Digital technology has transformed the way we live, learn, work, socialize and grow. Permeating multiple layers of economy and society, digitization has also brought new demands and prospects to the global agenda to advance literacy. While offering new possibilities for literacy teaching and learning, increasing digitization also has the power to undermine the already uneven landscape of literacy progress across countries and populations, leading to worse marginalization of the low-skilled and low-literate. It is therefore time to rethink literacy for a digital world, and to come up with inclusive, equitable and sustainable responses so as to turn the challenges into chances.
The 2017 International Literacy Day 2017, under the theme ‘Literacy in a Digital World’, will take place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, on 8 September 2017. This international conference will bring together experts, policy-makers and practitioners active in the fields of education, literacy and digital technology from all world regions. By sharing and analysing exemplary policies and practices that leverage digital technologies to promote literacy, participants will examine how the digital age has redefined literacy and explore effective ways to engage digitization in order to support progress towards the literacy targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.
As a key education-related institute of UNESCO that promotes literacy as a core area of lifelong learning, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) will play an active role at the event, highlighting its programmes and publications and engaging in networking. One of the main activities the Institute will showcase will be the UNESCO-Microsoft Advancing Mobile Literacy Learning (AMLL) project. Launched in 2015, the AMLL project aims to harness the potential of emerging technologies to address literacy needs of selected marginalized and underserved communities. By presenting how the four beneficiary countries – Bangladesh, Egypt, Ethiopia and Mexico – have implemented AMLL to bring about positive literacy development, UIL expects to share valuable lessons learnt in deploying emerging technologies to efficiently and innovatively advance literacy in a digital world.