A quick word on literacy and the digital divide

I am on vacation with my friend Brian who works in the advertising world.  We were talking about technology and education and he said that even in this bleak economic time his industry continues to grow and hire.  And that ABSOLUTELY no one without tech skills and knowledge was being hired.

Nearly all students leave high school with at least a working knowledge of the Office suite, and the ability to type and read email – and that skill was certainly testable in an interview.  What was less obvious, he noted, was technical fluency in a digital world.  The example he gave was his office assistant who received an email meeting request from “Bill,” and wanted to know if he was available.  When Brian asked the assistant what company Bill worked for, she couldn’t tell him.  After a few back and forth exchanges, he ended up walking to her desk and looking at the email himself.  The email was from Bill@(largecompanyweoftenworkwith).com.  If she had known that email addresses often contain a clue as to the origin of the email, confusion would have been averted.

That story left me wondering what the unspoken codes of power are in a digital world.  Aside from lack of access to the tools of technology, what subtle language and culture might a child from a poor or low-tech family be missing?

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About Katy Foster

I am an Assistant Principal in Larkspur, CA. I blog to publicly reflect on my own learning in leadership.
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