Given the title of Gardner Campbell’s article, I expected an in-depth discussion on various social medias and how to use them. I expected some explanation on Linkdin and how to “buff up” my profiles to be more eye catching, as so many other articles geared towards my age-group have done. Pleasingly that was not the case. Campbell poses a point that deserves attention from the academic community: how can we expect our students to be viable choices if they are not also literate in the digital world and studies?
Technology has made strides in the past twenty years. The world is at our fingertips and, to some in my generation, it is all we know. We had iPhone’s before our parents know what Facebook was. We, some of us at least, still remember setting up our MySpace accounts and learning beginning code to do so. Most of us, including myself until beginning the Digital Storytelling course, thought ourselves technologically literate; we could code and blog with no problem. As Campbell says, these skills only scratch the surface.
“…students must be effective architects, narrators, curators, and inhabitants of their own digital lives. Students with this kind of digital fluency will be well-prepared for creative and responsible leadership in the post-Gutenberg age. Without such fluency, students cannot compete economically or intellectually, and the astonishing promise of the digital medium will never be fully realized.”
If we become literate in these platforms we have become accustomed to, then the world is ours. Knowing how to interact well in these spaces is vital to our survival in the coming age. How can we, as a generation, expect high level careers if we can’t figure out how to blog properly to stand out from the rest of the crowd? We can’t. One unprepared blog post, for example, will look just like the thousands of others if we chose to stay illiterate. It’s time universities begin the shift of teaching students these skills; a shift away from the “online course” aspect that many claim to be fluent in.
Campbell provides an excellent argument in a push for digital literacy. Platforms our parents never had to learn should be some of our most marketable skills, and will be necessary in the coming years. As such, universities should move towards curriculum that aids us in our pursuits of life-long careers. Curriculum that will help us master these skills long before we walk across the stage and enter the “real world.”