This past quarter I’ve been working closely with an English as a second language class in Humboldt Park. And while I’ve primarily been working with the students to improve their English language skills a large part of my role has been to teach the students computer literacy. Now for most of us Millennials the idea of being computer literate isn’t something we really think about – or at least I don’t. Using a computer and going online is second nature to me. I couldn’t even pinpoint how I learned how to use a computer. Much like how I learned to read, how I learned to be computer literate is never something that I really think about. Teaching this computer literacy class has really opened my eyes to how difficult it is to learn a new literacy.
Most of my students are completely illiterate when it comes to computers. At the beginning of the class they didn’t even really know how to log on to or even start up a computer. Typing, something that is so second nature to us was completely foreign to them. And the resources around the classroom weren’t much of help. The place that I volunteer at still has posters up around the computer classroom talking about the importance of saving to a floppy disk. Seeing those posters really just hit home to me how much the idea of being computer literate has changed in the past ten years. How are teachers to teach computer and online literacy if it is constantly changing, especially with students who do not get constant contact with computers?