Tuesday, March 10, 2015

BYOD, Digital Literacy & Those That Are Left Behind [Movement 4]

Last fall (Oct. 9, 2014), I gave the keynote at the Polaris Users Group meeting in Liverpool, NY.  I am finally posting my keynote text (as written) here in four blog posts - four movements.  Below is Movement 4.

By the way, I've added photos to these posts; however, I did not use any images or projected presentation in October. 

Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, said:
Coding, editing video, design — it really is just the tip of the iceberg. What’s below the tip of the iceberg is participation, critical thinking and being able to collaborate. You really need to be a well-rounded, Renaissance, Internet-era kind of person.
43 by Rodrigo SatchI've been talking about people and situations that are not what we think of when we hear the word well-rounded, Renaissance, and Internet-era. When we think of "Renaissance", we think of people like Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo worked across knowledge areas. For example, he sketched the human skeleton and designed a helicopter. Today people who are Renaissance-like are able to work in different industries. They have broad skills that do not limit their opportunities. They are serial entrepreneurs. They are self-sufficient in ways that capture our attention. They've developed the critical thinking skills needed to tackle the problems that our world needs solved. They collaborate and these days that means collaborating with that device that they carry with them...all the time.

We have people, who lack some of the basics and who are being treated like they are disposable. On top of that, they look around and see others exhibiting skills that they know they may never have. Every person they see with the latest smartphone, iPad or tablet computer is a reminder of what they don't know, can't do, and can't afford.

You may be wondering if there is good news - or something positive - in all of this? Yes. I've already mentioned ideas that you might act on. But there is more that you can do.

First, adopt a definition of what you think digital literacy is. You'll notice that I have not yet defined it! According to the Digital Literacy Standards for New Yorkers:
Literacy represents a person’s ability to read, write, and solve problems using both spoken and written language. Digital literacy is the ability to apply those same skills using technology such as desktop computers, ebook readers and smartphones.
Is that a definition that resonates with you? If yes, use it! If not, create your own. Discuss the definition with your staff, with your champions and with your constituents. Help them understand the need for everyone to be digitally literate. Use examples to demonstrate what the life of a digitally illiterate person is like.

Second, work with your staff on their digital literacy skills and their ability to use mobile devices effectively. Yes, some of them are digitally literate, but some are not. Find create ways for people to improve their skills without making them feel self-conscience. You might take time at staff meetings to have people show each other new apps or new techniques. If everyone doesn't have a device, ask people to share OR use the library's devices during the meeting.

Third, if you're library isn't lending mobile devices, talk about the possibility of doing that. You might lend them for on-site use only, if you don't want them to leave the building.

Fourth, if you're in a public library, use mobile devices - in some manner - in your story times, ESL classes, and other events. These are times when we - the digitally literate would use devices - so let's give our community the same privilege.

Fifth, develop and implement create ways for your community members to use mobile devices to:
  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Demonstrate creativity
  • Communicate and collaborate
  • Be creative
  • Continue to learn
  • Be good digital citizens
Those five things make seem overwhelming. That's okay. If you do ONE of them, you will be on your way to making a difference. We're not going to create a digital literate citizenry over night. This is going to take time and so every step forward is a step in the right direction.

1 comment:

Paul Signorelli said...

Wonderfully heartfelt and inspiring set of posts; wish I could have been onsite to hear you deliver the original presentation. Hope our colleagues read and are moved to action by what you've written.