I’m attending the SLANZA conference today, and multitasking my way through it, mainly to disprove something I’ve heard from too many women colleagues to name.
During the first keynote, Judy O’Connell introduced her concept of a “digital toolkit”, and suggested in a years time if we didn’t have at least five digital tools we could call on unconsciously we wouldn’t be able to do our jobs.
In the following break, a colleague reported speaking to some others who were deeply concerned by this statement. Her impression was that they were overwhelmed by the challenge of digital, and that they weren’t “given access” in the first place.
The truth is, being digital isn’t a challenge. Sure, some systems are enormously complex to fully understand, but getting started is in this day and age literally a barrier a child can overcome.
One of the roles I seem to have fallen into over my career is the speaking to the nondigital people with the message, “it’s ok”. I understand the wish to alarm people into embracing this fantastic new world that is evolving around us, but fear is only useful in convincing farmyard animals that the sky is falling.
I was recently in a meeting talking one of the groups of AnyQuestions operators working in Auckland Cities. One of the group – a competent operator, and a very able Children’s Librarian – said that she felt like a “possum in the headlights” when online.
My response? That she wasn’t a possum, and that was just a feeling.
The session I’m now in, I’m hearing school librarians talk about being in a situation truly worthy of fear – the earthquakes. The group reported needing rescue remedy to deliver the talk, but each describes themselves as “one of the lucky ones.”
And that’s what I think about the digital age. Yes, there are some drastic changes underway. All the same, we’re lucky to be living now.