Instructor Lauren Shea
Does Technology Influence Literacy? When considering the idea of literacy most assume that it’s the ability to read and write, which is somewhat correct because literacy is looked at as “the act of reading”. However this understanding is quiet rudimentary and simplified. Literacy should be understood as having the capacity to read textual content and make connections between what the writer is relaying and how it applies to the topic that’s being discussed. Also, literacy should invoke critical thinking and creativity on the reader’s behalf, the act of reading isn’t as simple as decoding text. Now that we are in the Digital Age, people are spending more time on their devices and less time with a decent book in their hands, which begs the question, does technology have a positive or negative affect on literacy? With that being said this essay will discuss two authors with interesting views on this subject. In “Dawn of the Digital Natives” by Stephen Johnson, he discusses that there could be an immense amount of potential to better literacy by using technology and that there has not been enough studies done to figure out the positive attributes technology has on literacy. Whereas, Carlo Rotella, author of “No Child left Untableted” admitted that integrating technology, such as tablets, could improve the quality of education. Which, would also improve literacy in students. However, Rotella was Skeptical about the integration of technology into a classroom setting.
Technology does in Fact Benefit Literacy
The act of reading is extremely important in regards to literacy, when you envision a person reading what do you see? If you envision a person immersed in a book than your thinking about an activity that has been on a decline or if you will, a downward spiral for quite some time. This may seem startling to some, and a key assumption that could be made is that literacy in adults is plummeting. However people have been reading more digital content now than ever before. This is primarily because digital content proves to be cheaper and more accessible via the internet. One great reason on how technology benefits literacy is how much content there is at your fingertips that’s just waiting to be read which has the potential to increase literacy in those who take advantage of it. One great example of how a computer, for instance could help is when Johnson confidently states, “The internet, happily, does not so far seem to be antagonistic to literacy. Researchers recently gave Michigan children and teenagers home computers in exchange for permission to monitor their internet use. The study found that grades and reading scores rose with the amount of time spent online." These findings clearly show that if you use the internet as a tool it can increase literacy and academic performance. Another great reason technology contributes to improved literary skills is technological literacy, which the U.S. Department of Education defined it as "having computer skills and the ability to use computers and other technology to improve learning, productivity, and performance." This is important because Literacy skills help people gain knowledge through reading so the use of technology helps by making people’s literacy skills more effective. This causes people to utilize the potential of new technology and be inspired to learn, such as when Carlo Rotella avows, “Educators have not taken full advantage of students’ enthusiasm for the gadgetry that constitutes “an important part of their experience.” This is