Top Digital Literacy Facts About Graduation, the Digital Literacy Gap, and Workforce Digitalization
Students across America are well into the school year, and the newness has certainly worn off as they look forward to their Christmas holiday break. However, will these students actually finish the school year with success so that they can graduate on time? Fortunately, the most recent school year statistics available from 2016 show signs of promise including amongst all minority groups. According to these statistics, the national high school graduation rate reached 84.1%. In this article, we are going to explore top digital literacy facts and the impact it makes on students regarding graduation, the digital literacy gap, and workforce digitalization.
Digitalization Is Revolutionizing the Modern Workforce
Unfortunately, graduating is only half the battle for students today. In our modern world, students face fierce competition in a job market where demand continues to increase for digital skills. This phenomenon is known as “digitalization”, and it has been revolutionizing the modern work world. A recent analysis shows that digitalization has affected 545 occupations and 90% of the U.S. workforce across all industries since 2001. In 2016, statistics show that jobs requiring high digital skills leaped to 23%. Interestingly, the demand for low digital skills fell by 26%. Out of the 545 analyzed occupations ranging from the years of 2002-2016, digitalization scores rose in 517 out of 545. The average digitalization score increase amongst these occupations was 57%. Such statistics illustrate the importance of understanding digital literacy facts.
Students Will Face Stiff Digital Competition in the Workforce
Students need the right tools to rise about the competition and without them their career options are limited. We are not only talking about academic and career limitations here. We are talking about the future of America, and the tragedy of budding potential, talent, and creativity being stunted in our students by a lack of resources. The harsh side of the reality of digital literacy facts is revealing that even careers beyond the confines of STEM pathways require digital literacy, computational thinking, and a mindset of innovation. Who is at the most risk for being left behind in this digital revolution? Students from lower socio-economic communities. This is due in part to financial limitations which creates an inability to properly train teachers in technological matters. Teachers are doing their best to bridge the digital divide, but there are many roadblocks preventing them in their efforts to provide technological advancement for students.
The Digital Literacy Gap Contributes to a Grim Future for Some Students
According to an analysis conducted by the Education Week Research Center, most school districts nationwide are finding technology incorporation a challenge. It is a widespread conclusion amongst education professionals that teachers fresh out of college haven’t been prepared to navigate this new digital environment. For teachers already in the workforce, it is a challenge to keep up with the ever-shifting pace of technological advancement. The Education Week Research Center analysis also found that budget inequity is contributing to this challenge as teachers in high-poverty schools are consistently less likely to receive technology-integration training compared to their counterparts. For them and their students, the digital literacy gap isn’t getting any smaller. This is one of many tragic digital literacy facts.
Aren’t American Students Digital Natives Though?
The variables behind this reality of digital literacy facts are surprising when you consider the fact that America’s youth are widely considered to be “digital natives”. Students from underprivileged communities often don’t have equal technical skills due to their lack of access to technology. Plus, their teachers are often ill-equipped to improve their digital skillset because these teachers in high-poverty school settings are less likelyto possess training on how to integrate technology into the classroom which only broadens the digital literacy gap.
My.Future Program Having Significant Success in Bridging the Digital Age Gap
What can we do to lessen the digital gap for these students? The Boys and Girls Clubs of America are working tirelessly to provide a safe and supportive environment for students to go outside the classroom. Club kids boost their digital skills through a unique educational web platform called My.Future. This program was developed in partnership with Comcast and provides access to an academic platform that develops a range of knowledge, skills, and behaviors required for future success. To name a few of the benefits that the My.Future platform provides, there are technical skills including coding. There are also programs for building social and emotional competencies like critical-thinking and creativity. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is valuable because it contributes to a heightened ability in the student to incorporate skills, attitudes, and behaviors that will be the most effective and ethical as they face daily tasks and challenges. Educators and researchers recognize this as they continue to explore the best way to assess these competencies in their students.
My.Future launches the creators, innovators, and problem-solvers of the future. This is perhaps the most positive digital literacy fact.
BGCA My.Future Program Boasts Impressive Statistics
The statistics of My.Future are promising indeed. Data from BGCA found that 12th-grade Boys and Girls Club members are more than twice as likely to express an interest in a STEM career compared to national 12th graders. Boys and Girls Club girls were found to be more than three times more likely to express an interest in a STEM career compared to other 12th-grade girls on a national scale. This success is why BGCA is celebrating the My.Future program in an annual My.Future week celebration taking place from November 12th through November 16th. This celebration highlights the impact of My.Future and also the importance of promoting digital literacy and access for students everywhere. The My.Future platform celebrated its fifth birthday, and due to the success of My.Future there are plans underway to develop and expand the My.Future program even further – which may bode well in assisting more club kids to strive for a brighter future.
In conclusion, teaching digital literacy can be a challenge in education today, but it is a worthwhile and rewarding effort because it is a digital literacy fact that students will have better chances with digital skills as they face the increasing digitalization of today’s modern workforce. The Boys and Girls Club of America has developed a successful platform for increasing digital literacy for underprivileged communities, and together we can bridge the digital literacy gap and give the career force of tomorrow a brighter future!
Check out my other articles in this BGCA series: Winning Tactics For Avoiding Summer Learning Loss and The Best Way to Limit Screen Time For Your Child's Health.