The Smartphone Generation Needs Computer Help
Young people may be expert social-media and smartphone users, but many lack the digital skills they need for today’s jobs. How can we set them up for success?
Kenneth Cole’s classroom at the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, located on a quiet residential street in Madison, Wisconsin.
The classes Cole teaches use Grow with Google’s Applied Digital Skills online curriculum.
One day he may lead Club members in a lesson on building digital resumes that can be customized quickly and make job-seeking easier when applying online. Another day they may create a blog. On this particular day, they drew up a budget for an upcoming event using a spreadsheet. For kids who are often glued to their smartphones, these types of digital tasks, surprisingly, can be new experiences.
The vast majority of young Americans have access to a smartphone, and nearly half say they are online “almost constantly.”
But although smartphones can be powerful learning tools when applied productively, these reports of hyperconnectivity and technological proficiency mask a deeper paucity of digital skills. This often-overlooked phenomenon is limiting some young people’s ability—particularly those in rural and low-income communities—to succeed in school and the workplace, where digital skills are increasingly required to collaborate effectively and complete everyday tasks.
According to a survey by Pew Research Center, only 17 percent of Americans are “digitally ready”—that is, confident using digital tools for learning. Meanwhile, in a separate study, American millennials ranked last among a group of their international peers when it came to “problem-solving in technology-rich environments,” such as sending and saving digital information
teach his sophomore pupils the technology skills they need in the workplace, as well as soft skills like teamwork.
more on digitally native in this IMS blog
more on millennials in this IMS blog