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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Real-Time Thinking in the Digital Era

Real-Time Thinking in the Digital Era
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Author(s): Yoram Eshet-Alkalai (The Open University of Israel, Israel)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 5
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch514


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In 2004, Eshet-Alkalai published a 5-skill holistic conceptual model for digital literacy, arguing that it covers most of the cognitive skills that users and scholars employ in digital environments, and therefore providing scholars, researchers, and designers with a powerful framework and design guidelines. This model was later reinforced by task-based empirical research (Eshet-Alkalai & Amichai-Hamburger, 2004). Until today, it is considered one of the most complete and coherent models for digital literacy (Akers, 2005); it is used as the conceptual design infrastructure in a variety of educational multimedia companies and was also described in the Encyclopedia of Distance Learning (Eshet-Alkalai, 2005). The conceptual model of Eshet-Alkalai consists of the following five digital literacy thinking skills: 1. Photo-Visual Digital Thinking Skill: Modern graphicbased digital environments require scholars to employ cognitive skills of “using vision to think” in order to create photo-visual communication with the environment. This unique form of digital thinking skill helps users to intuitively “read” and understand instructions and messages that are presented in a visual-graphical form, as in user interfaces and in children’s computer games. 2. Reproduction Digital Thinking Skill: Modern digital technologies provide users with opportunities to create visual art and written works by reproducing and manipulating texts, visuals, and audio pieces. This requires the utilization of a digital reproduction thinking skill, defined as the ability to create new meanings or new interpretations by combining preexisting, independent shreds of digital information as text, graphic, and sound. 3. Branching Digital Thinking Skill: In hypermedia environments, users navigate in a branching, nonlinear way through knowledge domains. This form of navigation confronts them with problems that involve the need to construct knowledge from independent shreds of information that were accessed in a nonorderly and nonlinear way. The terms branching or hypermedia thinking are used to describe the cognitive skills that users of such digital environments employ. 4. Information Digital Thinking Skill: Today, with the exponential growth in available information, consumers’ ability to assess information by sorting out subjective, biased, or even false information has become a key issue in training people to become smart information consumers. The ability of information consumers to make educated assessments requires the utilization of a special kind of digital thinking skill, termed information skill. 5. Socio-Emotional Digital Thinking Skill: The expansion of digital communication in recent years has opened new dimensions and opportunities for collaborative learning through environments such as knowledge communities, discussion groups, and chat rooms. In these environments, users face challenges that require them to employ sociological and emotional skills in order to survive the hurdles that await them in the mass communication of cyberspace. Such challenges include not only the ability to share formal knowledge, but also to share emotions in digital communication, to identify pretentious people in chat rooms, and to avoid Internet traps such as hoaxes and malicious Internet viruses. These require users to acquire a relatively new kind of digital thinking skill, termed socio-­emotional, because it primarily involves sociological and emotional aspects of working in cyberspace.

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