Sunday, September 29, 2013

Digital Literacy: Learning Newtech for its Own Sake

Digital literacy is a new capability and feature of our modern world, where consciously or unconsciously, there is a category in our lives called ‘learning newtech.’

There are two levels: first the basic skill acquisition and conceptual understanding required to learn a newtech, and second, the psychology of the digital learning curve which includes evaluating and justifying the time investment and utility of learning au courrant digital literacy tools with the appreciation that they will be almost immediately obsolescent.

We might complain about the effort required to master contemporary areas of digital literacy like learning mobile app development, the big data statistical manipulation language R, and scripting frameworks like node.js and jQuery. At the same time as we forget our many digital proficiencies, and the time invested to acquire them; previous generations of digital tools like file sharing, photo-uploading, Excel macros, Microsoft Word, PREZI presentations, file archival, and system restoration.

It is arguable that we should devote explicit effort to digital literacy, and further that digital literacy for its own sake could also be an objective. Taking Stanford University as an example, all incoming students must take a software programming class; pedagogically the language requirement is still in place, but it has shifted from French, Spanish, or German to C++, Java, or Python.

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