Project NextTech Aims to Teach Digital Literacy

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A new program from Learning.com has made available a two-semester digital literacy course for high school students.

The two semester course, Project NextTech, offers participants project-based instruction in order to attain technological proficiency, information literacy and media literacy skills, all of which appear to be necessary to succeed in today’s ever-increasingly digital world.

According to a new policy report released by the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), over the next 15 years, it is expected that 10,000 baby boomers will be retiring each day.  By 2025, it is estimated that the millennial generation, which they call the “tech generation,” having never grown up without cell phones or the Internet, will comprise 75% of the workforce.

Course content is expected to be derived from curriculum developed by the nonprofit Generation YES, which has been amassed over years of research in addition to student and teacher feedback.  The course will address 24 performance indicators within the ISTE Standards for Students, and will be aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TA-TEKS) for high school curriculum, which addresses all portions of the Fundamentals of Computer Science TA-TEKS.

The course will focus on three main topics, including technology literacy, information literacy and media literacy.  Students will gain technology skills that will enable them to decipher the correct tools to use for the context, task and audience they are dealing with in every situation.

In addition, students will be taught to locate and access information, evaluate that information and then use it in an effective and ethical way.  Students will also learn to evaluate and analyze all forms of media.  All of this will help course students to become college- and career-ready.

“The competitive global economy demands sound digital literacy and formal technology skills,” said Keith Oelrich, Learning.com CEO. “Project NextTech ensures graduates leave school with a solid foundation of skills to succeed in postsecondary education and the 21st century workplace.”

Across two semesters, Project NextTech is divided among four nine-week sessions, each containing eight weeks of instruction and one week of projects.  Each session contains a teacher preparation section, a student overview as well as performance-based activities that will be used to evaluate student understanding.

The focus on project-based work throughout the course hopes to help students decide on their strengths and interests prior to high school graduation, allowing them to make informed decisions pertaining to future careers, writes Jennifer Aalgaard for Getting Smart.

Learning.com recently released another program, called the Digital Citizenship App, which aims to show students how to protect themselves while online.