Digital Literacy Resources
September 21, 2020 8:03 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for digital literacy tools, programs & resources that can be easily accessed and utilized by adults with very limited digital literacy skills

I work with a program that provides support to low-income adults (ages 24-75+) who are returning to college. Many of the students in our program have limited digital access and digital literacy skills. The transition from in-person to online learning last semester was incredibly challenging for them and continues to be a major problem this semester. Many of them are struggling to login and use new online learning platforms, and their instructors, who have their own issues with digital literacy, can provide little to no assistance. Other students have issues with fundamental programs, such as Zoom, basic MS Office usage, tutoring platforms, etc.

Our students are frustrated, overwhelmed and in great need of assistance, but we're not sure where to start. '

Prior to the pandemic, our team had planned to partner with our local library to host in-person 'digital literacy boot camps' to provide direct support to these students, but this is obviously no longer an option. We've considered hosting virtual versions of these bootcamps but I'm not sure what the best format would be (group sessions vs. one-on-one assistance; pre-recorded tutorials vs. live assistance).

Also, our team is very small (1 PT, 2 FT + me), and we have over 500 adults in college this semester, so I'm looking for resources and strategies that are effective and efficient.
posted by chara to Technology (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite looks promising.

The Chelmsford Public Library also has a Tech Skills Academy that may have a few things that are the right level.

GCFGlobal has a computing section that may help.

If you need materials in languages that aren't English, Microsoft may be able to help.

I'm sorry you're in this situation; it's rough. Many public libraries handle this with one-on-one or small-group training sessions, which obviously won't work for your use case. However... does your school have IT degrees/certificates/courses? If you threw yourself on the mercy of whoever teaches and/or takes those, each-one-teach-one style, could that help?
posted by humbug at 9:31 AM on September 21

I'm not completely sure this will help you, but I figure it can't hurt to suggest...during the pandemic Square One Small Business Services did a whole bunch of virtual classes, and in my opinion did an amazing job. I took one on Canva, one on social media, and maybe one other. They're affiliated with the Midcontinent Public Library system in Missouri - maybe take a look at their Facebook page and/or get in touch with them to see if they have any suggestions or solutions.

Good luck.
posted by lyssabee at 10:08 AM on September 21

humbug has most of the resources I would suggest. "digital literacy" is a kind of broad brush here and it might be worth breaking down what the things are, skills-based, that they need help with. Some things I've seen people do that is helpful.

- Help people set up a password list so that they can have it handy to log in to all the sites they need to use, explain what a web address is, how to type it in, how to troubleshoot basic issues. I know Password Managers are often suggested but I don't find them helpful for struggling novices.
- Zoom Practice. Set up a Zoom room and have people come in, come out, enter a password, change the 'view" raise their hand, type in the Q&A, enter text in the box, turn their video and audio on and off, (advanced: pick good lighting, backgrounds, etc). This could also be extended to other publicly available tools that they might use.
- I don't know if anyone is using Google Docs, but they are a sort of different animal than MS Office and can be super challenging. GCFGlobal has some good Office Tutorials but sometimes Google Docs practice (make a document, name a document, file/organize a document) can be really helpful.
- Similar if they are using email that is similar, some basic email boot camps which can explain formatting, reply vs reply-all, attaching documents and reading/viewing/downloading attachments. This is a thing that staff can practice with people asynchronously.

The most useful thing I've been doing during all this with my digital literacy students is making handouts, big pictures, circles and arrows "Click here" sorts of things, so that they can step through just getting IN to the thing that they then have to lean on. It's really challenging, let me know if I can help more specifically.
posted by jessamyn at 10:46 AM on September 21 [1 favorite]

Here's a full list of GCF tutorials - these saved my bacon when I used to teach beginning computer classes. I used them as the starting point for most of my instructional handouts.

If they need typing and mouse practice, Peter's Online Typing Course is unique in its lack of annoying/intrusive ads, and Mousercise is an old-school mouse tutorial. (If students are native smartphone users, they may not be super comfortable with the mouse or keyboard.)

Mozilla has a series of Web Literacy modules that may be helpful for teaching more sophisticated digital literacy concepts.

In terms of scaling this to 500+ learners, I think sharing (or if necessary, creating your own) short instructional videos would be really helpful, as would the step-by-step handouts that Jessamyn describes. Short is key - I'm thinking targeted 3-minute videos.

That said, live, one-on-one Q&A sessions are going to be really valuable if you and your local library can pull it off. Group classes or longer prerecorded classes sound really challenging to execute remotely, though I suppose a group format would allow people to listen to each other's questions, and perhaps do some peer education. But at the end of the day, people really rely on individualized help to learn this stuff.
posted by toastedcheese at 1:15 PM on September 21 [2 favorites]

Look into Northstar Digital Literacy . It defines the basic skills needed to use a computer and the internet in daily life, employment, and higher education. It offers digital literacy assessment and then ways to build skills. There are testing locations across the country (shout out to St Paul Public Library for initiating the project!) where one can take classes and a there is a Basic Computer Skills online course. Both badges & certificates can be awarded for completion.

Another resource your public or academic libraries or library consortia may have is LearningExpress Library from EBSCO. It has a huge selection of resources for all levels--skill building for K-12, GED prep, test prep (ACT, etc), career prep, adult core skills (math, reading, writing, citizenship), college student skills improvement, and more.

Both of these can be self-directed/self-paced. If you can find modules that work for students, you can 'assign' those for completion & focus your staff on one-on-one or small group consultations before/after taking any of the modules--although 500 students is a lot. But creating your own lessons/tutorials is also a lot of work, as you know, so spending your efforts personalized help would be more valuable, in my opinion.
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 11:39 AM on September 22

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