Did you ever wonder what the tech is happening in the world? The thought crosses my mind often, but that may be a hazard of the trade. Technology is piling up faster, but what actually matters to us and our communities? How can technology be used as a tool to help people?
Why Would People Want to Learn?
The best place to start is to look at your community demographics. Are there more high school students, or older adults? Are adults trying to build skills for a changing future? Which technology do people already use? Is technology being used effectively?
When you have a better idea of who your library is serving, dig deeper into why technology is necessary. Here are some possibilities:
- Do people want to build professional development skills?
- Which professions are most common in the area?
- Do parents want to learn how to help their kids?
- Do people want to use digital tools for work?
- Is your community using tech tools to improve public services?
We have reached a point where technology has extended to the full power of the internet. We use our devices to communicate, shop online, manage finances, learn new skills, create new content, share ideas, and more. Not everyone needs access to every corner of the World Wide Web. But the people who know what’s possible will thrive in a digital world.
So What is Possible?
Too much is possible. Trying to gather everything under the sun is an exercise in futility. The internet can do a paralyzing number of things.
Start by narrowing focus on one demographic and technology need at a time. Consider these examples:
Demographic 1: Parents helping kids use smartphones responsibly
Possibilities: Look at screen time balance, device safety and security, online predators, and learning how to learn online.
How Libraries Can Help: Gather digital literacy resources, including articles, infographics, and posters. Set up parent discussion groups with informational handouts. Possibly work with the local school to help parents keep up with changing technology.
Demographic 2: Adults who have been in the workforce, but want to learn new technology to keep current.
Possibilities: As technology grows more complex, people who did not have access growing up, or were not previously interested may wish to be exposed to new technology. Jobs may require new exposure as well.
How Libraries Can Help: Connect adults with resources to learn about emerging technology trends. Deloitte and Gartner’s Trends are good places to start. When people know what exists, they can decide for themselves if it is relevant to their current needs. Potentially, try a makerspace for interested patrons.
So What Does this Mean?
If you were looking for a one-size-fits all solution, I can’t give you one. It doesn’t exist. Technology is going to keep on changing, and we will all have to adapt as it happens. Apps and devices will change, but the underlying concepts will remain the same.
What are these concepts? Privacy and security concerns, communication skills, creative application of ideas, flexible learning and unlearning, online finance skills, cooperative learning, and staying healthy and well in a digital world. Those skills will extend outward to every bit of technology.