Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Were my great grandparents digitally literate?

Although my great grandparents never had the internet or social media, I believe they were as digitally literate as someone could be in the 1940s. Recently I have finished putting all 10 hours of silent video captured by my great grandfather to digital format. He was an amateur film maker and spent countless hours filming and putting together these videos which I only vaguely knew about until recently. This has made me wonder what the definition of "digitally literate" actually is. Will our great grandchildren view us as digitally literate or will they say we didn't have enough technology to truly be digitally literate?  In my head, I would say that to be digitally literate means to keep up with the social world, to strive to learn what you can with what you have. Just because you don't have tons of resources doesn't mean you are not digitally literate. The African man who used the one computer in his village to find out how he could make his plants grow better through science blogs is much more digitally literate than the teenager who spends ump-teen hours a day on Facebook and other useless activities on the web. From what I have seen in the videos I have watched, my great grandfather strove to be on the cutting-edge of the time and to use what he had for good purposes. I believe that it was this time and these desires in the 20th century that paved a way for the want and then need for a digital world. People want to communicate better. Just think of how many inventions have came about because someone wanted a better way to communicate, made it, and then everyone wanted to use it. There are countless examples and will only be more in the future. For my great grandpa, the best way he saw he could communicate to the future was through his silent films. Now my wife and I have begun a video blog, inspired by his desire to show us his life. I am grateful he was digitally literate enough to do it.

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