The world today is lightyears ahead of the world our predecessors lived in. This is mostly due to the overlapping exponential computational paradigms that are driving us all the way to the Technological Singularity. Increased technology adoption, rapidly interconnecting and globalizing world, increased opportunity for the skilled and able are all implications of the exponential increase in price-performance of technology.
When one looks at the current numbers and demographics of internet adoption across the world, it becomes staggeringly clear as to the disparity that exists within the digital realm. Due to various reasons, large numbers in developed countries and pockets within developing countries have proceeded to leave the rest of the unconnected world, approximately 2/3rds of earth’s populace, behind. Initiatives such as Facebook’s Free Basics, Project Loon by Google have begun to facilitate internet connectivity for the unconnected world through novel technological means. These initiatives will provide the necessary framework to facilitate adoption of internet services, but these alone cannot succeed if digital literacy is still a far-fetched dream for the people that are connected. At a time when traditional educational institutions and instruments are failing to provide the intellectual framework conducive to contemporary requirements, we need to provide another viable option. It is in our urgent interest as a collective to ensure digitally literate citizenry for the 21st century knowledge economy. We need novel techniques of teaching that ensure, not just the industrial age demands of know-what, but also, how-to-use the acquired knowledge.
Digital literacy today is a functional imperative, not just to provide talent for the increasingly technology dominated jobs market, but also to create the next generation of productive and responsible digital citizens. This is the role of a well-formed, technology assisted novel educational system to solve, and this is one of the grand challenges of the 21st century