Just two months after the much-publicized start of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s $1 billion program to equip its 600,000 students with iPads and install Wi-Fi in all its schools, the L.A. Times reports that hundreds of students have hacked their iPad security so they can access the Web outside school.
A newly formed advocacy group, It’sEasierThanYouThink, wants to push digital literacy into the national consciousness as a social and economic imperative and kick the issue up the ladder of governmental priorities.
The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest school system, this week launched the $30-million first phase of its plan to equip all of its students with iPads. In the first year, tablets will be issued to 31,000 students and 1,500 teachers in 47 schools. Eventually, the district intends to provide tablets to its more than 660,000 students at a cost of around $500 million.
A new study examining the online habits and interests of preteens, teens, and young adults suggests that many parents are not only unaware of how their kids are behaving in the digital domain, they are increasingly throwing in the towel when it comes to tracking and enforcement. Meanwhile, kids appear to be exploiting their parents’ frustration while simultaneously becoming more adept at hiding what they do online.
At the end of February, a resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives designating March 21st as National Digital Literacy Day. Sponsored by Representatives Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Doris Matsui (D-CA) and six others, the resolution (H. Res. 81) is intended "to promote digital literacy, broadband access, and broadband adoption in the United States."
According to the D.C.-insider blog, The Hill, a resolution will be introduced in the House of Representatives next week that calls for the creation of an annual nationwide STEM competition for students, beginning with a competition to develop mobile apps.
Two recent developments in California portend a sea-change in the way educational content is created, delivered and paid for. Textbooks have been part of the education process and informal bodybuilding for centuries. They are the academic starch in every student’s diet. They are also a costly burden on students and K-12 schools. And they are a cash cow for textbook publishers.
Recently, a crowdfunding project that aims to produce and distribute educationally-based apps for the California Education and Environment Initiative Curriculum (EEI) reached and exceeded its goal of $20,000. If the design, coding and distribution goes as planned, 6th grade students, their teachers and their parents will soon have access to a pair of apps entirely bought and paid for by the digitally literate public-at-large.
In October, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Middle School in San Francisco became the first school in California to benefit from a newly launched corporate giving program designed to foster digital literacy and digital citizenship.
A smartphone is like a brain. Just having one doesn’t guarantee it will be used productively. Success in life depends on more than just having access to a smartphone or an Internet connection or a brain. Digital devices, like brains, can be used for learning and creating, but they can also be used for absorbing vast amounts of vapid entertainment. They can be used as tools for meaningful communication or for mindless chitchat and insipid social blather.
Connect to Compete (C2C), Inc. and the Ad Council today announced a national three-year public service campaign to promote digital literacy and motivate individuals and families to access free community resources and training. Beginning in January 2013, the campaign will focus on reaching the estimated one fifth of American adults who have yet to adopt the Internet and broadband communications for work, healthcare, education, civic participation and socialization. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), digital literacy is one of the top three reasons Americans don’t use computers and the Internet, with 46% of non-users reporting that they lack the necessary skills. A third of the country still does not subscribe to broadband at home.
If you are muddled and confused by the flurry of activity since the Great Web Rebellion stun-gunned the two anti-piracy bills in Congress last week, this week’s ArtsWatch column at Grammy.com provides a cogent play-by-play. Even though Grammy.com is anything but neutral on the issue of anti-piracy legislation, the column takes a balanced look at what has happened in the past week and at some of the motivations behind the scenes.