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What is digital literacy for students? Why is digital literacy important for students? here are 10 things you need to know.
1. Digital knowledge goes far beyond technical know-how.
It addresses knowledge, skills, and attitudes that help children stay safe and empowered in the ever-evolving digital world. This includes them playing, engaging, socializing, finding and learning through digital technologies. What makes digital literacy change depending on a child’s age, local culture, and context.
2. Children need to be digital even when they’re not online.
AI-based face scanning and profiling are increasingly influencing children’s lives. Children’s school attendance, social welfare and future job opportunities may depend on their level of understanding of the digital world around them.
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3. Digital skills are an increasing part of any skill development approach.
It is part of UNICEF’s framework to prepare children and youth for school, work and life. In addition to digital literacy, other UNICEF linked skills are: foundational skills (literacy and math); transferable skills (also known as life skills, 21st century skills or soft skills); and job-specific skills (technical and vocational skills).
4. Tools for developing and measuring digital skills are on the rise.
Several digital capacity frameworks have been developed by both international agencies and companies. Frameworks are an essential starting point because they define the boundaries of what constitutes digital knowledge and the curriculum and assessment offered.
Although using a variety of labels (e.g. digital skills, skills, citizenship), they converge widely around the idea of a set of competencies that includes technical skills as well as transferable, such as communication and problem solving.
5. However, most of the available tools focus less on children.
Digital skill definitions typically focus on citizens of all ages, not children. We believes there is a need to focus more on digital for children with unique needs. In this area, there is a slow transition from risk and safety models to approaches based on priority of expression, play, and development.
6. Very few programs operate at large scale or have their impact assessed.
One contributing factor is the lack of global consensus and standards that make it difficult for governments and stakeholders to design and implement comparative and cost-effective initiatives, in particular in developing countries.
7. Similarly, UNICEF programs will benefit from closer coordination.
Although UNICEF has provided a range of digital literacy programs at the request of governments, a survey of 40 initiatives by 37 National Offices found they were uncoordinated are good together and knowledge is not systematically created or shared in terms of efficiency and impact.
8. Digital universalization is not easy.
According to surveyed National Offices, the main barriers to digital literacy programs are: lack of capacity of teachers and faculty; lack of ICT infrastructure; low connectivity (especially for remote areas); and ignorance from decision-makers. National Offices are asking for policy development assistance, digital frameworks, curriculum guides, and practical tools, such as training manuals and toolkits.
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9. Some existing digital frameworks or tools are well-suited to UNICEF.
These include the European Commission DigComp framework and the Digital Kids Asia-Pacific framework developed by the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Office in Bangkok. Using existing digital knowledge frameworks, UNICEF can add value by focusing on children.
10. Digital literacy programs should be context-oriented.
Efficiently deploying digital programs is not as simple as importing a good one from elsewhere. In addition to choosing a framework, the integrated approach to digital knowledge includes performing a preliminary diagnostic assessment of the local context, developing operational and implementation instructions.