Literacy in a Digital World
By Harry Wilson
November 16, 2017
What would it be like if you were dependent upon others to help you complete an online job application or view your child’s online school calendar? The internet is a great tool, and our phones hold many capabilities, but they raise new challenges for those who cannot read or understand the prompts and instructions. Literacy in the digital world was the theme for International Literacy Day 2017, and it highlighted the increased importance of having literacy skills in order to navigate digital technology.
“At record speed, digital technologies are fundamentally changing the way people live, work, learn and socialize everywhere. They are giving new possibilities to people to improve all areas of their lives including access to information; knowledge management; networking; social services; industrial production, and mode of work. However, those who lack access to digital technologies and the knowledge, skills and competencies required to navigate them, can end up marginalized in increasingly digitally driven societies. Literacy is one such essential skill. Just as knowledge, skills and competencies evolve in the digital world, so does what it means to be literate.” (International Literacy Day 2017 Web site)
Presently, there are approximately 750 million adults and 264 million out-of-school children who lack basic literacy skills. Our neighbors who do not have the literacy skills to access the ever-increasing world of technology face additional limitations. HOPE Literacy seeks to close the English literacy skills gap for our friends and neighbors and give them the tools to obtain their goals. We also have the privilege to present the One who is the author of all knowledge and wisdom, Jesus Christ.
In the Beginning
Welcome to our first HOPE Literacy Blog. This is the beginning of our weekly HOPE update and I’m inspired on this day to think “Creatively”! Have you ever thought about the difference it makes in life to believe in and to know the Creator of the universe? Those who believe that Genesis 1 is true are filled with awe at the limitless possibilities of an infinite being. The God who did indeed speak all of creation into existence by the Word of his power, is himself an inexhaustible resource to draw upon.
Consider the life-transforming and overcoming power this Gospel truth can provide for a refugee who is beginning a new life here in the US. It means that they are not alone. The One who made all things is available to call upon in the time of need. The omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent One can be known and his love poured into their lives. This produces a true and ever-lasting hope in the face of all difficult circumstances.
How amazing it is that we have the great privilege and opportunity to share Christ with our new neighbors? We get to introduce them to our and their Creator. Practically speaking, we get to help them begin new lives in our community by teaching the language needed to communicate and thus empower them to excel in life. “He spoke and it was done” (Psalm 33:9) inspires us to teach refugees the English language so that they can speak, comprehend and get things done that need to be done: like registering their child at school, telling the doctor their symptoms, filling out a job application, or calling the police for an emergency.
Everyone has problems and needs. Those who do not know that we can have a personal relationship with God in Christ, are limited to what human and natural forces can provide. Those who believe that we are created in the image of an all-powerful Creator can look to him and ask him to show them new and creative ways to address problems, overcome shortages and weaknesses. Our great hope, Jesus said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27