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NWO grant for research programme on digital literacy

12 February 2020

Digital literacy has become indispensable for people to participate in contemporary society. However, polls estimate that more than 4 million Dutch adults are unable to perform basic online tasks, assess online information, or deal with privacy. They are at risk of being excluded from an increasingly digital society.

Prof. Marcel Broersma, Dr Joëlle Swart and Dr Anna van Cauwenberge from the Centre for Media and Journalism Studies have received a research grant from NWO to study in the next 5 years how citizens develop competences for and understanding of digital technologies and which factors promote or inhibit digital literacy.

Uniquely, this research programme starts from the everyday life experiences of citizens. Based on in-depth qualitative and longitudinal user research, it studies two key populations. First, together with childcare organization SKSG it studies children from different socioeconomic backgrounds between 8-12 years, when media habits develop within the family and educational context that sustain for the rest of their lives. Second, together with the National Library of the Netherlands, Biblionet Groningen and Alfa College, it studies low-literate adults, 2.5 million people within Dutch society who generally also lack digital skills, increasing the risk of digital exclusion.

Prof. Marcel Broersma (middle), Dr Joëlle Swart (second from the left) en Dr Anna van Cauwenberge (second from the right), with research assistants.
Prof. Marcel Broersma (middle), Dr Joëlle Swart (second from the left) en Dr Anna van Cauwenberge (second from the right), with research assistants.

Marcel Broersma: "Together with our partners, we will provide a scientific basis for developing strategies for stakeholders such as teachers, parents, libraries and policy makers to facilitate digital literacy . This is important because society is becoming increasingly digital. To prevent that citizens will be excluded, we have to solve this important social issue."

The new research programme aligns with the projects that are being done within the Digital Literacy Coalition. This partnership of 19 knowledge and educational institutions, governments, social organizations and companies aims to make Groningen the most digitally literate city and province in the Netherlands in 2025.

For more information: prof. Marcel Broersma, m.j.broersma rug.nl

Last modified:12 February 2020 2.41 p.m.

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