With the continuous recurrences of the Covid- 19 infection scares and lockdowns of main economic activities including schools, e-learning has become the only easy way out to keep learners in schools and making them feel that at least they are not lagging behind with the whole school curricula. This has made high-tech solutions a necessity, not a luxury like what used to be believed especially in the developing world. Most Tech companies especially in the developed countries have also found it lucrative to adapt their tech services, and solutions to meet this unforeseen high demand to provide educational hardware, and software systems that they think would help in this crisis. However, though most of these tech companies claim to provide better solutions in education, being literate in what they sell and provide would help most schools, principals, educators, parents and learners. Holistic literacy specifically Digital literacy would help to avoid falling prey to such companies especially in such hard times when most tech companies are twisting their tech knowledge into lucrative educational platforms with no verification of the suitability of the curriculum to the students’ and learners’ intellectual needs and career plans.
It is noted, that most developing countries have always been considered and used as dumping fields and pits for outdated tech devices and programs, especially those that are fancy but hardly user-friendly and a practical solution to most people especially students and parents who might need to assist their children in accessing relevant educational resources that suits their children’s level of understanding and intellectual development. Therefore, seeing that we are now living in very uncertain times with the world changing fast due to the forever evolving technology and constant disruptive digital systems, basic literacy of just being able to read and write is no longer adequate but holistic literacy, specifically digital literacy skills of being able to think, analyze and review tech devices for maximum utilization has become a necessity. This would help school teachers, leaders, parents and students or learners to choose more appropriate tech devices and solutions that help in solving and fulfilling their curriculum needs and intellectual capabilities.
A holistically literate mind is a creative and critical mind. That is the kind of mind that the present school leader, educator, parent or student needs for adapting and adjusting to the present COVID – 19 crisis. Though it can be difficult to keep up with change to adapt and adopt to any new technology, holistic literacy skills inspire and empower anyone for survival and success in the waves of change. The thing is, most tech devices and programs can be fast and confusing due to constant evolvement and high competition in the marketplace. This can be overwhelming to educators, school heads, parents and students in any developing country where most people have not yet even mastered the basic functionality of a modern smartphone except to use it for phoning and receiving calls. Let alone affording an iPad for e-learning. Therefore, functional literacy is needed like holistic literacy, specifically Digital literacy that embodies all the relevant digital skills of being in a position to analyze and utilize tech devices and programs in a helpful and beneficial way.
Digital literacy will help in making informed decisions that help in levelling up your choices as a principal, an educator, parent or student in understanding of these technological devices around and the trends of development in educational technology, you can exploit for your own benefit and development. Holistic literacy exposes you to basic literacy skills and online learning skills like listening skills that enlighten you in all basic literacies like digital literacy, information literacy, financial literacy, economic literacy and many others that empower you to make learned decisions on choosing, buying, utilizing, and maintaining any tech gadgets whether it is low or high tech, especially those that are meant for students and learners to use as educational resources.
I remember when I started shopping around for my first laptop, those that are always displayed in hyper-super markets and some tech companies. It is like you are shopping around for bananas, or clothing items, which I realized should not be like that when you are buying any tech device like a laptop. It was after reading an article like this that I realized how best I should go about in buying any tech device. It needs informative conversation with that tech vendor behind the sale to reach an informed decision on whether the gadget will suit your needs to fulfill your goals and purpose in buying the gadget, a smartphone or a laptop. Someone might want to say, why bother, a laptop is a laptop, any laptop would do the work.
Well, I have been buying laptops for the past ten years and in that period of time I have blasted about three which are lying wasted and garbage in the tiny room where I work from. I would not like to mention the valuable data I have always lost each time these laptops started croaking for attention that is too expensive to give and the data that would only need forensic retrieval by data specialists whom up to now, have failed to afford. Surprisingly in the wide world of computer knowledge and experience, no-one ever indicated to me or warned me that computers are basically manufactured to last for a maximum of five years and of course with efficient and careful handling, for I have realized that with my children, theirs basically, last for three to four years. It was only when I had googled all this that I came to be aware that computers are not an asset, but a critical liability that really needs careful decision making when purchasing it, for it to be an asset. Here are some of the aspects that you need to consider when buying tech devices like laptops as assets;
Financing options for any tech device or solution should be well defined to suit the purpose, program, and the soft-ware needs of the individual, the school, educator, parent and student. The curriculum input should be inclusive and considerate of the level of aptitude of the learners, students, or parents who is expected to use it and gain useful knowledge that equips them to be creative and innovative citizens of their country or nation and the world at large. Sometimes branding can obscure our judgement on the functionality, usability and affordability of tech devices. Therefore, a clear insight is called for, when purchasing these technological gadgets, especially when they are meant to alleviate the present e-learning crisis specifically in the developing world like Africa or any other parts of the world, where literacy is still as basic as just being able to read and write basic language with no up-to-date basic digital literacy, and appreciation of technology. As such, basic literacy in technological devices is a necessity, and can be enlightening in making learned choices in their functionality, and curriculum coverage and how suitable and accessible it can be on such devices.
The other factor that usually interferes with learned choices in purchasing tech devices is also due to the cloud nine tech influencer mindset, and their marketing language and style that is always misleading. The way some of these gadgets are priced and how their acquisition and possession signal class and status as opposed to affordability, durability, and usability is also always misleading. This is where people, and organizations need holistic literacy, specifically digital literacy to inspire and empower them to be aware of such matters when shopping around for such educational tech assets and solutions online through call outs from service providers, that are flooding the market with forever evolving tech devices and solutions. Here are the laptop designs that are recommended for educational purposes, some with inbuilt curricula and recommended syllabi. Hope this article will help in guiding you in remaining literate and relevant in e-learning and education.
The writer is a Holistic literacy tutor/coach with a deep passion for education and literacy in its most creative, practical and functional sense that suits the present-day forever evolving Digital World. As such, she believes any designed present-day curriculum should easily be retrievable, revised and adjusted. The only easy and smart way, is a digitized curriculum that fits in the boxes and easily accessible to the world. Interested in working with her for content writing or for designing online courses? Contact her @firstname.lastname@example.org