Passing the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessments is Within Reach!

So, you gave your student (let’s call him Dave) the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment for World Wide Web and he didn’t pass. You want to help Dave master these skills, but you’re not a confident computer user yourself. What should you do? Where can you find resources to teach and learn basic computer skills? Never fear, your resource curator is here!

This week I would like to highlight my top four resources for digital literacy instruction. (Yes, I know this column is supposed to call attention to one resource, but bear with me here. These resources all complement each other very well.)

#1: The St. Paul Public Library’s Northstar Guide: Designed by library staff for patrons working towards their Northstar assessments, this guide provides links to learning resources for every Northstar standard. That’s right – every single standard for each assessment has been matched to at least one learning resource. They have pulled the best of the web together here, including YouTube videos, handouts, tutorials, and more.

You might wonder why you need other resources if the SPPL Northstar Guide has it all. There are a number of situations when you will want to take your search a little farther afield.

  • What if you can’t access YouTube at your site? That will make many of their links unusable to you.
  • What if Dave didn’t fully understand a concept after working through the resources on the Guide?
  • What if both you and Dave are really concerned about Internet safety and want to learn more about it?

It’s times like these when you need to look for additional resources. Here are three places to look.

#2: BBC Webwise: If British accents aren’t a deterrent, this is a great website for beginning computer users. With videos, articles, and tutorials on topics like “What can I safely download?” “What is an app?” and “How to apply for jobs online,” you and your learners are certain to find something useful here.

#3: Digital Learn: Digital Learn is the best place for novice computer users with the most limited skills. It’s simple, easy to navigate, and has great tutorials for the most basic skills, like “Getting Started with Computers” and “Using a PC.”

#4: GCF Learn Free: Like the BBC Webwise site, GCF Learn Free is a rich resource for adult learners with in-depth lessons on a wide variety of topics. They address many popular services and devices such as Google Docs, iPhones, Mac OS, FaceBook, and Skype (just to list a few), making GCF Learn Free the go-to website if you want to learn about a specific software program or device.

Do you have a favorite digital literacy resource you would like to share? I’d love to hear about it! Send suggestions by email to Susan Wetenkamp-Brandt at [email protected].

Susan Wetenkamp-Brandt Minnesota Literacy Council