Tech Paradox?

I think of this as the tech literacy paradox. Today’s children may be great consumers of technology, but rarely are they truly tech literate.

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May 12, 2017 – Online MCAT CARS Practice

Question: What is your summary of the author’s main ideas. Post your own answer in the comments before reading those made by others.

In many parts of the world, young children grow up surrounded by technology. At their fingertips – literally – lies a limitless amount of entertainment, gaming, learning, and social networking. Their world has always been connected. They learn to scroll before they can walk. And yet, as confident as they may be using technology, too many children have no idea how it all works. Nor do they fully appreciate how it underpins their lives – or how it will shape their futures.

I think of this as the tech literacy paradox. Today’s children may be great consumers of technology, but rarely are they truly tech literate. They may look like savvy digital natives, but their knowledge is only screen-deep. They are passive users, not active creators. And most of them have little real interest in finding out how the technology on which they depend actually functions.

This has important implications. Economies are undergoing radical shifts in terms of how they produce, distribute, and consume goods and services. Every aspect of life and work is changing. Greater tech literacy will be essential to ensure that the human implications of the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution are positive.

If young people are to participate fully in our increasingly tech-enabled world, greater numbers of them will have to be tech literate. If they are to be empowered citizens, not just beguiled consumers, they will need to understand how technology affects their lives and prospects.

Not only will there be more tech jobs in the future; increasingly, more jobs will have a tech dimension to them, especially as scientific advances play a major role in solving some of society’s biggest challenges – climate change, health care, poverty, and inequality.

That is why BT has made a long-term commitment to use our skills and capabilities to help build a culture of tech literacy. We want young people to know that they will be the creators and builders of our future – in every sense. We want them to get excited about looking beyond the screen, to make and do stuff.

That means learning to code, of course. But it also means becoming fluent in computational thinking and problem solving. And, perhaps most important, it means becoming an engaged tech citizen. For example, all young people should understand who has access to their personal data, how it is being used, and why that matters. Accomplishing this will not be easy. It will take more than simply making sure that children have access to iPads.

Any initiative to boost tech literacy must focus on three areas. First, kids must be inspired to learn about the technology they use every day; they must “connect” with tech concepts and find them exciting. At BT, we are collaborating with tech entrepreneurs and education thinkers to develop fresh and creative ways to engage young people’s innate curiosity.

Second, teachers must be supported, as many do not feel confident to teach tech literacy. We can help with that. Already, we have engaged with thousands of teachers in the United Kingdom; in the last school year, we reached nearly 350,000 primary-school children, and we aim to reach five million by 2020. We have also collaborated with education innovators at MIT to bring new coding tools into classrooms.

Third, schools must be properly equipped. Making sure students have access to the latest technology is a challenge even for advanced countries. In the UK, we are working to ensure that our high-speed fiber broadband connects the hardest-to-reach schools. And we are using our expertise to help teaching professionals who are eager to make tech an integral part of schools’ everyday life.

A successful tech literacy program requires a long-term, sustained commitment to all three pillars of this approach. We expect it will take a school generation to realize the cultural shift we believe is necessary.

Previous industrial revolutions unlocked social progress only when they were accompanied by changes in education – in particular, concerted efforts to boost literacy and numeracy. If we want everybody to benefit from the radical upheavals transforming the world’s economies, further changes in education will be needed. Among the most important of these will be those that build a strong culture of tech literacy.

Adapted from Project Syndicate.

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This was an article on Education.

Have a great day.
Jack Westin
MCAT CARS Instructor.
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29 Comments


  1. consumers are tech. illiterate, literacy important for future society and needs to be taught in education

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  2. MIP: children have low tech. lit. + tech. lit. improvement efforts by BT b/c it is essential economically; tone = neutral

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  3. It is important for future generation, kids, to not only be tech consumers, but also tech literates; and the way to achieve this is by implementing BT’s 3 proposed areas in education.

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  4. child surrounded by tech + they don’t understand, tech literacy important

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  5. In order for there to be wide spread benefit from the tech revolution, it is necessary for the the next generation of humans to be tech literate; this should be accomplished by a concerted effort to educate children about technology.

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  6. STRONG CULTURE OF TECH LITERACY MUST BE BUILT AMONG THE YOUNG POPULATION

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  7. In order to maximize potential for the future of technology, young children need to be educated on the basics of tech from an early age.

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  8. the young generation needs to be literate at tech, not just knowing how to use it

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  9. Young people = need to be tech literate = important for future gen + BT = 3 pillars to help with that

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  10. tech literacy integral to advancing, must nourish it well.

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  11. Tech literacy in children is an important aspect of utilizing the current “industrialize progress”.

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  12. Although modern young generation is tech savvy, it is not tech literate. Author emphasizes importance of tech literacy and provides three ways to improve it

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  13. Inc tech literacy through curiosity teacher support and latest tech necessary for social progress and participation in future

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  14. in a tech progressing society, there’s a need to promote tech literacy in the younger generation

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  15. today, children are exposed technologies more than ever but not ‘tech literacy’.
    author introduces tech literacy
    to get ourselves prepared for fourth revolution. education on tech literacy must be done.
    author introduces 3 areas that needed to be focused to boost literacy
    education on tech literacy must be achieved otherwise it will be no good.

    Reply

  16. 1) kids =/= know tech usage or impact on future lives
    2) tech literacy = + implications
    3) BT –> tech culture
    4) 3 important area + interest, teacher support, school equipment

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  17. tech lit is important – many children nowsdays only know the screen-depth of using it but understanding the creation of it. The future trend require children to be more than just tech savvy. In order to improve it, 3 ways: 1. children have to willing to learn 2. enough adequate teachers 3. schools need to be equipped for it. all above 3 ensure our next generation is ready for the further development of tech.

    Reply

  18. Young people don’t know how their technology works and they have to learn in order to contribute to the future. To build good tech literacy in education, Inspiration to learning, supporting teachers and equipping schools over a long period of time will accomplish this.

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  19. MIP: need tech literacy; BT committed to improving it

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  20. MIP: Children lack knowledge on how tech works. Tech knowledge is important.

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  21. Future = tech saavy; Building a tech lit culture = important; author = positive

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  22. Tech literacy = important and must be in school education.

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  23. MIP = Technology requires understanding

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  24. Main Idea: To promote tech literacy by informing the audience about 3 “main pillars” in order to achieve this.

    Reply

  25. Tech literacy is a problem in today’s society. Must be integrated in education

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  26. tone = impassioned, almost demanding

    main point = education needs to change to make people more tech literate
    why = changing job market, decision making
    author’s plan = inspire students, help educate teachers, equip schools

    the change will be long and hard but necessary

    Reply

  27. Theme: Tech literacy is important in the digital age that we live in. Although most of us are big consumers of tech and would like to think of us as being “tech savvy”, the fact is the majority of us are tech illiterate. We need to learn to be more tech literate as technology becomes more prevalent in our everyday lives and we need to be empowered so that we will not be mindlessly controlled by tech and we will be able to mitigate the harmful consequences that come with it. Author suggests 3 approaches for this empowerment. (central)

    Economies are undergoing radical changes in this information age and every aspect of life is evolving with this fourth industrial revolution. Need to understand how tech affects our lives and not just be beguiled customers.

    Testable: more tech jobs in future, even manual jobs will become automated, learning coding improves tech literacy, as we become engaged with tech we need to know how our personal data gets shared

    Testable: tech literacy requires us to be curious and find out more about tech concepts (be engaged and not be passive consumers); equipped teachers with the tech skills so they can impart the necessary skills to students; equip schools with the hardware so they can be more connected and technology will be easily accessible to students (algorithm)

    Industrial revolutions will only spur social progress when accompanied with education so increasing tech literacy and numeracy will allow us to overcome radical social upheavals as our economies get transformed by the information age.

    Tone: Author is dismissive of the today’s tech generation who are more interested in consuming technology than understanding the long term ramifications of its usage (learn to scroll before they can walk…..too many children have no idea how it all works….nor do they fully appreciate….tech literacy paradox….their knowledge is only screen-deep….passive users, active creators).. Author has an IT background and is confident that the 3 strategies will empower us to be more knowledgeable make better decisions and in this IT age.

    Reply

  28. MP: We should use education to increase the technology literacy of young kids because this is vital

    Reply

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