Life skills for the 21st century

When I start writing my column for the upcoming issue of WBVO, I do so in the cloud. No, it's not that my mind is in the clouds – although my wife may disagree, LOL – but my article starts as a blank Google "Doc" document that is saved in Google "Drive," my own secure storage space, again in the cloud (aka internet).

If I'm in my home office, I just sit in front of my desktop computer and work on it. If it's not too humid or frigging freezing outside, I take my Chromebook and type while lounging on our deck. If I'm teaching for the Center for Aging in the Digital World at Advent Church, I use my laptop between classes as my laptop is already up and running and is being used to mirror my devices' screens to the big screen for seniors to follow in the classes.

What that basically means is that when inspiration strikes for the next paragraph of the article, I just grab any device and continue writing. Heck, if inspiration strikes while I'm nowhere near my desktop, laptop, or Chromebook, I use my tablet and one-finger-type like a pro. On a couple occasions, I've even used my smartphone, but I have to admit my fat fingers are no match for the tiny virtual keyboard on the smartphone screen.

Frankly, though, I don't recall if I always wrote my WVBO articles in the cloud. I know this is the 185th article for "The Digital World" column but without the cloud, I wouldn't have the freedom to pick up any of my devices and continue writing where I left off. Without the work-in-process (WIP) document saved in the cloud, I'd need to shuffle/copy the document from one device to another if I switch devices.

Not to be nostalgic in a "geeky" manner, and I shouldn't because I write, teach, and present about this 21st century life skill, but I am still amazed how technology, and specifically the internet, has influenced how we go about our daily life. Sure, inventions and innovations in the 20th century affected our lifestyle too, take the fax machine or cell phone as examples, but not as much as what the internet did and continues to do.

During my MBA program at CSU more than a decade ago, I learned that Clayton Christensen coined the term "disruptive innovation" to explain how "new entrants in a market can disrupt established businesses."

Although some scholars in the ivory tower may consider the internet as a disruptive "technology," I borrow Christensen's phrase and add my own spin to label the internet as disruptive "innovation" instead. Why? Because, simply, it changed the way we get things accomplished daily in a big way!

If learning how to communicate, shop, bank, or write a check are part of traditional life skills, learning to video chat, shop online, pay bills online, or use contactless pay at the grocery store (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung pay) are part of "digital literacy," 21st century life skills that we need to embrace.

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with over 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation

Read More on The Digital World
Volume 14, Issue 16, Posted 9:51 AM, 08.16.2022