Have you heard about digital literacy and how important it is to learn, but can’t see how it will actually impact your life? We understand the struggle, and that’s why we’ve written this article: to give you concrete examples of the types of digital literacy skills you can obtain easily. We'll make it simple to see how digital literacy can improve your life in many aspects.
We’ll go over examples for the home, the classroom, the workplace, and for your own personal hobbies and endeavours. Some would fit into multiple categories, but we chose the one it was most applicable to. We want you to understand how quickly your life can be improved with enhanced digital literacy, so read on to learn more!
Digital literacy in the home
Obtaining basic digital skills around the house will be the backbone of your ability to integrate them into other aspects of your life. These skills are some of the easiest to learn and integrate into your daily routine, which is one of the best ways to start improving your technical skills.
By developing your everyday skills, you’ll be able to navigate through many resources, find information, make use of useful cutting-edge apps, reach out to more of your loved ones, and much more.
- Computer skills – Understanding how the hardware and software of a computer works, and how computers process and deliver information to you is something many people skim over and don’t bother to learn in-depth. However, they are very important components of digital learning.
- Communications – This is one of the key skills you can gain, and is the reason many people want to get online in the first place. Setting up an email account with a service like Gmail, or setting up an online video chat profile with a website like Skype, can greatly improve your ability to communicate with others.
- Social media – Right in line with communications, social media helps you keep up-to-date on what’s going on with your family, friends, the latest news, and so much more. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are three main networks you can start setting up accounts for if you want to increase your online social presence.
- Internet navigation – Getting on the Internet and actually knowing how to find what you’re looking for is key. Understanding how to find information with services like Google Search is a great way to start.
- Making use of personal devices and apps – Obtaining your own devices (such as a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, and/or smart phone) is one of the best ways to hone your skills. Using your devices regularly, and integrating them into your daily routine, is the best way to learn new things and practice your current skills.
- Determining the validity of a source – A key component of navigating through the Internet is avoiding the countless websites out there with false information. Understanding if a website is truthful will help prevent you from falling victim to online scams or Internet fraud.
- Protecting your privacy – Many websites ask you to enter your personal information as a requirement to use them. To know when a website is securely storing your information and protecting your privacy is a very important digital skill to acquire.
Digital literacy in schools
Whether you are a student or teacher in a classroom, or an instructor or participant in an adult-learning course, you cannot ignore that digital technologies are a part of learning. Whether you are learning yourself or helping others learn, these skills will help you advance your abilities in the classroom.
- Online safety – Staying safe online is a very important skill that people should learn almost as soon as they start using technology. Understanding how to protect your safety and privacy online, including how to interact safely with others online, should always be one of the first things you strive to master.
- Learning how to utilize personal devices appropriately – Instructors are no longer able to ignore that their students will bring digital devices into the classroom. So, instead of trying to forbid these devices, think of useful ways to integrate them into lessons. It also wouldn't hurt to teach your students about when using their devices is socially appropriate and when it is not.
- Note-taking and organization – A great way to improve your skills as a student is to learn how to digitally record and organize information. You can make use of great notetaking programs, such as Evernote, to help store all your important class-related information in one, easy-to-access place.
- Online courses – Learning never stops! There are great resources online for taking free (and some paid) educational courses, even out of university institutions! Check out websites like Udemy, Lynda, and Coursera to start learning, and expand your knowledge, on a variety of topics, including courses on digital literacy.
- Teaching skills to others – Even if you began as a student, gaining the ability to teach others provides you with a deeper understanding of the concepts you’re teaching, and helps to spread technology skills among even more people!
Digital literacy in the workplace
Specific technological skills are often requirements for landing a job in the digital technology sector. However, even if you do get hired, it's still important to know when it is or isn't appropriate to integrate technology into your workspace.
With that in mind, it’s important you learn how to use the necessary technologies in your workplace effectively. Whether you’re the boss or the employee, check out these ways to bring some technological skills into the workplace.
- Word processors, spreadsheet generators, and presentation software – The ability to use these types of computer programs used to be noteworthy on résumés, but today, it's mandatory for many office-based jobs. Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are probably the most popular programs to master, but Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are great to learn, too!
- Safely storing company data – The data your company creates and stores is very important. Therefore, you need to make sure to choose a secure service to keep your company files with, as well as inform employees about proper practices when it comes to storing data. Make sure your co-workers understand how digital data is stored and secured, and – more importantly – how not to lose it.
- Choosing an appropriate platform to showcase your content and media – How your business conducts outreach is very important, but there may be more than one way to describe what your company does. The ability to recognize the best way to use digital media to present information is a very valuable skill.
- Colleague collaboration – Many positions require working as part of a team. If your work requires input from multiple people, consider learning how to use a service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Evernote. These services help you get work done as part of team by allowing your team members to see real-time updates changes made to project documents.
- Creating a professional online profile – Once you’ve got all your skills down, make sure you set up a LinkedIn profile to showcase everything you can do to a future employer. If you are the boss, be sure to check out LinkedIn and other online networks of professionals to see what your potential future employees can do!
Digital literacy for your personal hobbies and endeavours
Not as much of a buzzword as these other categories, but honing skills to help pursue your own goals or find ways to make your hobbies easier (or more fun) is equally as important. Today, gaining publicity and showing off your talents is all about being online – and doing it well.
- Starting your own blog – Got something to say (or otherwise share)? An easy way to get some content online is by setting up your own blog (short for "web log"); a website like WordPress can help you do this. Besides just letting you write down your thoughts and opinions, many modern blog services also allow you to add pictures, videos, and whatever else inspires you! If your blog gets popular, people may start following, sharing, and responding to your entries!
- Creating your own website – If you have a great idea or collection of work to show off, but you have no coding experience, try a drag-and-drop website builder like Wix or Weebly. You can learn how to use it as you go, and create absolutely anything you can imagine.
- Video creation and editing – Knowing how to work with digital video is a great skill for your personal life. In addition, many people find success creating a good recurring series of videos online. If you’re serious about this, but don’t have your own website, start your own YouTube channel and get your videos on YouTube.
- Lifelong learning – Though it may not seem like it, having the drive to learn at any age is one of the most important skills to have! Even if you pick up many of the skills that we've listed, you have to make the effort to constantly practice them. Additionally, you have to keep up with the changing trends of the technology industry. Otherwise, it will be difficult to advance your skills, or even just maintain them over time.
Make sure to check out websites like DigitalTrends.com to keep up with the latest and greatest in tech trends. We’ve also got you covered here at TechBoomers, always ready to help you with learning how to use the most popular websites, apps, and digital technology of any kind.
Some of the best places you can learn these skills are at your local libraries or from tech training organizations. Our best advice is to find a great organization and find out when they’re running a seminar or series of lessons. That will help you learn and practice some of the skills we’ve mentioned here. Our library partners or tech training partners may be able to help you!