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Digital Literacy- Critical Skill for 21st Century

The American Library Association's digital-literacy task force offers this definition: "Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills."...


Today's children are digital natives. They are born in an era of Technology. As a result, they learn digital skills just like learning a language, without even realizing they are learning it. Today it is not uncommon for a 3-4 year old to have some basic knowledge regarding how to get on to the computer and load a game or play a video.


Acquiring the digital literacy skills will also help participating students acquire following skills which they would need in order to function effectively in digital environments.


GRAPHIC LITERACY
Tasks include working with graphic user interfaces that helps them to “read” naturally and freely, and to understand the instructions and messages represented visually. Students will develop good visual memory and strong thinking, which will help them understand visual messages easily and fluently.

INFORMATION LITERACY
The effort they will put in to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use the information to solve the problem / tasks of COMPUDON Junior exam will help them develop this literacy.

SOCIO-EMOTIONAL LITERACY
Championship for school students from junior classes is based on Microsoft’s Digital Literacy Standard version 4 and while going through the course, students will develop knowledge to avoid “traps” as well as derive benefits from the advantages of digital communication.

Some experts prefer the term "digital literacies," to convey the many facets of what reading and writing in the modern era entails.

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Today’s Kids are at the Center of Exciting Changes & Uncertainty- both at the same time

A generation ago, IT and digital media were niche skills. Today, they are a core competency necessary to succeed in almost all fields....

Let’s face it, Technology is impacting all areas of our lives and this impact is accelerating every day. So much so that Experts are predicting that 90% of the entire population will be connected to the internet within next 10 years. Experts are also predicting that almost 90% jobs of future don’t exist today. With the internet of things, the digital and physical worlds will soon be merged. While these changes announce new & exciting possibilities but at the same time, they are also creating uncertainty & insecurity.

Excitement- because these changes are creating huge opportunities and Insecurity- because our kids are exposed to huge risks at the same time. Risks that are very real, such as, cyberbullying, undesirable, obscene and violent content, radicalization, hacking, identity theft, scams etc. The problem becomes critical because the digital world is changing too much and too fast. And practical issues in updating the school curricula, the slow pace of internet governance and policies for protection of kids is adding to the problem.

We must also be equally concerned about the digital age gap. The usage of technology by kids and by adults is very different which makes it difficult for parents and educators to fully understand & appreciate the risks and threats that kids are exposed to online. As a result, adults are not able to advise children on the safe and responsible use of digital technologies.

So how can we, as parents, educators and leaders, prepare our children for the digital age? Without a doubt, it is critical for us to equip them with skills of the 21st century. As Parents, educators & leaders, we must use encourage our kids to acquire the digital skills and skills of the 21st century. And championships such as COMPUDON JUNIOR solve part of the puzzle by giving kids the needed digital literacy skills.

Credits: World Economic Forum Report July 2019

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Digital Literacy- A Mission-Critical Priority!

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September 14, 2020

This article aims to serve as a call to action.

The above quote speaks volumes about our role as parents & educators and there is no doubt that parents, educators and Schools are doing a great deal of work in that direction. ...

However, with this article, I wish to draw your attention to a very forceful threat that is looming large on our kids and the intensity of which has increased multifold because of COVID-19.

I am referring to the dangers that our kids are exposed to on daily basis because of not being digitally literate. We tend to believe that today’s kids are digitally literate because they are digital natives, i.e., born in the digital age but research has proven that when it comes to being safe in the cyber space, they simply lack the skills that would keep them safe. Kids who are not digitally literate are exposed to dangers of cyber space. Like if we are not proficient drivers on a high-way, we are carrying a significant risk and same is the case with information highway.

Here is some data from the western world, the world which is much ahead of us in terms of technology adoption and its ability to teach and use technology.

“Two-thirds of teachers are aware of pupils sharing inappropriate content, with as many as one in six of these children of primary school age.” NASUWT teaching union “More Than 75 percent of Fifth and Eighth Graders are Non-Proficient in 21st Century Skills” - Learning.com study

“A majority of U.S. adults can answer fewer than half the questions correctly on a digital knowledge quiz, and many struggle with certain cybersecurity and privacy questions” - Pew Center for Internet and Technology- October 2019 report

Digital literacy is not just knowing how to post messages/photos on Facebook or snapchat or Instagram, it is lot more than that.

Staying online and that too in isolation like it is happening because of COVID-19, has made our kids very vulnerable to criminals and bullies. Criminals can negatively influence and hack our kids’ minds which at times can lead to real physical and psychological issues. There is ton of data that criminals are exposing vulnerable and impressionable kids to misinformation, manipulation, and fake news, which causes all kinds of issues in their lives. Who doesn’t know about the horror of Nth Room Case?

The unpredictable changes and the speed of the changes in technology and the cosmic and ubiquitous internet has made it mandatory for everyone to be digitally literate, especially young kids. Digital Literacy is already an essential skill for lots of jobs and this will only go up in the coming years.

The above clearly conveys that teaching digital literacy to our kids is mission-critical. We educators have a great responsibility and we must help our kids by motivating them to acquire digital literacy.

Stay tuned for my next article later this week with some more insight on this problem and some easy and very feasible solution(s).

About the Author:

For over a decade, Pankaj has been a noteworthy leader in the entry level global certifications space. You may know him as the Founder & Managing Director of CyberLearning and Pankaj can also be credited with introducing several global certifications into India including the Microsoft Office Specialist Certification, Microsoft Technology Associate Certification, HP-ATA Certification, Critical Thinking Certification from ETS, Adobe Certified Associate Certification and few others.

Pankaj is the Past President of Rotary Club of Capital City New Delhi and has won numerous awards including at the international level. The COMPUDON Champions (www.compudon.in)championship on MS office Skills was launched by CyberLearning in 2011) sponsored by CyberLearning have won all top 3 titles including title of World Champion at the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship (USA) and the World Skills championship (Germany). CyberLearning also launched www.compudonjunior.com a championship on Digital Literacy based on Microsoft Digital Literacy Standard in 2019.