Have you ever gotten into something you had absolutely NO clue about? Well, jumping back into college after a 27 year hiatus called life, is exactly what I’m doing now. I took 3 classes this summer to “get back in the swing of things” and am starting this semester, as a junior, with 14 hours of classes and a computer. To say that things have changed a bit in the learning world, would be an understatement.
In my opinion, computers are the devil. Am I an idiot? No. I consider myself a fairly intelligent person who can learn about anything. Have I spent a considerable amount of time on a computer? Yes. In the past 17 years, I have spent a lot of TIME on computers. However, it has been with programs that I needed to use to do my job at the time. I was taught every key stroke and every screen to monitor and control. I did not spend time on social media as I did not even own a computer. I have been on Facebook for about 5 years and am just learning how to post pictures from my phone.
Microfiche and the card catalog were my greatest friends when I started college. I had to be very specific about what I was looking for. Now, there is an overwhelming amount of information at the touch of a key stoke, even if you do not know exactly what you are looking for.
Let’s just call a spade a spade. I am NOT the definition of digital literacy. According to Wikipedia, digital literacy is defined as: ” The set of competencies required for full participation in a knowledge society. It includes knowledge, skills, and behaviors involving the effective use of digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs, for purposes of communication, expression, collaboration and advocacy.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Literacy
That being read, I would assume, and be quite accurate with that assumption, that I am definitely not digitally fluent. According to Karen Spencer in her article What Is Digital Fluency (2015), digital fluency “requires competencies and capabilities that go beyond the skill level. Someone who is digitally fluent not only selects tools and knows what to do with them, but can explain why they work in the way they do and how they might adapt what they do if the context were to change.” https://karenmelhuishspencer.com/2015/10/30/what-is-digital-fluency/
Elements? Aren’t they on the periodic table? Little did I know and much to my surprise, digital literacy actually has 8 key elements. In a reading about the book The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies, by Doug Belshaw (2012), the 8 key elements of digital literacy are cultural, cognitive, constructive, communicative, confident, creative, critical and civic. After reading the descriptions of all of these, I found myself lacking in all of them but creative. https://digilitpride.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/making-sense-of-the-8-elements-of-digital-literacy/
I can do THAT? Looking at the 8 elements, I could find my weakest point in life in the element of confident. I am very scared of delving into the unknown, taking risks, and making mistakes. I do not like to “mess around” and click on things that I do not know about. My greatest fear is to click on something and not be able to go back. I am scared that I will go somewhere in cyberspace that I cannot get out of, hence my lack of knowledge of computers.
I am about to invade my own comfort zone. I am looking forward to stepping out of my box and exploring this great new world that is technology. As I read my assignments for some of this semester’s classes, I cringe but know that, being the grade hound that I am, I must do what is asked of me and complete the assignments to my best ability. This is all to ensure that I become the best teacher I can be, which is my goal. Moving one step forward every day, with the help of a few patient people, I plan to one day tell those who know me, and my fear of computers, to…”Hold My Beer and Watch THIS!”