Moving from Digital Access to Digital Readiness

Access to technology isn’t enough – students, teachers, and parents have to understand how to use the technology in a meaningful way to assist with education. A new study from the Pew Research Center, while focusing on adults, provides helpful insights on what digital readiness means for formal and informal learning and the skills students will need to help them be life-long learners.

The report cites three main characteristics of digital readiness.

  1. Digital skills: skills necessary to initiate an online session, surf the internet and share content online.
  2. Trust: people’s beliefs about their capacity to determine the trustworthiness of information online and safeguard personal information.
  3. Use: the degree to which people use digital tools in the course of carrying out online tasks.

In answer to the question as to whether the respondents are digitally ready for learning, five key groups emerged.

  1. Digitally Ready (17%): Confident in their online skills, display little hesitation about finding information online that they trust, are familiar with the emerging “ed tech” world, and have the technology assets to take advantage of it.
  2. Cautious Clickers (31%): Relatively aware of new “ed tech” concepts, but they are less likely to engage in personal learning either offline or online.
  3. The Reluctant (33%): They do not express much worry about being able to trust online information, but their confidence with computers and other electronic devices is a bit below average.
  4. Traditional Learners (5%): Small set of adults who are active learners, but not very keen on using technology to pursue their learning.
  5. The Unprepared (14%): Though half engage in basic lifelong learning activities such as reading “how to” magazines or other publications of interest, they do not venture too far beyond that.

Additional factors are also noted as impacting digital readiness and participation in personal and professional learning. These include socio and economic demographics, educational attainment, the amount of technology readily available, and library use.

Read Digital Readiness Gaps, Pew Research Center (September 20, 2016).


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