Ever wonder where Rafranz comes from? Meet my grandfather, Frank Coleman. This picture is the only one that exist with our grandfather and any of us. I’m selfishly fortunate that the picture is with me.
My grandfather, like many back then, was illiterate. He could not read nor write. He could not even recognize his own name. He lived in a world where written communication was foreign. Without my mother by his side, he was virtually non-communicative in public forums where the written word was required.
Today, I saw a posting asking for input for Alec Couros’ (@courosa) upcoming keynote regarding digital literacy. What Mr. Couros is requesting, in a brilliant move, is contributions to the question…
“What does it mean to be literate today?”
You can provide feedback here. I cannot fathom this question without comparing it to the world that my grandfather lived in. By all accounts, he was illiterate. The communication skills that he needed to thrive in the world were his greatest weakness. Today, the idea of being illiterate may be different yet still has so many parallels. Ironically, I feel that my parents are digitally illiterate in a strangely direct comparison to my grandpa.
My mother uses a computer and believes 100% that anything on google is for the taking. They do not own smart phones, so as we all have instant access to basic information, they do not. My father does not know how to send an email. As a matter of fact, he just left the room asking me to email a family member from MY account and “act like it came from him”.
I’m writing a blog now that neither of them will ever read because in all honesty, they have no idea how to get here. Like my grandfather, who in 1977 could not read or write, was definitely illiterate…today, so are my parents. The best way that I can provide an answer to what digital literacy means today is to define what digital literacy is not.
Digitally Illiterate – Unable to read, write or communicate via current digital mediums.