Learning to Use the Internet in Academic Work
Field-related literature has an immense amount of literacy definitions; and one has to be careful when choosing a particular one. A British writer and presenter Sue Palmer can be considered an authority in the question of literacy as it is her primary field of study.
In one of her books Literacy: what works? The writer defines literacy as the potential to communicate and draw meaning from and through the use of various socially related symbols (Palmer 47). It is quite evident that literacy does not just involve understanding of how to write, it is about enhancing ones communication skills and knowledge. One requires gaining literacy so as to fit in the society and community both economically and socially. It is imperative to note that literacy helps one to understand how he/she can actually handle different issues in life. Therefore, for the purposes of the present paper a more narrow definition will be used. For this specific narrative, literacy is the ability to use internet resources effectively as means to enhance human potential in conducting research.
My most memorable literacy experience was during the time when I learnt to use the internet for my academic research. This was during my high school years where most academic research is enhanced through the internet. As a major source of educational information, every student in most higher learning institutions must have the skills and abilities to use internet sources for their academic work. However, I held no experience as far as the internet was concerned during this time. Additionally, I had no knowledge that it is possible to use the internet to do academic research instead of using piles and piles of books from the library. This particular day I was required to submit my English assignment. It is worth noting that I had few hours to do the work. I imagined how many books I had to go through in order to complete this assignment within the required time frame.
While in the library, I could see students using computers in a secluded section but I thought that they were taking computer lessons. With a considerable tension that I had, I asked one of my neighbors in the library where the English literature section was. She kindly showed me where it was and I rushed and came with a pile of books. She was shocked and she asked me what the need was for all the books. I told her what my assignment required and she was astounded and wondered how I could manage to read through all those books and be in a position to finish the assignment in time. She sympathized with me and she advised me to try the internet for quick access to books and articles.
With no knowledge about internet and my desperation, I decided to give it a try but to my dismay, I was frustrated to the extent that I wished I had stuck with what I knew. With a computer in front of me, I could do little. I did not know where to start or where to end. However, I peeped through what others were doing with their computers. Fortunately, I got to see what they were doing and I decided to try it out. At first I thought it was something quite easy to do. I had thought that I was only required to type in my question in the quick search or Google section and the answers would be right there. I tried this for several times with the internet stating that it found no results for my search. I was aggravated and found this activity quite challenging. Other students sitting next to me noticed my disappointments and confusions with some laughing at me while others guided me through. I was made to understand the application and the significance of keywords in academic research. Fortunately I was able to employ keywords to ease my research but, as if my struggles were not enough, after typing the keywords, I had no idea about what to do next.
With scores of information presented in the webpage, I did not know how to choose and open an article or a book. However, I decided to struggle with this so as to stop others from recognizing my idiocy in regard to internet use. After several attempts, I managed to open books and articles, an aspect that made realize that our efforts in life are meant to lead us to contentment and pleasure. This particular experience also helped me to discover that there are different developmental stages in all aspects of life which are full of challenges and difficulties. Nevertheless, learning to overcome the challenges is the key to success and to a brighter future. Moreover, the experience taught me that I cannot perfect my skills in a day or in a blink of an eye. Life has to take a course where we start from the least in the ladder of understanding and proceed to the very top.
As an example, Malcom X began his life as a young innocent boy who knew nothing about life. He went through many challenges and experiences, such as family shifts, criminal life, reformation and transformation which eventually changed his life for better. His experiences in life led him to achieving his pleasure in life, pleasure to voice out the issues faced by the blacks in the wider society. Apparently, his life experiences changed who he was and it is these experiences that molded a man who become so much involved in the racial struggle hence contributing to the political and social influence of African Americans. His influences and experiences are still remembered in today’s society due the impact they hold on the entire humanity (Malcolm X 527). Similarly, the difficulties, frustrations and challenges I went through during my search for knowledge made me who I am now. Apparently, I can now freely perform my own research with little or no help for my own benefit and those of others who may require my assistance.
I must admit and appreciate that the experience transformed me from a culture of using tangible books from the library for school assignment to culture of using the internet which is more convenient and faster to use. Despite all the challenges and difficulties I faced, I managed to take the darker side of it to perfect my skills. Just like Bragg, I was able to identify with the darker side of my struggles in order to completely understand the objectivity of my mistakes, trials and tribulations (Bragg 116). I learnt to fight my way from one side to the other in order to meet my social aspirations. Notably, I proved my abilities through taking the darker side of my experience to be my guide to prosperity. This aspect helped me in moving to a different direction which has finally brought me happiness. My experiences have not only helped me in my academic work but also in thinking decisively about the society as a whole.
Literacy helps people in developing potential to make use of internet in the most appropriate way while it is also helpful in other areas of life. However, learning to use the internet is quite challenging and sometimes even frustrating especially to beginners. Nevertheless, it is the difficulties that one faces that help one to move from the darker side to brighter side. Malcolm X and Rick Bragg are just two incredibly inspiring examples of how a human being can learn anything by putting enough effort into it. Essentially, there are probably tens of thousands unknown stories that are tales of struggle and success. With this belief, the challenges and frustrations I faced in the quest for acquaintance have helped me in unlocking my literacy potential. They have also helped in advancing from one level of life to another ultimately leading to gratification.