Digital skills in Open Future programme

Why are digital skills and their development in children key to our programme? The importance of digital skills as part of information literacy was also demonstrated to us by the move to online learning during the pandemic. Children spend a lot of time in the online world, but often very inefficiently.

According to a June 2019 survey by FOCUS for the Telekom Fund at the Pontis Foundation, up to 41% of children do not use technology in a meaningful way. They know how to play and chat. But only 4 out of 10 children can create a table or presentation without problems. The survey also showed that the more challenging the technology, the more children struggle with it. The knowledge gap is even wider for children from poorer households. More than half of them have trouble looking up information for homework.

The second issue is the pitfalls and risks of using technology. “Availability of information, openness to people, but also loss of privacy are risks that young people must learn to face effectively. The way is to develop critical and analytical thinking, but also to recognise the dangers of the online environment. However, security as well as ethical issues related to the use of the internet are not among the areas where pupils perform satisfactorily in the tests,” says the analysis of the This is common sense project on the topic.

In Open Future  Programme, participants therefore acquire IT skills and use digital technologies, especially in the context of other skills and in the context of working on a team project.

How do we develop children’s digital literacy in our programme?

In the curriculum of the programme, digital skills are developed in connection with the other two areas, supporting precisely the area of entrepreneurial skills, to which the activities are directly linked. The main elements of digital literacy work in the programme are:

  • Access to basic and advanced IT and technology – Open Future Clubs are equipped with basic technology. Each child has access to their own computer, which ensures the development of basic skills, which is not obvious for everyone. However, the club also includes advanced IT equipment to ensure the development of children who are interested in the subject and would not otherwise get access to it.
  • Inspirational visits and personalities – visits by personalities or trips to companies in the world of technology are also key, where children can see new possibilities and get inspiration for their own projects or development in new areas.
  • Targeted competency development within the curriculum and the opportunity to develop independently – we develop the predefined necessary competencies within targeted learning sessions, while children have the opportunity to develop in digital topics of interest to them independently within the online platform or the gradually established maker space/workshop.
  • Digital skills in practice – participants can apply the acquired skills in their own projects – social innovations that they can implement in their own communities, by participating in competitions (e.g. First Lego League) or by individually mastering the maker space.

Among the learning objectives in the area of digital literacy, we have the following competences in the programme:

  • online communication and collaboration – effective use, netiquette and security,
  • tools for creating documents, visual or audiovisual material,
  • algorithmic problem solving – basics of algorithmic thinking and programming (in Scratch environment),
  • working with the internet – searching for information, recognising misinformation/hoaxes,
  • software and hardware – basic knowledge, programming BBC micro:bit hardware device,
  • innovations – future technologies such as. Artificial Intelligence.

We specifically address the issue of safety and healthy use of technology with participants. We are learning to find boundaries in how much time we spend working or playing with technology, or what content we choose to entertain or learn. Even more so today, when technology has become an essential tool for all of us to communicate, learn or be entertained.