DQ – Developing Next Generation Digital Skill Sets

This year as a learning technology team we evaluated ideas on what the 2020 Learners (student/teacher/environment) will look like. Thinking around this included behaviours, learning preferences and systems, future workplace skills and attitudes. Our focus homed in on the learner as central, as opposed to specific devices or technologies which continually change over time.

Often I mention to staff that “It’s not about apps, but what you do with them that matters”. For our presentation the quote we selected was:

“The technology you use impresses no-one. The experience you create with it is everything. “Sean Gearty.

Today, I was interested to read ‘8 digital skills we must teach our children‘ on the World Economic Forum. The article references a difference between how children and adults use technology and the uncertainty felt by some parents & educators in how to approach or advise children living increasingly connected lives. Yuhyun Park, Chair at the infollutionZERO Foundation calls this a ‘digital gap‘.

My attention was drawn to the language used, denoting a shift in emphasis from digital safeguarding & specific or 21st Century skills towards digital attitudes underpinned by values and ‘a critical need … to equip them with digital intelligence.’

As we develop pedagogy to embrace future skills, I really like the terminology introduced by the DQ Project, which resonated loudly with me. DQ define Digital Intelligence as:

“… a set of social, emotional and cognitive abilities that enable individuals to face the challenges and adapt to the demands of digital life.”

In the model below, DQProject outline eight interconnected areas which I feel are relevant. They encompass personal & social agency, digital awareness and emotional intelligence.

DQ #2
Source: World Economic Forum, June 2016.

I’ll be sharing this diagram with colleagues and am keen to explore these areas with our students, to see how they interpret them.

Our Year 6 students are about to move to Senior School. We engage them in discussions about future skills, and what may (or may not) be skills in practice when they become school leavers.

We also land the message that they are the designers and architects of our future systems, and it’s Ok to not yet know what that landscape looks like. It is their future, and in essence, theirs to plot and design.

We are proud to have developed a JSL Learner Profile that incorporates 8 learner behaviours, highlighting the need for well rounded, social, inquisitive as well as academic students. Moreover, getting to know more about ‘the whole person’ became a crucial attribute to build core values underpinning academic standards for our teaching team.

Embedded language and behaviours in relation to the Learner Profile enabled both students and staff to articulate learning preferences, strengths and weaknesses. [8 Profile areas = Self-Directed, Effective Communicator, Creative Innovator, Technologically Astute & Confident Contributor].

It was wonderful to read Ms. Park’s explanation that “the acquisition of these [DQ] abilities should be rooted in desirable human values such as respect, empathy and prudence. These values facilitate the wise and responsible use of technology – an attribute which will mark the future leaders of tomorrow”.

I agree, and believe it is crucial to teach understanding and awareness of the impact of our digital behaviours alongside helping young people develop as people. By learning to make good choices, build social skills and develop personal & social capital, they will be well-equipped to play key roles in designing the digital landscape of the future.

Article Source:  8 digital skills we must teach our children.

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