20 Apr Digital literacy helps us stay socially connected while physically distancing
About 84 per cent of jobs in Canada currently require computer and technical skills, and that number is only expected to increase in the coming years. Besides helping to secure employment, digital literacy plays a huge role in maintaining social relationships, which is necessary now more than ever. With our government currently mandating us to isolate ourselves due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are relying on digital technology to keep in contact with others.
However, that’s only possible if someone has a solid foundation in digital literacy knowledge. A 2015 Ipsos Reid study found that nine per cent of Canadians report that they do not subscribe to or have access to the Internet at home. Furthermore, many Canadians struggle in technology-rich environments. Among them, the proportion is higher in underrepresented groups in the Canadian workforce, such as Indigenous peoples, immigrants, language minorities, and 16-24-year-olds.
With no end in sight to the pandemic, now is the perfect time for adults to improve their digital literacy skills in order to stay connected with friends and family.
Digital Literacy Programs
The Youth Teaching Adults digital literacy program is typically led by youth volunteer-tutors through independent, in-person workshops. Tutors follow along with one of the 50 available lesson plans, gaining valuable leadership skills as they teach adults new skills. Adult learners in turn increase their digital literacy skills and become more confident with technology.
During our current period of self-isolation, ABC Life Literacy Canada has moved several lesson plans online for anyone to access. These lesson plans focus on technology that will help adult learners get and stay connected with family and friends, stay informed and provide entertainment. Lesson plans are available for desktop, iPhone and Android and include topics such as:
- Creating a Google Account
- Facebook Messenger
- Fake News & Snopes
- Google News
- Google Translate
- YouTube Music
Literacy practitioners running remote literacy programs are encouraged to download the lesson plans to help their learners improve their digital literacy skills. A recent study found that only 17 per cent of adult learners are confident when using digital tools to support their learning, making digital literacy an extremely important foundational skill right now.
Youth are also welcome to download lesson plans and teach family members and loved ones how to leverage technology during this time. Lesson plans can be taught over telephone, video conferencing or in person to adult family members in their home.