Digital Literacy: Technical literacy

Technical literacy on a blank page in a dyslexia friendly font

Although 6th on the list of domains for the HEE digital literacy proficiency, technical proficiency is the first area that I want to discuss.  Although not many may see the benefit of being technically proficient, it does have its benefits when approaching digital literacy. Not only will these be beneficial in choosing a device, but also overcoming any problems or issues that are encountered. Not being able to overcome these issues without help may cause frustration in the development of digital literacy; and a lack of self-efficacy in the use of developed skills.

So, what does it mean to be technically proficient? What do you look for when choosing a computer? Or even a tablet or mobile device? All these questions are part of your technical proficiency in your digital literacy. Being able to determine what the differences between random access memory and storage can be the difference between a usable and unusable device. On some surveys that have been published students weren’t aware of what an operating system was. You may have encountered Android or Apple devices, and still not be aware that Android and Apple iOS are the operating systems.  Similarly, when choosing a computer or laptop, the choice of operating system is important when considering connecting to University network. Some networks don’t support operating systems like Chrome book but will readily work Windows from Microsoft, or Apple OS (the name changes too often to name one here).

But what happens when it goes wrong? Fixing some of the simple problems with the computer can be obvious to some, but daunting to others. I have had experience of building my own computers from when I was 15, so I have no difficulty in taking a computer apart to fix it. (Well, this isn’t as easy it used to be especially with my Surface Pro.) Being aware that simple Press of F1 can bring up to help options for most programs, and help you out of a bind is a simple way of fixing a problem. If not, most answers are a simple Google away. I have to admit that I still use Google to help me when I come up against a problem that I haven’t encountered before, and there is normally a video to accompany to help guide.

What about using alternatives to input devices? I am currently dictating this through Microsoft Word to be uploaded onto my blog, because I find that the easiest and quickest way to type (dictate) these posts.  There are options out there to help with any difficulties you come across with accessibility, as a student or academic you may encounter them as a part of the university’s inclusivity strategy, chat you your learning technology teams or library for some help here. By the way, I also use the free ‘Dyslexie’ font as I write, I find it easier to read… I then change to Arial for submission or upload using the styles function (more about this here).

Technical skills involved with using the applications themselves tend to be ubiquitous. Although it could be daunting looking at Apple pages compared to Microsoft Word, the essential functions of the same. Building digital literacy means that you can transfer the skills of being able to use Microsoft Word, into the skills required to use Apple pages. There are no multiple free pieces of software that you can download and use without ever having to pay for software, and legally.

The best way to develop your technical skills is just a practice. Although it may be frustrating when you start, the moment you try and fail comma the better you will eventually be. You’ll be able to find out how to use software, but also delve into the inner workings of computer in his hardware components. Simple things like building your proficiency with typing may help remove some of this frustration by making more efficient and effective whilst practising in we may consider to be quite a basic skill. There are games available for this and I, and I’ve linked to some through this page.

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