A new type of literacy

first_imgWith this month of September having been designated Education month, there is a lot of discussion surrounding literacy and numeracy rates amongst the Guyanese populace. Obviously, this discourse centers on traditional learning, such as being able to read, yet, in this day, there are other forms of literacy that are incredibly important and need to be emphasized.Whilst being able to read and write are inarguably essential in today’s world, our children should also be technologically literate. There is no debate that our society is changing. Once, it was that only an elite few were given the privilege of an education. Now, education is seen as a fundamental right. With the advent of improved technology, we saw something similar happening, where only a select few were computer literate. However, it is now becoming evident that being computer literate is less of an asset and more of a necessity.Yet, we concentrate on traditional forms of literacy for our young children. It seems as though most adults regard computer literacy as a secondary skill, something that can be learned later in life. While this may be true, is there a time too early to start? Technology is always evolving and improving, and therefore, we in turn need to be continuously learning. Arguably, it is easier to adapt when you have been introduced to computers from an early age.There is understandably some reservation about the abuse of technology, and the poor effects that it can have on a child’s developmental mental and physical health, especially if introduced to them when they are quite young. However, it is often argued that children learn in different ways, and that technology used in the right way can assist students. I don’t need to talk about the many ways that technology has vastly improved self-study; from educational videos on Khan Academy, to learning games for toddlers, to providing Social media as an avenue to easily distribute surveys for Social Studies. These benefits are easily noticeable. Contrastingly, perhaps what often go unmentioned are the hidden skills that children pick up from doing seemingly “mind-numbing” tasks on their devices. For example, a parent may despair at their child playing video games on their ipad for an hour or two, and even chastise them, suggesting that they should go read a book instead. However, videogames can help to improve practical abilities such as hand eye coordination, they can teach structure and order, since young children will be forced to accept and obey the game’s rules and conventions in order to play, they can teach valuable transferable skills such as accuracy, attention to detail and precision. The major reason why I believe most adults see the increased use of devices such as tablets, phones, and personal computers as dangerous is because they associate them with the mind not being engaged, whilst this is almost always not the case.Although ensuring their child is technologically literate may not be the first concern of a parent, it should be a major one. Of course, devices are expensive, and classes are even more costly, but initiatives such as the one laptop per family help to make computer literacy more attainable for some. Finally, I want to say that just because it may not seem as though something is directly educational, it might be helpful in less obvious ways. Video games and social media aren’t inherently bad, and can assist learning if used in moderation.last_img

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