Digital Literacy of Rural Teachers. Emerging Ways in Agribusiness Ruralities


Formal education, particularly school, is one of the essential places, if not the only one, to gain knowledge of disciplines, adopt the cultural patterns of a society, and build civic responsibility. The educational system, its institutions and subjects get questioned in the 21st century by the info-communication development in various fields of daily life.

In an Argentinian pampas agriculture scene where the globalized agribusiness model prevails, how is a teacher taught on the ways, means and kinds of digital communication, who, as an intermediary between the urban and rural worlds, should teach the elementary public rural school students of Córdoba's pampas in these times of growing digital transition?

Four sets are included in the background of research on the integration of ICTs (Information and Communications Technologies) by rurality teachers. The studies identified address: a) These technologies' dynamics and their sociocultural impact; b) The possibilities and risks of digital technologies for the school in particular, and education in general; c) Teachers' subjectivities and perceptions on, and resistance against these devices; and d) The link between rurality teachers and info-communication tools. This last group of specific studies includes the limited research known on the relation between ICTs and schools in heterogeneous Argentinian ruralities.

It can be seen, therefore, the need to go deeply into the theoretical construction and the empirical work on computer literacy as a very significant aspect of the assigned ICT integration by rurality teachers. It should be understood, from a sociocultural perspective rather than a technical view point, how and why these technologies enter a rural school within a national, regional and local context, with growing needs in that respect.

In socio-educational theory, the literacy concept results from a diverse relational, dynamic, innovative and metaphorical position. This concept entails that illiteracy is the opposite, it implies a reduced or permanent education process, it is related to social development ideas, and it is widely used in expressions such as “computer literacy”, which go beyond its 19th-century original meaning associated with the use of written culture. Thus, literacy is understood, nowadays, as a large process including the entire human development, changing with every culture and along history, which is contextualized at school, but which also relies on culture and politics.

Consequently, this study seeks to understand the ways to attain computer literacy regarding ICTs by teachers of elementary public rural schools in southern Córdoba province (Argentina).

Fieldwork included an intra-methodological triangulation. The various significant statements from rural teachers, included in the text, have been taken from sixteen semi-structured individual and group interviews complemented by field observations, both carried out in an extensive and intermittent fieldwork with nineteen teachers from eighteen public rural schools. These educational institutions are located in a southern district in Córdoba province (Argentina), which has an extensive and mercantile agricultural.

Study results show that rural teachers from southern Córdoba province (Argentina) use, at least, three specific and non-exclusive ways to literate or learn on digital technologies such as computers, social media and mobile phones.