How to improve family digital literacy
September is National Literacy Month, but according to a professor at The University of Texas at Dallas, the definition of “literacy” is changing.
Dr. Carie King, clinical professor of rhetoric and communication in the School of Arts and Humanities, said that in addition to the skills related to reading and writing, literacy also now includes the related technology that enhances literacy.
“To be digitally literate, we need to be able to use technology to find and view content, to create digital content, and to be able to save and share that content,” she said. “Digital literacy is encouraging people to read and write. And using digital tools is convenient and fun.”
King said accessibility to digital literature remains a challenge in the U.S., in that not all Americans have the money, the knowledge, nor the ability to purchase and access digital texts.
Education institutions and libraries are seeking to increase access to data creation and management, online research sources, and emergency preparedness to ensure that those who manage texts can be prepared for disasters that could inhibit access or content.
King offered a number of ideas for improving family digital literacy.
- Visit your public library and attend a workshop on how to access information through the internet.
- Take a writing or basic coding course through your local community college.
- Start a blog and network with other bloggers.
- Explore new tools as well as old ones. For example, Microsoft Word allows users to set preferences to allow it to proactively help edit their work.
- Visit the Gutenberg Project and download a classic text on your laptop, tablet or phone.
- Volunteer at a local school and watch how the students use technology.
- Search the Library of Congress YouTube channel to view tutorials, music performances, political speeches, historic events and more.
- Search your phone’s app store for tutorials on improving digital literacy.