TestOut Launches New Course and Certification to Teach IT Essentials
There are dueling — and somewhat overlapping — definitions of digital literacy in the information technology (IT) realm. The more traditional take is that digital literacy describes an individual's ability to find, evaluate, and communicate information via typing and other input media on various digital platforms. (Finding and evaluating information on digital platforms? Much trickier than it used to be.)
The newer, emerging definition describes an individual's ability to use and understand the most common hardware and software tools: computers, printers, word processing programs, and so forth. (The overlap is in skills development. For example, you'll need to develop your ability to input information, most likely by typing, either way.)
The second definition is most likely the one best embodied by Digital Literacy Pro, a new product being launched this week by IT courseware and certification provider TestOut. The core audience is anyone who needs to develop basic fluency with IT tools, programs, and platforms. That includes everyone from middle school students to senior citizens.
It's worth pointing out, incidentally, that the market is getting younger all the time: Lots of school districts in the United States, for example, will be passing out Chromebooks to elementary school students starting as early as this week.
The list of IT topics covered by Digital Literacy Pro is impressive and includes, but is not limited to, the following: keyboarding, hardware, operating systems and file systems, intro to applications, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, common applications, online and cloud collaboration, the basics of internet and social media, mobile technology, and programming fundamentals. There's even some exploration of common IT career paths.
TestOut has a longstanding reputation in IT education circles for its robust simulation technology. Most lessons include simulations of common IT tasks that walk learners through everything from networking a printer to navigating common operating systems. This has the notable advantage of letting students learn by doing while not putting expensive hardware and software at risk.
It also means that TestOut courses, including Digital Literacy Pro, are available online, providing the anywhere, anywhen — that internet connectivity is available — study convenience that students and educators have increasingly come to expect. TestOut courses are also unique in that the cost of certification, and the certification exam, are included in the purchase price. First they teach skills, then you get the cert.
However you define it, digital literacy is increasingly important across the employment spectrum, and increasingly essential to navigating daily life outside the workplace. In the United States, the National Center for Education Statistics reported in 2018 that 74 percent of U.S. adults use a computer for work, while 81 percent of U.S. adults use a computer in everyday life.
If those statistics sound intimidating, then Digital Literacy Pro could be the "prepared to encounter life" solution that parents, children, and workers are looking for.