Tuesday, March 17, 2009

21st Century Tech Literacy

My five-year-old is teaching my three-year-old how to use the computer. My wife and I have been impressed by the patience she's shown with him. Currently he is receiving a heavy dose of instruction on mouse skills and how to navigate through the Starfall website.

Although my daughter is very special to me and I am very proud of her, I'm not sure if her experience with technology is that different from her peers. But I know she'll enter kindergarten next fall with quite a bit of "computer time" under her belt. She knows how to access the Internet through “the Firefox” and knows Mommy and Daddy will allow her time on "educational sites."

To be clear I'm not advocating a lot of screen time for young children, and we monitor what sites she is on and how long she is online, but I would wager she is as comfortable on the computer as some adults I know (maybe more). I can’t help but wonder, if she is representative of a larger group of digital natives entering the classroom, I wonder if education is keeping up with them.

Recently I talked with a friend of mine who is in technology and also has a child starting school in the fall, and we both shared our desire for our children to be engaged with technology in school at an early age. The technology vision for the school will play a big factor in his decision on where his child will attend—not just the equipment but what teachers and students (even kindergarteners) are doing with it.. I don’t know if a trip to the computer lab 45 minutes once a week for “computer class” is what he is picturing, nor is it enough to prepare our future students for digital literacy.

1 comment:

Scott Armstrong said...

As someone who teaches Computer Apps I, I would hope students from K-12 would make reading and writing a higher priority than being computer literate. It can be frustrating to give assignments in our lab, and then have students that can't (or won't) read the instructions. And then try asking students to research a topic...