Episode 23: (Data Bites) Immersive Digital Literacy Education Combats Definition Deadlock

In the previous episodes this week we learned that there are over 100 different definitions for “Digital Literacy”. To make the situation worse, there are hundreds of different certificates available to show that you are, in fact, digitally literate.

All of these certificates, and the many different definitions are likely in response to the importance of becoming digitally literate so that one can fully participate as a denizen of the 21st century.

However, these many certificates and definitions appear to miss the mark in one way or another. Today’s data bites suggests that we all take a page out of the strategies of learning new languages. That is, an immersive experience in various technologies will create an education experience without the need of committing to a particular definition of digital literacy.

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Music for the show: Foolish Game / God Don’t Work On Commission by spinmeister (c) copyright 2014 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/spinmeister/46822 Ft: Snowflake

Show Notes:

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Now on to the show.

Welcome to Data Couture. I’m your host Jordan. And on today’s episode, we’re going to be following up on the notion of digital literacy. But before we get into that, I’ve got some exciting news to offer. Namely, on this upcoming Monday show, on July 8, we will be interviewing the one and only Tony self, Donna. So get excited for that because it was an excellent interview. And I’m excited to share it with all of you know, something that happened during my interview with Tony earlier this week was he he made very clear how similar digital literacy is to digital transformation, namely the topic of my interview with him, as well as computer literacy, media literacy, all of those sorts of related issues. Now they all have very similar problems.

They’re all overly complicated in ways people have attempted to define them. Recall on Monday, I gave five sub definitions for digital literacy and made digital literacy seem like kind of a umbrella term for these five options. But then on Wednesday, I apologize because there are so many different ways there are over 100 different ways people in various industries across the world have attempted to define this very tricky, very slippery topic. Now something that came out of that interview that you’ll hear is the efforts that so many people so many companies are going to in order to get their employees get their team members digitally literate, it came out of a question I asked him concerning what it means to be a citizen in the 21st century.

And what do I mean by that? I don’t mean citizenship to a specific country or citizenship. I don’t know to a specific person or place. What I mean is what will it take to actively be a part of all the things that go on in this 21st century? How can you fully participate in all the exciting new opportunities? How can you participate in making the world a much smaller place given the power of the internet, given the power of all these various technologies that are around us. And what came out of it was, like I just mentioned, companies are spending boatloads of money.

He mentioned some companies are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars others are spending millions, there’s at least one that’s spending hundreds of millions of dollars getting their entire workforce digitally literate. And in my research for the sort of training that is offered in digital literacy. Well, this won’t come as a surprise, but you can get certified and being digitally literate. And you can put that on your LinkedIn page or your resume or what have you. And to show your next employer, hey, I’m digitally literate, you should hire me I can actively contribute to the workforce. Well, what all the certificates seem to have in common and don’t get me wrong. I love certifications. And I think they’re very valuable. But what I found is every one of these certifications are geared around one or some other definition of digital literacy.

And of course, that’s a bit of a pragmatic choice on the part of the Certification Authority, because you can’t get somebody certified and digital literacy if you’re trying to certify them and the hundred or more different definitions of it, right. But what I’m finding is because each one of these certification parties or certification bodies have chosen a specific version of digital literacy, it just reeks of incompleteness.

Because digital literacy is such a complicated matter. It’s almost, it’s almost like we should treat it like a new language. Of course, we can use applications like dual lingo, or Babel, or any of the others that are available on our phones. And I personally love those. And I’ve tried to learn multiple languages multiple times, and I’m still you know, and get back on the wagon every once in a while. Nevertheless, lots of research shows that the best way to learn a language is to be immersed in that language. And so I wonder, Is it the same case for digital literacy is the case that we need to take people, and we just need to punch him in the deep end, say, okay, you’re going to be training up a machine learning model, you’re going to be using some no code or low code applications, to build a robotic automation, you’re going to have to troubleshoot the configuration for this or that new software product, you’re going to have to, I don’t know, work with some data, you gonna have to analyze some data, you’re gonna have to create some visualizations, hell, you’re going to have to create an iPhone app or some sort of mobile application, go.

I don’t know about you, I’m not sure if maybe going to those extremes would be helpful at the very first go around. But you see my point, you see that what it might really take is having our team members having our employees having people who otherwise have not had access to these technologies, and just putting them in with other people who have other people who are excellent at using the technologies you using, or even understanding how these different processes work, and just letting them go.

So I guess you could quantify this and say, Well, those people’s time cost money, therefore, the company’s still spending money on training these folks. And I, you’re probably right, I mean, not to mention the cost of lack of production from what that person was formally doing. However, if you see it as a way to truly improve the actual digital literacy of those people by not pinning them down and saying you have to get this specific certification and digital literacy, but instead, putting them in a situation where they have to use the various technologies that might do more for training folks on what it means to be digitally literate than actually having them sit through some sort of certification program. If you have thoughts, let me know in the comments down below and be sure to subscribe. And I look forward to seeing you on Monday.

That’s it for the show. Thank you for listening. And if you liked what you’ve heard, then consider leaving a comment or like down below. Stay up to date on everything data couture, be sure to follow us on Twitter at data couture pod, consider becoming a patron@patreon.com forward slash data couture music for the podcast. It’s called foolish game. God don’t work on commission by the artist spin Meister used under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
license, writing, editing and production of the podcast is by your host Jordan Bohall.

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