Expand Technology Integration and Adult Digital Literacy
Recent studies performed internationally regarding adult competencies found that six out of ten adults in the US, of ages 18-65, perform at or below the lowest proficiency levels with solving problems in tech-rich environments. That’s about 118 million people. This includes competencies like acquiring and evaluating information, using technology to communicate with others effectively, and performing practical tasks.
While these studies showcase the need for increased tech integration in the adult education classroom, and indeed, beyond, the strategies and goals for meeting this need generally don’t match the reality of the learners.
The Needs for Technology Integration
As a result of the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition’s grasp of the need for a more realistic understanding of realities, success, and barriers that come with integrating technology in the programming of adult education, a tech assessment was conducted of 12 partner organizations within the Career Foundations Consortium.
The assessment’s goal was to analyze how technology is integrated into adult education environments throughout Chicago. They found that, while providers indicate that the technology they use is sufficient for meeting demands, they believe a connectivity and hardware increase would enhance their capacity.
The need to increase digital literacy levels in learners exists. Still, there is also limited use of Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment, a tool that is meant to assess learners’ digital skill levels. Finally, while paid learning software is not widely-used, free online resources are.
The Response to the Findings
To respond to their discoveries, the CCLC created a Digital Literacy Advisory Board, which drew from fourteen partner organizations in Chicago. DLAB has started projects throughout the city to meet these needs and trends discovered during the assessment.
They will test mobile-friendly learning so that learners are allowed to work through a mobile-friendly learning program. Data gathered through this test will help inform mobile-centric strategies for the integration of technology moving forward.
They will also develop a library of resources. DLAB evaluates the way that local organizations organize, gather, and share resources online to their learners. With this data, they can support providers better by centralizing adequate learning resources.
Why is Adult Digital Literacy Important?
Being digitally literate as an adult, and even as an adolescent, allows global citizens to bond together and interact with one another, to work toward common goals. It will enable them to discern content that is authentic and content that is not – something that is becoming increasingly more difficult to do.
Adults with good digital literacy will have the advantage of efficiently sharing their ideas and filtering the content that they consume knowledgeably.
As our technologically-fueled society continues to grow, the necessity of digital literacy will become more and more critical. Therefore, digital literacy must be integrated and taught in the adult classroom. Without it, adults are entering the world without the basic knowledge they need to function as global citizens.