the poor and tech training and gaming

The Library Link of the Day today is an article in the Chicago Tribune called Training for the Poor Moves into the Computer Age. It’s an odd combination of two points

1. The digital divide is becoming more and more about technology literacy and not about technology access.
2. Gaming on computers is an important part of attaining that technology literacy.

I don’t know much about point #2. I like games generally but I am not a gamer (save online Scrabble which I suspect may not count). With a few exceptions most of the people I hang out with aren’t gamers so I’ve rarely been in a cultural area that is gaming-immersive. I’m curious, but it’s one of those things that falls outside the “things I have time for” circle. Jenny Levine has some good points in the article and I think the fact that ALA is mentioned in the same article as poor people needing technological literacy for finding better jobs and escaping the cycle of poverty is great PR for libraries.

That said, the article is confusing to me somewhat. It seems to be taking two disparate ideas and mashing them together as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I get the points that gaming and teaching technology through gaming is a great way to help kids with critical thinking skills and problem solving. However I strongly do not think that the best way to help older people — perhaps my age and up — learn technology has anything to do with gaming at all. So, the people who are in dead-end jobs and need to gain some level of tech proficiency to move to better jobs, they’re not the gaming demographic. I think, however, that as more younger people engage with technology they will bring gaming with them as they become people in my age bracket and that’s going to be an interesting shift. So, kudos for even talking about poverty and technology literacy, and nice job with xplaining why gaming is important, but I still wish this had been two separate (longer) articles instead of this one.

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