During Hour of Code, a global event to promote coding skills this week, we strive to ramp up digital literacy.
But what constitutes digital literacy? There are many definitions.
Microsoft looks at it through an ICT lens – where ICT means ‘Information Communication Technology.’ But evidently there is much more it encompasses. How about building ‘digitally inclusive communities’ as is defined by the Institute of Museum and Library Services?
It goes beyond simply learning how to be safe online, or managing one’s Instagram page. It’s about teaching young people, beginning in elementary school, the ‘literacy’ for being successful in civic or economic spaces. It’s a mistake to assume that ‘Digital Natives’ are automatically, or inherently competent in these areas.
I have previously cited Common Sense Media writer, Jessica Laura who makes the point that just as anyone who has grown up speaking English, still takes English classes, those growing up digital, still need to learn about digital literacy.
The folks behind Hour of Code often talk about the need for foundation skills related to problem-solving, logic and creativity. Similar to how all students learn about photosynthesis, they ought to also understand how algorithms and coding underpins how their world works – or does not. There are 500,000 current job openings in the US that require computer skills, they say.