What exactly is digital literacy, anyway?

Doris and I have been blogging about the new economy of contingent workers the past few weeks, and the skills, behaviors, knowledge and abilities needed in order to navigate the new terrain. Since we are steeped in the ideas, theory, and language of working online, we are finding that our definitions of terms may be different than what others use and know.

We had the opportunity last week to present at the Maine Adult Education Association conference, and aside from the pleasure of meeting old friends (for me) and making new MAEA logoones (for both Doris and I), we also had an opportunity to spend Monday to Friday together f2f. A rare treat for us! The topic of one of our learning opportunities was Digital Literacy. We prepared a poster that stressed the changing workplace, what we consider digital literacy skills, and how necessary they are in today’s and tomorrow’s world. If you read our blog you have heard this several times before.

As we talked with both vendors and participants throughout the conference, Doris and I realized that many attendees thought that digital literacy was simply computer literacy, and our definition of digital literacy was not at all what others were using, understanding, or envisioning.  Read more

Learning from Our Parents, Millennials, and ECO

Lisa’s Memorial Day post on her father’s self-effacing leadership and that of General Eisenhower, later to become President Eisenhower, moved and informed me. Father’s Day is Sunday. As this annual honoring of fathers approaches, I’m reminded of how my Dad helped shaped me and my learning values.

My Dad was naturally curious throughout his life. Even yard sales where he would buy well-worn medical and nursing texts for fifty cents each became a source of knowledge. In his later years, he would have a stack of open textbooks next to his favorite TV-viewing recliner. He would play diagnostician and ask me questions about the results from my last blood panel. Because I was healthy, I seldom retained my normal-range numbers. But he would ask for printouts of his results and study them to identify trends. My father was an electrician yet was always learning something new about vascular, digestive, and cardio-systems.

After my Dad died in 2014, his geriatrician told me that my father had developed good insight into the human body’s functions.  She said one of his gifts to her that she passes onto her medical students in geriatric rotations is taking the time to really listen to and learn from patients about their physical and emotional health.

While I might overlook normal test results for myself, I try to be open to learning in other contexts. Work projects, blog posts, novels, Google searches, and opposing opinions are all opportunities to learn. Read more

The New Economy of Contingent Workers: Will it Work for You?

Last week Doris wrote about the Hollywood Project Model of work and how the economy is changing from workers who are “permanently” employed to those who are brought in to add experience, expertise, and intellectual power to specific projects. A new genre of “temporary” employment agencies for C suite types are popping up everywhere. These agencies point to the advantages of project-based work, and there are many, but of course they are vested in this new system.

Doris and I have been independent contractors for a long time now. There are many advantages to this: flexible schedule, work at home, no commute, interesting and varied work. There are also disadvantages, of course: no base salary, health care plans, matched retirement accounts. Our reputations are the work we have done with clients, and their recommendations about our work. No formal performance reviews, ladders to climb up the organizational structure, or title and salary steps. Read more

Hollywood Project Model: New Work Norm?

We like projects at the Women’s Learning Studio.

We have written in this blog before about their learning value for us to acquire new skills and opportunity to do important work and make a positive difference in people’s quality of life. But we could never have predicted the huge adoption of the short-term, project model of work for employers to recruit, hire, pay, and release highly skilled workers on the scale that is happening now. Project work is clearly in vogue and growing in popularity among companies of all sizes. We just learned about the Hollywood Project Model; are you familiar with it? Read more