Original Research - Special Collection: Digital Literacy

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? An exploratory study into how a sample of lecturers develop digital literacies as part of their career development

Willie T. Chinyamurindi, Zikhona Dlaza
Reading & Writing | Vol 9, No 1 | a191 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v9i1.191 | © 2018 Willie T. Chinyamurindi, Zikhona Dlaza | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 December 2017 | Published: 21 November 2018

About the author(s)

Willie T. Chinyamurindi, Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Zikhona Dlaza, Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, South Africa


The concept of digital and information communication technology (ICT) literacy is receiving renewed empirical attention. This focus is attributed to the changing nature of society and the move towards the ideals of the knowledge-based economy. Further, universities in South Africa and internationally are encouraging the fusion of technology in how students read and write. This research gives focus to the lecturer, particularly those lecturers who were once resistant to the use of technology as part of teaching instruction. The aim here was to track how these lecturers over a one-year period develop digital and ICT literacies to assist their career development. The study adopted an interpretivist philosophy, relying on the qualitative research approach and a series of three interviews over a year period with 20 lecturers at a selected South African university. Data were analysed using thematic analysis to generate three central themes. Firstly, the source of resistance in using technology as part of teaching and learning emanated from two main subthemes as perceptions: (1) technology viewed as a fad with little or no impact on actual learning and (2) challenges concerning institutional technology support as a limitation in integrating technology into teaching and learning. Secondly, the change of attitude (rather reluctantly) in using technology as part of teaching and learning was because of factors such as peers, the technology ‘tech-savvy’ student community and also a consideration for future career prospects as digital and ICT literacies are becoming a critical skills acumen for career progression. Finally, in developing digital and ICT literacies, the lecturers relied on: (1) participation in training programmes that encourage digital scholarship, (2) personal investment of time and effort to learn about how to develop digital and ICT literacies and lastly, (3) developing a career and identity management strategy that incorporates digital and ICT literacies. Implications for teaching and learning practice are made based on these findings. Further, the impact on individual career development (as far as lecturers are concerned) is also suggested.


digital literacy development; ICT


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