Food for thought: Are you “e-literate”?

This week’s blog comes from TPHQ as our resident Writer and Instructional Designer, Reese Harlan, examines the ever-changing learning landscape and digital literacy to ask the question: Are you e-literate?

What is literacy? Well, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, literacy is defined as the ability to read and write.  So, if you’re reading this blog, I think it’s safe to assume that based on standard definitions of the word, you’re literate.

But wait! Not so fast.

Did you know that there are different types of literacy? Did you know that the definition of literacy as we know it is changing every day?  According to the American Library Association (2017), “(digital) literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”

As technology becomes a part of everyday life, literacy is not just about reading and writing, but also about being able to comprehend and apply what was read or written. Digital literacy, specifically, speaks to one’s ability to interact with technology and navigate through an interface to accomplish a task or access information. 

Now, think for a moment about how you interact with technology every day.  Ever had to use self-checkout at a grocery store with a line of impatient patrons behind you? Oh, the stress! It’s like being asked to read aloud in front of a class full of heckling middle-schoolers.

Have you ever purchased a new phone and struggled to find basic functions? *Raises hand* I have! And I’ve abandoned or avoided new apps and software updates exclaiming in exasperation, “I just want to (enter basic functionality here)!” I’ve called Siri, Alexa, Bixby and Google as virtual tutors for help with my digital literacy, or lack thereof.  But what’s most interesting is that my teenager can set up, troubleshoot and navigate through new technology as though it were second nature. I have even seen children as young as two years old scrolling through phones as though they received training in the womb. What sorcery is this?!

But I digress.  My point is, soon, most activity will be automated in some form or fashion. From starting a car to stocking your refrigerator, your digital literacy will be tested. 

Do not despair! There is hope. Thankfully, companies like TutorPro (not to toot our own horn here) understand the challenges of digital interaction. Through in-app help and eLearning, hopefully, we can continue to create new ways to help you navigate these mean e-streets without having to contact your digital tutors and lay down your title as the all-knowing parent to ask for help from tech-savvy kids.  Because, back in my day…. (you know the rest.)    

In any case, cheers to eLearning!

About the author: TeamTP