September 6, 2015 at 5:54 pm #1650Chris SonneveldParticipant
When people seek out your help regarding an IT related issue, you start to think that maybe you know more about computers than the average computer user. It’s not that you know everything about computers it’s that you tend to be able to provide others with an explanation on how to solve their IT issue from the knowledge and resource that you know are available to you. The secret that you might not tell people is that you’ve probably helped 20+ people before them with the same issue or that you are prepared to spent a number of hours trawling the inter web message boards to come up with a solution that you’ve extrapolated from someone else’s problem that relates to theirs.
Following our Twitter chat regarding Digital Literacy, Information Literacy and Digital Inclusion I realised that even though I am able to help others find information or explain how technology works, I have also taken this knowledge of technology and information literacy for granted. It’s easy to forget that not everyone has had the same exposure to technology as you and that something you might find simple when using technology is painstakingly difficult to others who haven’t been lucky enough to have had access to computers from an early age. @ChloeStrong77’s reason for why information and digital literacy programs are so important because they “…allow the entire community to actively participate in society.”
Before our Twitter chat I had never considered what it meant to be information and technology literate. I found @pberetta99’s definition, “Use tech effectively to find info that is relevant and usable,” the best way to explain information and technology literacy as it relates to an experience I had recently where I was asked explain the process I used to search for information on the internet. I was happy to help but the process of writing down the basic search steps was extremely difficult. If someone asked me to give them a list of search results on any given topic I would have it to them in no time. My patience is only tested when someone wants to know the process I used to come up with these search results. What made it even more difficult was the search steps would change depending on the relevancy and context of the information search topic. This just shows that I have reached a point where I do not have to think about how to search for something on the internet, I just do it without thinking.
My digital literacy and information literacy grew from the interactions I had with my older brother when we were little. He eventually grew up to become a computer engineer and I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be as interested in technology if we hadn’t hung out out together when we were younger and shared his love for computers. If I hadn’t, I likely would have reached one too many road blocks while learning about computers and eventually given up. This would have meant that I never would have been able to branch out on my own and learn to problem solve the computer issues myself to eventually reach a level of digital literacy and information literacy where I could pass on information and the process of finding information to others. I tend to forget that other people have not been able to grasp complex computer skills that I more than likely picked up at an early age. I think that all library staff should try to maintain at least an introductory level skill set and knowledge base of tech used by a majority of the population and try and keep up with current trends to be of use to their patrons who use it. @MysliwyL thinks that library staff “…should at least have a basic knowledge (basic being a variable here) of all tech equipment and software,” which I completely agree with.
The programs that libraries should offer to support information and digital literacy should, “… increase awareness and provide access and training,” as highlighted by @RobynneKay and harness “…technology and strategies for people with disabilities.” I can’t remember a time where I was ever scared or frustrated by technology because I always had my brother to ask for help. Because of this it sometimes baffles me how anxious and frustrated people can get when they are using a computer to do things that I would find straight forward. This just highlights how lucky I’ve been to not only have the access to computer for years but to have had my own computer guru on speed dial. My experience with technology along with our recent Twitter Chat involving Information Literacy, Digital Literacy and Digital Inclusion has reinforced how much I take my computer skills for granted and how valuable they can be to other’s who have not been as fortunate.
September 6, 2015 at 8:29 pm #1669Caitlin .Participant
Your insights are interesting and yes you are truly lucky to have such an ease of access to digital literacy. I myself find computers test my mind, I simply don’t work that way although I am required to use them every day I find I am the one that asks that ‘silly’ question, but i am not afraid to ask. I have a work colleague with two degrees in IT who practices talking to “real people’ by assisting me when I lose the cursor! A best friend who in his logical frame of mind taught himself about computers by taking one apart until he felt comfortable adding hard drives, programs and other “stuff’ I don’t understand at will. i also have two teenagers always ready to assist with an eye role when word starts in my panicked words “pac manning’ my 4,000 word assignment on Bosnia.
The weeks readings and resources open my mind to how many people don’t, they don’t know who to ask are fearful or simply don’t have access to the internet. How isolating would it be if you did not have the words to interact. I have completed all of my university Education by distance and without digital access and assistance with navigation would have been unable to do any of it. A truly sobering thought.
Those who approach you are lucky that they can connect with your digital literacy to help facilitate their own.
Good post Caitlin
October 1, 2015 at 4:27 pm #2295Chris SonneveldParticipant
Thanks for your response and kind words Caitlin. I totally understand that some people don’t want to know everything about computers but in my experience those who choose to push past a basic understanding of how a computer work they are better off in the long run. They are definitely more confident that they are not going to break the computer and when they do ask for help the tend to search for the answer themselves before asking others for help.
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