“Digital technologies permeate all spheres of our life, fundamentally shaping how we live, work, learn and socialize.”
– Irina Bokova.
Just about a decade ago, most of the digital technologies we take for granted today were nonexistent. However, today they have become so common that sometimes one can’t help but wonder if life will be possible without them. Some tasks that took about two years in the past can now be completed in two hours or less and in a more efficient manner.
Earlier in the year, when users of WhatsApp messenger across the globe were experiencing connection issues which made many of them unable to send or receive text messages, photos, documents, or videos, for few hours; some users made it seem the end of the world had come. That was a clear indication of how these digital technologies have become an inseparable part of our existent on earth.
This generation is living in a digital world. Some careers which hitherto were considered prestigious are fast becoming obsolete because of the emergence of some of these digital technologies. We’ve heard or read reports on why banks are laying off some of their staffs. And it is not happening only in the banking sector. The digital revolution is spreading to all spheres of human lives. It is important that every individual who intends to make some significant contribution to society get acquainted with basic digital literacy skills.
A few weeks ago, there was this message making rounds on social media appealing to people to buy mobile phone airtime from vendors instead of doing so electronically as such practice is likely to render these vendors jobless. People forwarding such messages clearly had good intentions. However, what they were failing to appreciate was that humans naturally desire convenience and as long as they can afford it, they’ll usually go for it.
It is interesting to note that UNESCO chose to focus on digital literacy for this year’s celebration of International Literacy Day which was on the 8th of September. In her message for the day, the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova made mention that “these new technologies are opening vast new opportunities to improve our lives and connect globally – but they can also marginalize those who lack the essential skills, like literacy needed to navigate them.”
The world is changing rapidly. The illiterate of the 21st century as Alvin Toffler said years ago “will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn. Don’t “fight” the digital revolution. Make a commitment to learn, unlearn and relearn how to take advantage of the limitless opportunities it offers.