Digital Literacy Across Cultures
Posted by Lynn
This week I found an interesting connection between Chapter 7: Understanding Digital Literacy Across Cultures in Spilka’s (2010) Digital Literacy for Technical Communication and the workplace. Spilka discusses that accessing and understanding digital media in some communication settings is one meaning of digital literacy. The chapter specifically focuses on the US EPA (EPA) and the Mexican Counterpart Semarnat.
I work for a state agency in the natural resources division. Specifically public dining water regulation. This chapter made me think about the audience we had while regulating drinking water quality and how culture plays a part in who has access to the information and what information is available.
There are a few ways the public can receive heath information about possible contaminates in their drinking water. They could initiate the gathering of information by accessing our website. A significant amount of information is available and many publications are available in PDF form to save or print. The other way they could gather information is if they work at a business with drinking water issues and see postings in the break room and by faucets or fountains. They also could go to a number of local businesses such as a church, bar or restaurant and find the same posted information.
Another way we offer multi language support is through our customer service lines. You can talk to someone on the phone, a chat through the website, or email in your questions. All three of these services are available in English, Spanish or Hmong.
The main idea I had while thinking about this post was what happens when someone is no longer seeking this information out but a sensitive population that is unable to access this information due to cultural issues. It is no secret that we have undocumented workers in Wisconsin. If one of these undocumented workers work at a location with water contamination issues such as nitrates it may be difficult for them to understand they are at risk if the information is not given to them.
When there is a specific contaminate violation often times businesses have to post a public notice that alerts the consumers to the public health risk. While we do provide language in the violation that if they have 5% or more non English speaking consumers they also need to post in the most common language. What percentage of these at risk non English speaking consumers will actually receive this information?
Further digging on our website came up with a number of resources specifically to translation and public notices. These are great resources for businesses that need to public notice but I still feel like not all at risk consumes get the same amount of information as their English speaking counterparts.
Posted on November 12, 2017, in Digital, Literacy, Social Media, Technology, Workplace and tagged Cultural Communications, customer service, Digital Literacy, hmong, SEMARNAT, spanish, US EPA. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.