In a world where Information multiplies and grows at (almost) the speed of light, it is very important for the Young minds of the nation to be able to hunt out valid as well as appropriate information on the web and put information so found to proper use.
And this, is exactly what we mean when we talk about “Web Literacy”.
Wikipedia defines web literacy as “The skills and competencies needed for reading, writing and participating on the web.” In other words, one might say that web literacy includes passing down the essential skills required to use the internet meaningfully and put it to one’s own good use.
In the 21st century, web literacy has acquired a status almost equal to reading and writing since a student who is able to interact with other students on the web develops a different kind of an insight to their understanding and knowledge. Hence, it is needless to say that Web Literacy is of utmost significance in today’s world.
Why should a student be able to use the internet? Why is it important? What are the benefits of inculcating such a form of literacy? Listed below are some of the reasons why :
- When students are web literate, their sources of information expand and this in turn makes education dynamic. Along with a prescribed text book, students now have access to a wide range of information which in turn facilitates their learning process.
- Students can now connect and collaborate with each other and contribute to information on the web.
- Helps in increasing employability since a person who knows how to interact and engage meaningfully on the web is more in demand when it comes to the employment market.
- Web literacy is integral to promoting social awareness and keeping a student up to date with the latest occurrences in today’s global society.
- Leads to better problem solving among students who can discuss any issue on an online platform as well as have access to multiple ways of solving them and expert suggestions.
Most students today have access to the internet. A computer is an essential in most homes. Schools too lay great emphasis on teaching computers as a subject and has made it compulsory for everyone to learn it upto a certain level where students acquire basic skills for effectively using a computer and handling the internet.
But what about the ones who are not so lucky?
“HelloWeb” – an initiative by Mozilla Clubs, aims at promoting web literacy among those very young minds of the nation who might not be as lucky as the others. This involves visiting orphanages and introducing teenagers over there to some of the basics of using a computer as well as the web productively. This includes teaching them about input and output devices, using the basics of a Microsoft office (word, paint, and so on), the internet as a whole and why it is of special use as well as some basics of using the internet like creating a mail account, searching for and retrieving relevant information, watching videos as well as downloading from and uploading content to the internet and why it is essential.
Arkodyuti Saha (the mastermind behind the HelloWeb initiative) briefing about the Internet at the ‘Girl 2B Foundation’.
What was most rewarding was the enthusiasm among the young boys and girls who asked and answered questions diligently as well as interacted eagerly with the volunteers from both- Mozilla Clubs and Kolkata Bloggers (proud sponsors and supporters of the HelloWeb initiative). When asked whether they liked the sessions, they responded with a unanimous as well as a loud “Yes!”.
A one hour session, one group photograph and a selfie later, the volunteers came out, satisfied at having taken one step closer towards promoting Web Literacy by Inspiring Young Minds and Enriching their Lives.
The HelloWeb team with the girls from the ‘Girl 2B Foundation’.