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Aug 16, 2016

Industry insights,

Paving the way for future development

Take a look into many Primary school classrooms these days and gone are the blackboards and chalk sticks that you still might associate with an educational setting. You’re far more likely to see a range of interactive digital devices such as iPads and large scale interactive white boards. The Technological age has shaped the tools with which we choose to learn and the skills our children need to succeed.

Digital literacy, as it’s termed, can be defined as not just requiring the practical knowledge of developing software skills but also includes the increasing importance of ‘soft skills’ such as staying safe online and avoiding modern risks like social engineering and phishing. This blended approach to learning helps children to access, understand and create digital content.

Whilst we know that the primary function of the curriculum is to furnish knowledge in reading, writing, mathematics and sciences (also known to this age group as ‘understanding the world around you’), there is however an additional requirement for children to learn various tools across multiple devices and include the use of applications, pictures, video and audio.  With this exploration they will be developing skills in internet searching, navigation, the use of social platforms and understanding the importance of online safety.

The generation of children that are born after the millennium are often cited as ‘digital native’. This age group have grown up with the shifting digital landscapes of today and due to a higher exposure to technology, this has fostered a generation of individuals that can confidently navigate themselves around various digital applications.

Whilst this confidence shouldn’t be misinterpreted as digital literacy, what it does create is a knowledge gap between teacher and pupil. With most teachers a generation ahead of their class room attendees, the challenge they face is to make sure their own CPD is effective and current. Equally, school heads should be championing the installation of technology across the curriculum. This means developing strategies, embedding digital tools and fostering cultural change.

Digital literacy is still in its infancy and there is still plenty to learn, however if we fail to recognise its importance, we would be harming our children’s future potential. 

By installing these vital skills early, children are able to lay the foundation for their ongoing digital learnings and future opportunities.