Educating for digital competence | BSS

The world is changing, customs are changing and the labour market is changing. From an overall standpoint, there is something in common: technology is structuring most of those transformations. Therefore, how are schools adapting to such changes?

We cannot deny that the future is digital. The present already is and the future will be more so to a larger extent. All you have to do is take a look around you and see that most jobs require at least one digital competence and many of them demand advanced digital knowledge. We must not confuse advanced digital knowledge with professions such as computer engineers, application programmers and big data experts. These are already required in the day-to-day jobs such as teachers, journalists and advertisers as well as any health-related sciences such as doctors and nurses. There are also professions which have been created solely to meet those technological needs.

Schools must be open to such changes: digital competence may be as important in the future of our youngsters as learning languages is at present. Like languages, children must be introduced to the digital world in the early years in a gradual and orderly way so that their relationship with technology is safe and beneficial.

Technology education is not going to the computer room and using a word processor or a tool to create presentations. It is much more than this. In any case, both examples are small knowledge pills which will be the result of an even greater need.

Educating in digital competences at the Best Schools in Spain

In most cases, technology generates an attraction effect but, in the classroom, it must be useful and, once it is not, all interest will be lost. Technology must be useful because it should resolve day-to-day problems and be a differentiating factor to help students in their class projects. Does drawing a PDF file with your hand over a tablet provide any differentiating factor? Probably not. The differentiating factor will be to design a logo for a designer app and know the basic terminology for the layers, colour palette, colour codes and the quality-pixel relationship within a digital design program. If that logo is going to be used in a real situation such as creating a school cooperative or a school team, this will be much better. Technology must be used at the right moment.

Can we do the same project or resolve the same challenge without technology, without Internet access, etc.? Probably. We have always used other resources but the quality or the possibility of researching in greater depth will be hard to match.

Using technology at school

A good use of technology in the classroom is preparing students so that they can be creators, researchers, inventors, etc. Today’s technology will help us build tomorrow’s world. We can see how many large companies such as Uber, BlablaCar, Wallapop and many social media networks were created because technology gave them the opportunity to expand their services and some of them would be pointless without 4G connection on mobile devices. Will our services or needs be created thanks to the technology handled by our youngsters? We prepare our students so that they can create and provide solutions to meet new needs in the future.

At the Best Schools in Spain, we support this change by providing subjects or activities specifically aimed at technology such as educational robotics, where creating and learning about computational thinking or solving problems are key to the students’ education. Programming is a language which has been democratised and it will be more than normal to use in the school environment within a few years. It is a language which must be taught as any other language with which we communicate. In the end, it is the language we use to communicate with machines and it is the only way that they can understand us.

With a sound knowledge base, students can carry out more ambitious projects and activities in their later academic years; such projects could benefit society right now and they will lay the foundations not only for our students’ education but also for tomorrow’s society.

At the Best Schools in Spain, we face a beautiful challenge: to provide our students with excellent resources and knowledge so that they can build a better world.

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