Future of work startups, fintech and blockchain are taking up a lot of my conversations these days. That’s on top of regular consulting and working on projects in augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. I don’t code. I don’t invent. I don’t project manage the making of software or technology products. But I am tech literate.
Interestingly definitions of what that means vary. There are many like this, IGI Global says it’s “the ability to effectively use technology to access, evaluate, integrate, create and communicate information to enhance the learning process through problem-solving and critical thinking”. I would suggest there are broader, applicable definitions today since nearly all of us are surrounded by technology in everything we do from driving a car to researching a term paper.
After a discussion recently, a friend sent this take by Joyce Shen in an article she wrote, “Let’s talk about tech literacy.” Fantastic. In sharing videos from a Lehigh University challenge held at Carnegie Mellon University, she noted this about the students:
“The students did not just talk about the technology or coding, they talked about problems and impact — -specifically, the value to have real time streaming data capturing energy consumption from buildings and the value of having blockchain to secure and process certain information. The students explained concepts clearly for techies and non-techies alike, in an applied way. That is tech literacy”.
It’s a new day. We all need to understand basics about operating systems, coding languages, how it’s made, who makes it, how it’s used and so on. It’s critical as we become more dependent on technology that larger percentages of the population understand what’s happening to us and for us.