In the past, it was essential to learn how to read and write. Nowadays, it’s the familiarity with the digital world that takes the wheel.

The Roots

 

The term digital literacy first emerged in the late 20th century. Back then, it described the ability to type, compose and create content on (image, audio, video, design) with computer technology. In the 21st century, due to the expansion of the Internet, this term expanded from computers to all digital media. Nowadays, digital media are omnipresent, gaining an ever-growing foothold in our everyday lives.

 

As both our professional and private lives become more intertwined with digital media and digital solutions, we have no choice but to effectively adapt to the trend. Plus, there is a new phenomenon that deserves our attention: digital natives.

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Digital Natives

 

People born around the turn of the century never knew a world without technology, without the Internet, social media, or the access to terabytes of information ever-present right at their fingertips. To them, digital literacy is not a matter of habit, but a way of life. While the older generation clearly distinguishes between the offline and online world, the younger one does not.

 

They roam the digital online world with perfect ease. It comes to them as naturally as walking down the street, perhaps even more so. It’s with them from the moment they wake up in the morning, to the moment they go to sleep in the evenings.

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The challenges

 

While the world of digital technology gifted us with heaps of advantages and countless solutions, it also came with many challenges. And understandably, parents worry. How do we make sure children are well-equipped to deal with online bullying, identity theft, that they avoid dangerous individuals, are not exposed to sensitive content, and protect themselves from overexposure? They need to understand that information published online is permanent, and that they have to curate this information meticulously. Let’s be honest, we’ve probably all failed at this at some point. We need the next generation to be better.

 

Solutions

 

The education of digital literacy is nothing new. From an early age, children in primary schools are familiarized with computers, computer programs, digital skills, and digital safety online. This is all great, but often, there’s one thing whose importance that gets undervalued: STEM education.

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Creating technology is the future

 

It’s no longer enough to be a consumer. Children should be able to produce technology as well; to shape it, change it to suit their needs. This is the direction the world is heading: a world of active prosumers (producers + consumers). It began with the media (social networks) and now transgressed into technology itself.

 

We are playing our part in this technological revolution. By teaching children the basics of coding and robotics, Robo Wunderkind is turning them into the kind of explorative prosumers who will understand technology on a deeper level and will be able to change and shape it as they grow older. Their jobs will likely demand it from them. That is why our work is a kind of investment.

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Already, this mission is being performed in primary schools and workshops. For instance, the German NPO Get Your Wings uses Robo Wunderkind kits to teach young children about the world of technology, digital literacy, and safety online. We are looking forward to more such projects and cannot wait to see what the students of today create tomorrow.