At the end of chapter 1.3 in their study, Transnational Literate Lives in Digital Times, Berry, Hawisher and Selfe close their thought with this quote, “These linked cultural formations—technological innovations, the expansion of global computer networks, lower costs and greater efficiencies, the expanded reach of global capitalism—continued to exert pressure during the first decade of the new century: both locally, in the lives of this study’s coauthors, and worldwide” (Ch. 1.3).
So, much of my childhood was spent in the first decade of the new century. Although I was only six years old at the start of the new century, I can remember when some of these technological innovations began to make their way into my life. There was truly an expansion of global computer networks; and although most computers looked like this, more people were gaining access to more affordable technologies.
My first experience with a computer was watching a music video. I was in preschool (1998) and I went to my friend, Saige’s house after school one day. Saige’s grandfather worked for IBM (International Business Machines), and they had a computer for as long as I can remember. So, that day after school, her Grandfather asked us if we wanted to see our favorite band’s music video on the computer. Of course, we said, “Yes!!” And we crowded around the tiny screen in his home office and watched Wannabe by The Spice Girls and it remains a fantastic memory of mine as my first time using a computer.
Each time I think back to this day, I feel nostalgic. Even hearing the song as a twenty-one year old brings me right back to Saige’s grandfather’s office. From that moment forward, we always begged him to show us more Spice Girls videos on his computer. And, when I finally got a computer the Spice Girls had phased out and I was on to Brittney Spears videos!
I consider this Spice Girls video as my first digital literacy practice than I can remember. At age four, I probably did not know what a music video was; I’m sure this literacy practice required some scaffolding. Had I not known Saige, I would not have been exposed to this literacy practice that occurred within the private domain of her grandparent’s home.
In the year 1998, according to the Census Bureau, 42.1% of homes had a computer and only 26.2% of homes had access to the Internet. So, the domain that I was exposed to was fortunate enough to have this luxury. Although my family didn’t own a computer at this time, I was still able to gain access to this digital literacy practice.