Digital Literacy: Keeping Us Sane in Insane Times

So here we are – a time that I have never seen or even thought would be possible in my lifetime. I have been in my home, leaving only to get groceries for myself, my mother, and my grandfather, for the last five days. I have cleaned every single room in my house (I am too scared to start the garage) and all I want to do is to go out with my friends and have a nice cold beer. But I can’t…

As someone who has always been a control freak, I am not sure if I have ever felt such a lack of control in my entire life. The pandemic has really made me take a step back and allow the world to just tell me what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. The first week was super stressful and frustrating; but now, I am starting to appreciate the chill out. This is completely unprecedented – so why am I trying to control things as if I knew any sort of possible outcome?

And, in all honesty, I think this is one of those situations where I am seeing so much lemonade being made out of the lemons that we are being given. The speed in which this disease spread and escalated was crazy. As a country, we have shut down and that can potentially lead to some negative aspects. However, one thing that I learned through this situation is how much my own digital literacy has kept me sane through it all.

The rollout…

I am an extrovert. Plain and simple, I am someone who not only loves to be around others, but I crave it as well. Full disclosure: I also used to be the type of person who thought that creating a Google Hangouts room to “hangout” was dumb. Why would we set up a Twitch stream to play Jackbox games when we can just go over to somebody’s house? (As an additional benefit, I learn more about the media I use: I have recently found out that Mixer is actually a better stream than Twitch – less latency.) I have never connected more with people – friends, family, former coworkers – than I have in the last week. All of this is possible because of my own digital literacy. I have even been teaching my friends how easy some of these things are. And I will be the first to admit that I would be going INSANE if these were not options for me.

Here’s the point: This virus has been a horrifying thing to happen to us, but it has also shown us a lot about our own society. Things we do well. Things we don’t. Things we NEED to do better. And while I will not comment on what I think about the Sask Government’s approach to education through this pandemic, I will say that our society is very much equipped to do a lot in a time like this. I see it in our options, but I also see this in the way that so many people are willing to help out any way that they can (just check out any social media platform). Our digital world has given people a huge amount of freedom during a time like this that didn’t exist even fifteen years ago. One of the best parts is that people who were originally closed off from learning these things are more open to learning them now.

Source – I love this image. Are we going to go back to the way we were, or learn for the future?

So moving forward, we can go back to the way we were, or we can learn from this situation. Even though I would say that I was relatively digitally literate before, my appreciation has grown; I have learned new things and have been way more open to trying more. I also look at this situation as a prime example for those who didn’t want to learn about digital media. How much better was your time spent in quarantine after learning some of these tools? The English teacher in me wants this blog to serve as a symbol for all the things that our society should be able to learn from an event like this. But I guess we can just end it at our digital mindsets…

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