Monday, January 21, 2013

Digital Literacy is a Civil Right

21st Century citizenship. This is the topic of the new era in adult education.  It's also pressing on my mind as I write this, today being Martin Luther King's birthday.  Where to start? This is huge.  Let's go back in time a bit before we look at integrating technology, not just into instruction, but into our learners' daily lives.

Adult education has always been a civil rights issue.  Literacy instruction in America's most dis-empowered populations (slaves, indentured servants, women and immigrants) gave rise to gainful employment and civic participation. Workers rights initiatives helped establish the industrial unions that built the middle class, made American manufacturing a driver of the global economy and gave us basic standards like the weekend and the eight hour work-day.

A New Frontier of Basic Skills  
Don't get complacent as you reflect on the accomplishments of adult education's legacy.  On balance, there is arguably more unfinished business and progress lost at this point.  Now, we need to add more literacies to the mix, namely digital literacy.  Oh goody, more work to be done.  Job security for adult educators (aka: an overwhelming underfunded mandate with insurmountable odds).