Policy Brief: Is the “Net Generation” Ready for Digital Citizenship?

Perspectives from the IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study 2013

The rise of digital information and communication technologies (ICT) has made the acquisition of computer and information literacy (CIL) a leading factor in creating an engaged, informed, and employable citizenry.

However, are young people, often described as “digital natives” or the “net generation,” developing the necessary CIL skills?

The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) explored this question in its recently conducted study of the CIL acquisition of lower-secondary students in 21 countries worldwide. Our exploration of findings from this study, titled the International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS), led to us making three policy recommendations:

  1. Make acquisition of CIL skills a core education initiative 
    Findings from ICILS support the notion that we should not assume students are “digital natives”—young people who naturally acquire CIL skills (Prensky, 2001). Instead, the findings suggest that young people require targeted educational initiatives and strategies to develop effective CIL skills.

  2. Promote strategies for aligning CIL acquisition inside and outside of schools
    ICILS findings suggest that policies directed toward increasing CIL skills have to recognize the importance of linking ICT use inside and outside of schools.

  3. Invest in CIL-related teacher education and professional development
    Many schools have invested heavily in ICT hardware and software. ICILS findings suggest that commensurate investments are warranted in teacher education and professional development.

Available through: 

ICILS 2013

International Computer and Information Literacy Study

Policy Briefs...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 (All day)
Ryan Watkins, Laura C. Engel, Dirk Hastedt
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