Touch Screen Devices are ‘Eroding’ Digital Skills for Children

Hands up if you own a touch screen phone? How about a touch screen laptop/tablet? How many of your devices use a touch screen these days? It would seem that this may not be amazing news if you’re handing these devices to children as an Australian educational body noted that there was a ‘significant decline’ in what is classed as IT literacy among some students, in part due to the wide adoption of touch screens.

Think about how you open up a link or perform an action on your phone or your tablet compared to how you would do it on your computer, now think about how often do you use a touch screen for office work.

The report produced by Australia’s National Assessment Programme states that 16-year-olds have a lower than average IT proficiency than any other year. Among the tasks to complete were creating invitations using graphics software, setting up a tablet and installing apps and even promoting an event through social media.

The lower results could be due to the use of mobile technology, an area where skills are developed but are not commonly associated with ICT literacy. A new emphasis was put on teaching relevant knowledge and the skills and understanding to use this knowledge in both personal and professional environments.

BBC Micro Bit Delayed To 2016

The BBC Micro Bit is an intriguing low-cost device to help youngsters develop a keen interest in programming. Unfortunately, the original October roll-out has been cancelled after power supply problems “affected a small number of devices”. According to a BBC spokesperson:

“We’re expecting to start sending them out to teachers before Christmas and to children early in the new year,” 

“As a result of our rigorous testing process, we’ve decided to make some minor revisions to the device – getting it right for children and teachers before we manufacture one million units is our priority.”

BBC director general Tony Hall expects the Micro Bit to “equip a new generation with the digital skills they need to find jobs and help grow the UK economy”. Currently, the device is set to inspire one million schoolchildren and could help forge a new raft of UK inventors. It’s a shame to see the project being delayed until after the Christmas period, but it’s better to make sure the final version is reliable.

In a technologically advanced world, it’s imperative to teach the future generation coding skills to create games, software and unique solutions. Sadly, when I was at school, the ICT curriculum only revolved around spreadsheet macros and I would have loved coding lessons.

Do you know any programming languages?

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.