Digital literacy 'as important as reading and writing'
Considering the importance placed on digital literacy in many career roles, the new 2014 curriculum seems a step in the right direction – but does more still need to be done? By Josie Gurney-Read
8:00AM GMT 11 Nov 2013
The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group Limited
1. When I was at school, ICT was labelled, rightly or wrongly, as the “doss lesson”. Unlike English, maths and science, ICT was not tested and, as such, was universally thought of as an hour of either surfing the internet, or falling asleep over yet another lesson in Microsoft Office. 2. Considering the importance placed on digital literacy in many career roles, the new 2014 curriculum, announced in July by Michael Gove the Education Secretary, seems a step in the right direction. 3. With the focus shifting from general ICT skills towards computer science, there has been debate over whether teaching children as young as 5 the basics in computer programming is really necessary in the curriculum? 4. Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, argues that skills such as these are as important as learning to read and write. 5. “Becoming literate in how the technical world works is equivalent to reading, writing and maths. We need to look at this fourth literacy as mainstream,” he says. 6. “Not just at the level of the very basics of operating a computer but actually understanding how the code and mechanics behind it work. In the same way that if all you had was oral communication and you didn’t have writing, you really wouldn’t understand the logic of our society.” 7. After-school, volunteer led projects such as Code Club are taking steps to introduce coding into schools, and by the end of 2015 the club hopes to be in 25 per cent of primary schools across the UK. 8. Working up from the first programme ‘Scratch’, learners progress through four terms of work until they begin learning programming language, Python – starting out with...
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