Literacy Expertise

Dan’s a bit of a stats nerd. He loves to look at graphs. The other day he was looking at a graph attached to the YouTube promotional video we made for The Artifacts. The interesting thing about YouTube, compared to many other websites, is that we can see the basic demographic profile of people looking at our content.

“Hmmm,” he said, sounding slightly surprised. “Guess who are the main kind of person looking at our promo vid.”

“Female,” I said. “Between the ages of 50 and 60.”

“How did you know that?”

It’s not because I’d looked at the stats. (I can never remember that password.) It’s because I’ve worked in schools myself, and I know the sort of person who I’d go to for help in literacy. She’s probably a (smart, academic, research-oriented) woman, and likely approaching the average retirement age.

This makes me worried. I’m not sure if I should be worried. Maybe most of the literacy experts I respect are in their fifties precisely because it takes a lifetime of teaching to become an expert in the first place. I hope this is the case, because the alternative is dire: that there are too few literacy specialists coming through the current educational system.