In today’s era of increasingly tech-savvy workplaces and universities, digital literacy is critical. Learning how to manipulate technology to your advantage can help you work efficiently, impress professors and enhance your overall learning experience. There are countless technological skills to learn and benefit from, but a few are particularly essential for students.
Knowledge of how to transfer and share files
Between group projects and sharing notes with classmates, odds are you’ll need to share documents on a regular basis. Restrictions on the size of attachments can make it difficult to email files. But using tools such as WeTransfer, Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive (free to students through Office 365. Enter your student email address – the one that ends in @cmail.carleton.ca – and your MyCarletonOne password for access) makes it possible to share fairly large files. If the default file size limits are insufficient, most file sharing websites and software also allow users to send larger files for a fee. Apart from free and paid file sharing software, USBs and external hard drives can also store and transfer files between computers.
For those looking to collaborate on projects, Google Docs is a useful tool. The program lets you edit documents and view others’ edits in real time. Since the tool is accessible on computers, most smartphones, and various other portable devices, users can easily work on documents on the go. Slack is a good group project option too.
An understanding of digital storage software
Every internet user has likely encountered a shortage of virtual storage space. There are, however, various ways to free up room on your computer. Services such as Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox will allow you to save space and ensure your assignments are backed up. You can access your files from multiple locations and devices, and – in the event of a computer crash – your data will be safe.
Digital presentation skills
Familiarizing yourself with web-based presentation tools will help you communicate effectively within and beyond the classroom. Most students are familiar with Microsoft PowerPoint, but there are a lot of other innovative tools to help deliver dynamic presentations. For example, Infogram allows users to create stunning visual representations of data. Prezi makes it possible to get creative with your presentations in a way that extends beyond traditional “slides” viewed in consecutive order. For example, users can zoom in on elements of a presentation, seamlessly incorporate external media, and access their presentations from multiple locations. See our resource on presentation tools for more.
Advanced word processing skills
Although most students know the basics of their preferred word processor, many programs are equipped with lots of useful, lesser-known features. For example, in Microsoft Word, users can create a customized table of contents through the use of headings. Word also allows users to convert data from a table into a graph. Understanding the full capacity of word processors can help you improve your assignments and – by extension – your grades.
By Maha Ansari