Technical Skills Assessment
The technical element in digital literacy consists of foundational, physical skills, which are necessary for the acquisition of digital literacy.
A digitally literate individual should understand the physical navigation and operation of digital tools, structures, and conventions and be able to navigate (i.e., scrolling, swiping, following links, using multiple windows) on digital devices. This element also involves users' ability to transfer skills to a variety of digital tools (i.e., mobile, smartphone, computer, tablet, etc.).
- Powering on/off devices
- Accessing tools/applications on devices
- Mouse or touchpad functionality
- Basic troubleshooting
- Internet searching
- Internet browser navigation
- Username and password basics
- Downloading and installing software or apps
Consider these questions:
- Do I know how to operate the technology device?
- Am I confident working with new applications, tools and software?
- Am I able to move from one task to another with ease?
Connectivity (connection) is the ability to link to and communicate with other computer systems, electronic devices, software, or the Internet.
Connection options include:
- Smartphone Data Plan WiFi
- Mobile Hotspot from a local Telecom provider (examples are: MTN, Airtel, Africell, Vodacom, tiGO etc.)
- A local area network is a computer network that interconnects computers within a limited area such as a residence, school, laboratory, university campus or office building.
The minimum requirement for participation in the Sisters’ Blended Value Project are:
- A computer (desktop or laptop)
- Must have Microsoft Office installed
- Must play videos either from download or from the internet
- Must have sound
- Must be “clean” (see computer maintenance)
- Should have virus protection
- Must be able to download and install software (example: Zoom)
- Minimum specifications:
- Connection to the Internet
Computers that are not “clean” of excess files or images or that have not had updates installed may run slow or be very sluggish, giving the user the impression their computer is “old”, “broken” or a “bad” computer. A clean computer is a healthy computer.
Operating System and Software Updates
Installing operating system updates and keeping all your programs updated are important PC maintenance tasks that improve your computer's security and stability. Windows systems have the option to automatically download and install operating system updates, but you can manually check for updates at any time. Web browsers, productivity software, media players and other applications also need regular updates to fix bugs, improve performance and add new features. These programs might download updates automatically and prompt you to install them, or you may need to check the software's help menu or website to determine if an update is available.
Your computer also benefits from having antivirus software, such as Windows Defender that can perform real-time scans on files you download and open. This PC maintenance task helps protect you from malicious files that can slow your computer, destroy important system files or lead to theft of passwords and other personal information. When your antivirus program detects a threat, it will alert you to delete the file or move it to a self-contained location where it can't cause harm to your computer. For the strongest protection, set your antivirus software to download automatic updates to protect you from the latest viruses.
Hard Drive Maintenance
As you use your computer, temporary internet files, downloaded files and retained files lead to build up and leave you with less hard-drive space. Running utilities such as the built-in Disk Cleanup for Windows and third-party programs like CCleaner can locate and clear these files for you. Since visiting many websites collects files that can make your web browser sluggish, it also helps to check your browser's preferences or settings to find its option to clear the retained files (cache) or temporary internet files.
In computing, the “trash” (also known as the Recycle Bin in Microsoft Windows and by other names in other operating systems) is temporary storage for files that have been deleted in a file manager by the user, but not yet permanently erased from the file system. Typically, a recycle bin is presented as a special file directory to the user (whether or not it is actually a single directory depends on the implementation), allowing the user to browse deleted (removed) files, undelete those that were deleted by mistake, or delete them permanently (either one by one, or via an 'empty trash' command).
It is important to empty the computer “trash” just like it is to empty the trash bin at your home. At home, if it is too full, it overflows; on a computer if it is too full, the computer slows down and is not as productive as it could be.