My first day out and digital literacy
FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - September 6, 2020 - 12:00am

This is by no means a recommendation to flout the rules stay home, wear masks, observe social distancing. But yesterday I had the opportunity to spend the day out on the invitation of my sister to have dinner with two of her friends.

After staying home since lockdown, even the streets lined with trees in our village were a welcome sight. My driver and companion told me – Ma’am a face mask is not enough. We are also required to wear a face shield before we can pass the guards. Even with each of us wearing face mask and shield was not enough; there was also a plastic barrier between the driver and us, his passengers.

I had not had a blow dry at a parlor for months so I decided to go to one nearby. It was really closed but my sister said I could call the beautician who would attend to me exclusively. I would be the only client in the parlor. Huh? It was fine for me but I am sure the beauty salon was losing money. I was wary about the closeness of shampooing and blow-drying between the beautician and myself. I had to take out my face shield but kept on my face mask. The beautician kept both her face shield and mask to begin the blow dry I came for.

The same for the manicure and pedicure. It was done as before but she kept her face shield and mask on. She was complaining how difficult her and her family’s life become. They could only accept this solo client arrangement three times a week. They used to have three other staff members but they had to be dismissed with the lockdown. I asked her where she lived to open the salon. She said she lived in the Laguna Bay area and since there was no transport it would take an hour to walk. So could I wait?

Frankly what should have been a simple errand had become complicated with so little to earn. She said the biggest expense of their family budget went to paying house rent.

From the parlor I was back in the street and loved the empty streets – no traffic, no crowds. My first day out was a welcome experience.

At the dinner we were only four around the table which use to seat 14 guests. The food was simple – a soup, a chicken dish and pieces of vegetables. No more of those sumptuous food that Filipinos prepare when they invite guests for dinner in their homes.

Conversation around the four of us was about our favorite Korean telenovelas since these are how we spend our time at home these days. Each had a favorite actor and I pushed for Lee Sang Joon, the handsome main actor of Seoyong, My Daughter.

I never thought I would one day be a fan of Korean telenovelas and have a crush on Korean actor Lee Sang Joon. But watching Korean telenovelas has become a relaxing way to spend the days of lockdown. I have been to South Korea in my early days as a journalist but I did not get the point of how North and South were divided. With the Korean telenovelas, the stories they tell of ordinary lives are enchanting. These are more effective than news releases about politics and what US leader thinks of them. It is not Hollywood for me anymore.

I understand Korean telenovelas have thousands of Filipino fans. As a follower I can say that there are similarities between Filipinos and Koreans, especially the closeness of families. The romance stories are subdued, usually with kissing of lovers only in the final scene.

That was my first day out of the lockdown when every day walking means between my bedroom and the kitchen. It seemed a new life altogether.

MISCELLANY: But there is a more serious side to what is happening because of COVID-19. There will be changes and one that I fear is the digital life that will be pervasive which I have to learn and get used to. People are buying and selling online.

So too with banking. Being an oldie, I prefer printed statements and face-to-face meetings with my personal banker. I can’t deal with impersonal machines. But I have to be digitally literate and there will be no excuses.

The American Library Association’s digital-literacy task force offers this definition: “Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” Nov 8, 2016. Yikes.

“With this ALA digital literacy definition as a guiding light, it’s important to understand that even digital natives who know how to send a text and post to social media are not considered “digitally literate” by any means.

Digital literacy in education encompasses so much more. For example, students must have specific skills when reading online text that may contain embedded resources such as hyperlinks, audio clips, graphs or charts that require students to make choices.

Students today are also being asked to create, collaborate and share digital content and to do so responsibly. For these reasons, principals, school librarians and teachers understand the importance of digital literacy skills for students and teaching digital literacy in the classroom.”

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