital devices and experiential learning.
- Catalina Alzate, India