Posted by Miranda on February 9, 2008
My son mentioned to me the other evening that Thetford Academy has a Computer Literacy class, something I never knew. It’s an elective, 1/2 hour daily. They cover search engines, some basic web design. He tells me there’s a larger unit on cyber-bullying.
Now, the school where I work has nothing like this. In fact we do not offer any computer classes per se. The enrollments for the programming classes were so small that they haven’t run since the first year I worked here. There used to be a basic Office applications course but no more.
Kids that I see often have no idea of very simple search techniques. They don’t know how to add page numbers to a term paper. They don’t know that taking a graphic off a web page, putting it into a poster and enlarging it by dragging the edges will result in pixelated mess when printed. When it does they have no idea why. They don’t know that memory is different from hard drive space. They don’t know how to set up their virus protection to update itself. (Many don’t know if they even have any virus protection.)
Most “computer course” are programming courses. What we need is a technology course. Do kids need to know how to program in order to use technology efficiently? No they don’t. I think they do need to know some things about computers. They need to know that deleting files from a hard drive isn’t going to improve general performance. They need to know how to protect their computer from viruses. Computers are tools and everybody needs to know how to maintain their tools.
And they need some kind of digital literacy, technology literacy, there needs to be some basic stuff that kids leave this school knowing.
The best definition I’ve found for digital literacy comes from a New Zealand government web site
“The ability to use digital technology, communication tools or networks to locate, evaluate, use and create information.”
but I’d tinker with it a little, I’d say
“The ability to use digital technology, communication tools and networks efficiently and ethically to locate, evaluate, use and create information.”
What are the basic skills that kids should graduate from high school knowing?
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