Imagine yourself sitting in a library with thousands of books and preparing for your exam. Now, look at your friend at the other side of that table with a tablet and prepping up for the same test. If you don’t know how technology can better your learning experience, you need to be technology literate. When thinking about technology literacy, the first question that comes to mind is, “What is technology literacy?” The answer should be familiar to anyone who uses a computer daily. Technology literacy means being literate (or well-versed) in using technological tools such as software and hardware. But what does technology have to do with literacy? Let’s explain.
Technology Literacy Definition
Literacy, by definition, refers to an individual’s ability to read or write information proficiently and accurately. However, there are different types of literacy. For instance, one can be functionally illiterate (can’t read and understand instructions), or digitally literate (gets by well enough with computers and other digital technologies). Further, people can be technologically literate (know how to use computerized devices), or pop-culturally literate (knowledgeable at using references in everyday discussion).
What all these forms of literacy have in common, however, is that they require the reader/listener to interpret information. Literacy can also be classified as an individual’s knowledge about a particular topic. For example, if you’re illiterate in understanding computers and their programs, you might not know anything about technology.
On the other hand, if you’re technologically literate, you would know enough about computers and their programs to have a basic understanding. But you wouldn’t comprehend enough to do something extremely complicated with them. Therefore, technology literacy refers specifically to the ability of individuals to understand more advanced Information Technology (IT) types such as smartphones or laptops.
Students who can apply technological skills in a digital context are said to have “digitally literate.” Students with technology literacy may use various digital devices (PCs, smartphones, tablets, and more) and user interfaces (such as email, internet, social media, and cloud computing) to communicate, troubleshoot, and solve issues.
What Does Technology Literacy Have to Do with Education?
To put it simply, technology literacy has everything to do with education. That’s because the world is increasingly becoming more digital. In our day and age, nearly everything about our lives can be stored on one computer system or another. That includes personal information such as emails and contacts and financial information such as bank statements and bills. This means that students need to know how computers work to learn about new material properly. They also need to understand how the social structures of the internet work. That way, they don’t become victims of crime while using them.
What Makes Someone Technologically Literate?
That depends on whether you’re talking about a computer user or a smartphone user. For a computer user, it means understanding concepts such as internet safety: how viruses and hackers work, or what phishing is. Moreover, it can represent database management: how to organize files, or where your information goes when you delete it.
What one needs to understand about the internet is that people can access any information they want on it. It’s not like a library with stacks of books for browsing. Even if students do get proper education on how to use computers, there are still those who slip through the cracks and have no idea how their computer works. That’s something that isn’t as easy as pressing ‘delete.’
Why is Technology Literacy Important?
Because technology acts as a societal structure now, even those who aren’t directly using it will indirectly play a role in its use. For example, even something as simple as owning a house puts someone into contact with digital information without knowing how to use it properly. This is why technology literacy is so important, not just for those who use it as a trade, but also for people who will be using it as an integral part of the community they live in.
Technology literacy indicates a grasp of digital information and devices in a digital world, which is increasingly important in today’s learning environment. Technology and digital literacy are similar in that such a literate person is knowledgeable about critical thinking and communication via technology. These individuals also understand how to use, create, authenticate, and share digital material and can readily embrace new technologies. The following are some reasons technology literacy is significant in this era:
1. You Can Stay Connected with Family and Friends
One of the best things about technology literacy is that you can stay connected with family and friends no matter where they are in the world. With just a few clicks, you can be up-to-date on their latest news, photos, and updates. You can also keep in touch through the best social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These platforms make it easy to share your thoughts and experiences with others. Plus, you can connect with new people who share your interests.
2. You Can be More Efficient at Work
Thanks to technology, you can now get your work done more efficiently than ever before. With the help of tools like word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation software, you can create professional-looking documents quickly and easily. You can also connect with co-workers and clients online to collaborate on projects or discuss ideas. Finally, if you need to take a break from work, you may relax by browsing the internet or playing video games.
3. You Can Become a Quick Learner
With technology, you can learn new things quickly and easily. There are now countless online courses and tutorials that you can access for free. Plus, millions of articles and blog posts on the internet can teach you about any topic imaginable. You can also watch videos on YouTube or listen to podcasts to learn more about a particular subject. If you ever get stuck, you can always ask Google or another search engine for help.
4. You Can Access Information Anytime, Anywhere
With a few taps of your finger, you can find out what you need to know in an instant and research nearly any topic imaginable. From any location, mind you. Also, if you ever get lost traveling, you can use your smartphone or tablet to find your way back home.
5. You Can be Creative and Expressive
Technology is the ultimate way to be innovative and unrestricted in professing opinions. For example, you can use tools like photo editing software to add special effects to your photos. You may also create videos and podcasts to share your thoughts and experiences with others. Plus, there are now many platforms that allow you to express yourself creatively. For example, Tumblr is a great platform for sharing photos, GIFs, and quotes. Wattpad is a superb place for sharing stories and poems.
6. Technology Literacy Can Help you Stay Organized
Technology can help you stay organized in many ways. For example, you can use calendar apps to keep track of your appointments and deadlines. You can also use task managers to organize your to-do list. If you need to study for a test, you can use flashcards or quiz apps to help you memorize the information.
7. Privacy Protection
Thanks to technology, you can now protect your privacy online. For example, you can use tools like password managers and encryption software to keep your personal information safe. If you ever feel unsafe while using the internet, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to hide your identity and location.
8. Technology is a Key Player in the Healthcare Sector
Technology can help you stay healthy. For example, you can use health-tracking apps to monitor your physical activity and calorie intake. Assisted reproductive technology, MRI, and computerized tomography can help doctors diagnose and prevent fatal health conditions. When you have health-related questions, you can use internet search engines to get answers from qualified professionals. All this is possible due to the technological process humankind has made.
9. Being Technologically Literate Lets You Travel Easily
Traveling has become easier than ever before. With just a few taps or clicks, you can book flights, hotels, and rental cars. If you ever need help while traveling, you can use your smartphone or tablet to access local attractions or transportation information. Additionally, once you feel like you’re lost, you could try using GPS services to get the right directions.
10. Technology Can Help You Manage Your Finances
Technology can help you manage your finances in many ways. For example, you can use internet banking tools to pay bills and transfer money. Further, if you ever need a loan, you can apply for one online. Plus, many apps can help you save money on groceries and other expenses.
Finally, it’s said that you have to have a dynamic approach to be progressive. Paraphrasing Bruce Lee’s favorite quote, “Flowing water never goes stale,” we realize that’s how humans should keep up with the ever-evolving technology.