Why Digital Literacy is Key to the Future

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Key to the Future

Ever since the birth of the Internet, life has steadily begun shifting to majorly, if not fully, revolve around technology. A majority of daily functions almost completely rely on some form or use of technology and cannot be done without it. Many are under the impression that digital illiteracy is not a pressing issue, but according to the US Department of Commerce, “28 percent of Americans do not use the Internet at all” (“Digital Literacy Initiative…”). Those lacking digital literacy may not suffer greatly now, but as the world continues to advance, they will soon be considered disconnected from everyday life. With that being said, the importance of digital literacy in rising generations is just as equal to the importance of reading, writing, and math.

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As previously stated, the digital world is now incorporated into the basics of life that we face on a day to day basis. Simple things such as checking the latest news, accessing weather forecasts, and keeping up with household finances are mainly done through the use of the Internet and different applications provided by the variety of electronic devices. There are still a few ways to complete those tasks without technology, but those methods are quickly becoming impractical and will soon be known as the ways of the past. Forms of communicating have been greatly affected as well with the introduction of technology. Before its creation, people were limited to writing letters and talking in person or on the phone. Thanks to technology, people can additionally send e-mails, text messages, and messages via social media to communicate with family, friends, and peers. One can also connect and interact with people from all around the world through social media, blogs, and many other websites. In a world that promotes global connections in everyday life, technology is key.

Likewise, the ways of education have been significantly affected by technology. As it became a widespread trend, schools around the world began incorporating the digital world into their curriculum. According to Josie Gurney-Read, “Embedding digital literacy… across the curriculum certainly opens up a variety of educational tools for teachers” (“Digital Literacy…”). Once a student has acquired the basics of digital literacy, he or she can start benefiting from what technology has to offer. On the reading and writing side of things, teachers can utilize websites and software found on electronic devices to teach and advance their students’ abilities. Dictionaries, thesauruses, and other grammatical guides can be accessed online for quick and easy referencing instead of using traditional books. On the math side of things, there are also websites and software teachers can utilize to teach and assist their students. Tutors and guided practice are readily available online for those who need additional explanations outside of class to help them succeed.

Additionally, technology has transformed schools in ways other than within specific classes. Many now supply students with computer labs and personal electronic devices to enhance the learning experience. Lessons and assignments can be administered, completed, and submitted through instructional sites. A majority of textbooks now have online versions that are becoming widely popular because of the ease of access they provide. Furthermore, some schools even administer classes partially and even fully online to give their students easier access to an education.

One of the biggest things impacted by technology is knowledge itself and how to obtain it. With the introduction of the Internet and electronic devices, information began blossoming as new things and ideas were created. To this day, the flood of information is still endless as technologies advance into the future. In the past, people were limited to books and teachers when attempting to obtain information. As a result of the digital world, “the sum of all human knowledge is [now] accessible online” (“A Human Right…”). Anyone in the world can now easily search any topic on a search engine and gain access to an infinite variety of sources about that topic. Things such as recipes and translations can be found within seconds in forms ranging from plain text to even video tutorials. The range of knowledge technology provides is hard to believe, but it is uniquely true.

Being a part of one of the first generations raised in the digital world, I consider myself to be digitally literate. Things involving technology are a breeze and are practically common sense to me. I have come across many situations and opportunities where my advancement in technology has benefited and given me chances that would not have been provided otherwise. My parents, however, are on the opposite end of the spectrum and are close to being completely digitally illiterate. Besides knowing how to turn on a computer and maintain their e-mails, they really know nothing at all about technology and the Internet. There have been many cases where if it were not for my help, they would have missed out on opportunities ranging from rebates to job openings. From what I have already taught them, they have come far in their knowledge on technology, but obviously have a ways to go in order to become fully digitally literate.

Overall, being digitally literate is very important for students in the 21st century. Being digitally illiterate can hold people back from completing daily tasks and keep them from advancing to their full potential. Many schools have incorporated technology and the Internet within their functions and one who is digitally illiterate cannot keep up and could quite possibly fall behind. Knowledge is now mainly found online through websites and other internet sources and being digitally illiterate can limit someone from accessing it. Just like reading, writing, and math, digital literacy should continue to be promoted so that future generations can continue advancing the world.

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