From education to employment

A Guide to Technology and Adult Learning by FE News Repo

Time and technology wait for no man. No sooner has one range of software or brand of mobile phone come out then another has replaced it; pocket calculators and Nintendo games console can now literally be seen in the Science Museum in London.

For those that deem themselves to be technologically inclined, keeping up with all the latest developments and trends is a full-time occupation, with a whole media infrastructure based around the exponentially growing world of gadgets. Time was, a telephone was a clunky object attached to your wall with a moveable range limited to the surface of your coffee table. Now, mobile phones can take photographs, record videos, access the internet, play games with you and even wake you up in the morning, modern Western life condensed to fit in your pocket.

Year Old Nostalgia

For those of us who like to cling onto our gadgets for more than a year or two, our now outdated instruments are almost prehistoric in comparison, too undesirably old to even be classed as “retro”; we look at our trusty Nokia 3310s with the same head-shaking disbelief that old people have when they see children a tenth of their age talking “hands-free” whilst getting Big Brother updates live on a screen smaller than the one on the microwave.

Speed and efficiency are of prime importance in communications, especially if you happen to be in the media. A website is more likely to give you that vital piece of information more swiftly than the archaic once-daily newspaper, or even that old friend television, whose addiction to banal programming and advertising has reduced this once proud technological triumph to the crazy old man sitting in the park talking to himself. Like an ageing fashion model, outdated media technology can only run its fingers over its wrinkles and age-lines and recall the good old days, trying hard to hide its bitterness for the young desirables that have taken its place.

Getting Inside the Box

In such a changing technological environment, it is easy for people to become swamped or simply left behind. With this in mind, the Nation Institute of Adul Continuing Education (NIACE) has launched “Getting Inside the Box” ““ a media literacy toolkit for adult learning providers, a guide for learners of all ages to get to grips with the 21st century brand of media, and to understand not only how it works but how to use it.

Getting Grannie onto the internet is usually a titanic task filled with devastating setbacks and unimaginable disasters, but this guide can help with subjects such as the internet and even television broadcasting. The guide encourages people to form discussion groups based around television programming, and maybe even visit their local stations for an inside look. The aim is to make people better “discriminating consumers of media”, part of an initiative by NIACE and OFCOM to improve media literacy.

Philip Graf, deputy chair of OFCOM, commented: “In the same way that those who cannot read limit their opportunities, so too those who cannot interact with new communications technology may be left behind. Media literacy will provide some of the tools people need to make full use of the opportunities available and to appreciate and enjoy what’s on offer. People will also want ways to manage the electronic content and services which come into their homes and be better able to protect themselves and their families from the risks involved”¦It is designed to offer real, practical examples and advice on how to promote media literacy.”

Daniel Wallis

Hunker down on the front line of FE with From the FE Trenches!

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