Digital literacy gets students through the Junior Cycle




Digital literacy concept word cloud background

Recent European-wide statistics have shown that a lack of digital literacy increasingly implicates one’s full potential of being a competent student, an empowered employee or an engaged citizen.

By readily adopting modern technology, digital citizens must be ready to accept that to be ‘digitally literate’ is to be acutely aware of these practices, including the safety and privacy of end users, ethical considerations, what appropriate use of digital technology implies, and so on.

Being digitally literate far surpasses the basic literacy skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. With today’s digital media and technologies, people now can also create, work, share, socialize, research, play, collaborate, communicate and learn.

One of the things we’re seeing these days is parents coming to us asking us to help them plug the gaps in both their and their children’s IT skills. Kids are being sent home to do their school projects through online research and then asked to present in Word or Powerpoint.

The students who are the least intuitive with computers often come from parents who are the most fearful of technology.

Parents and teachers know there is a gap, they know it’s not enough to give your kid an iPad and let them get on with it. With new courses such as Digital Marketing ICDL is again responding to public demand for new core skill sets in the workplace, similarly the ICT Curriculum prepares students in key concepts such as Computational Thinking, Multi-Media and Micro Controllers.

By definition, Computational Thinking is the thought processes involved in formulating a problem and expressing its solution(s) in such a way that a computer—human or machine—can effectively carry out.

Acclaimed Computer Scientist Jeannette Wing suggested that thinking computationally was a fundamental skill for everyone, not just computer scientists, and argued for the importance of integrating computational ideas into other disciplines we at ICDL Ireland would agree wholeheartedly with this.

We know there are lots of great programmes out there teaching kids to code, we have one called Scratch, which is fantastic but it is not what defines someone as digitally literate (that would be like saying everyone who wants to learn to drive has to learn to be a mechanic!).

We know there are lots of great programmes out there teaching kids to code, we have one called Scratch, which is fantastic but it is not what defines someone as digitally literate (that would be like saying everyone who wants to learn to drive has to learn to be a mechanic!).

We want to teach our students young and old how to get the most out of their pc, the programmes and applications they use and to be able to adapt to the new programmes and technologies as they come online in time.

We have been doing this for the last 20 years, we would argue there is no other organisation in the world who has been doing this for as long and we believe we are providing the skills that will teach young people to adapt to the next 20 years of innovation in the workplace.

We know sometimes people think of ICDL as a bit boring but to us that’s like saying English, Irish and Maths are boring. It’s not boring, it’s essential! And what you will learn is how to do the boring stuff quickly by being smart with your computer (ask anyone who has ever discovered how to do a vlookup in Excel and they will tell you this is true).

We do a lot of fun stuff too, this year ICDL will fund many programmes such as Tech Week, the Bebras Computing Challenge and the Scratch Competition all free of charge to schools and students, it’s really important that Irish schools and parents continue to support ICDL to fund these not-for-profit programmes.