Do we really need to teach digital skills?

Forgotten Classroom by ne* photostreamEvery where I turn there seems to be a foundation, organization or center developing curriculum to teach kids how to develop their digital skills. I confess I’m very skeptical of whether we really need this, though I’m recognize that there are tremendous divides among the different social, economical and mental abilities among young people and perhaps this is the main reason why we need to develops new educational standards that include digital skills. Not everyone can pick up a computer and figure out how to blog…

But I’m skeptical that institutions can answer those needs by developing self-tutorials that really speak to the diverse conditions of youth around the world (or even just the U.S.) and I’m wondering how does all this fit in with the idea (one I love) of shifting the focus of the classroom from the teacher to the students.

(photo by ne, license under cc from Flicker)

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Tech marketing executive. Latina who loves the rain. Proud mami of two amazing children.

2 thoughts on “Do we really need to teach digital skills?”

  1. Technological programs are basically student-driven. The focus of a digital learning curriculum is that students simply have more than one way to show learning. Instead of writing a book report on a lined sheet of paper, they could be writing a book review on a blog site instead. It is just a matter of preparing them for “real writing” that people are now using on a daily basis–writing that still takes place outside of school and is relevant. Basically, many people from my generation learned computer skills in an exploratory fashion, without silly CD tutorials, etc. Technology should be integrated in ways that support the standards that you are already trying to achieve, not just sticking in a CD-Rom and using Powerpoint in your lectures to students instead of an overhead projector.

  2. amayala,

    I agree, technology (specially communications technology) should just be a tool for a bigger objective, not just the end all. And it seems to me liek kids can just learn it more organically than what adults seem to conceive.

    I’m by no means an education expert, but lately I’ve been involved in some efforts around digital learning. My initial observation of what I’ve seen in the field is institutions (higher-ed ones) creating a ton of videos/powerpoint tutorials that don’t necessarily make it into the classroom in an integrated fashion and as part of the core curriculum. But I understand changing the way teachers teach in schools is a huge undertake, so this may all be too early to know.

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