• Annemette Helth Brandt
Following the launch of the iPad in 2010, children’s digital habits changed radically. Today, chil-dren and youngsters can touch the screen and swipe away the less interesting before they can walk. Alongside the spreading of the iPad, digital online educational platforms were developed from where teaching courses easily can be accessed. With the increasing use of technologies and digital tools and the fact that children born around 2010 and onwards have a far greater digital use than ever, there has been a widespread belief that Danish youngsters are in the digital elite. Despite that many youngsters spend a lot of time on their computers or mobile phones, reality is that their digital competencies and understanding of the most basic digital skills are far from good enough to navigate critically and safely in a digitalized society according to this investiga-tion. Around 20% of young people have no knowledge of tools such as spell check and Appwriter when solving tasks in school. This prompts frustrations, a lot of time waste and the experience of a ‘gap’ between those who can and those who cannot among the students in this investigation. This is partly confirmed by the ICILS report. It paints a picture that Danish youngsters are among the best in relation to those countries we compare ourselves with. However, their investigation shows that about 20% of these youngsters have so bad digital competencies that they need help with a variety of basic software functions and that they need guidance in opening files and “fin-ishing routinely text – and layout editing (translated from Danish).” Furthermore, there is a risk that students in this group get tricked online, because they do not know how to navigate safely on the internet (ICILS - Bundsgaard, Bindslev, Caeli, Pettersson, & Rusmann, 2019).

In this investigation, the digital competencies of a seventh-grade class have been examined through a structured diary method and digital test. It is found that around 20% of the students in the examined class scores at the low digital competencies level. This means that from 2018, where the ICILS report was published, until today, 2022, there has not been a significant change in the digital insight of the students in this seventh-grade class. The diary investigation shows that there are challenges in the students’ digital competencies but there are also other interesting findings from the students’ diaries. It is interesting that the investigation points to a desire among the students to change their own digital skills. In the diaries, over half of the class students write that they want to learn how to use spell check or Txt-Analyser. Also, several of the students reflect upon how the different tools function when they are used in other programmes. For example, that Appwriter does not function properly in online documents which indicates that the students have great insight into their own digital competencies. In everyday life the experi-ence of the teachers are filled with contrasts. There is an experience that to a varied degree the majority of the students are on their way to develop great and reflexive digital competencies. However, a small portion of the students in a class are challenged in using basic tools that are intended as a help, but in practice becomes a barrier to their development. In an organizational perspective, there is a need for change in how we think of education. Not only among the teach-ers, but the investigation also calls for further change in practice. From the discussion, it is clear that there is a myth that youngsters of generation alfa have greater digital competencies than they have in practice where around 20% as mentioned have relatively great challenges.
Publication date1 Jun 2022
Number of pages72
ID: 471713765