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Computer Literacy Skills Key to future Economic Success

Chattanooga, Tennessee (USA)
April 7, 2014 by Clhoé Morrison
Hackathons part of increased emphasis on web/computer literacy & other STEM topics.(Photo: Contributed)

Emphasis on the value of web and computer science skills has spiked in recent years, and we’re not talking about floppy discs and typing skills.

Today, educators and community leaders are stressing skills, such as coding and robotics in hopes of engaging young people in STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The future economy may depend
on it.

"Industry leaders and tech-related organizations have begun to demand that we teach these skills in order to keep up with the demands of the world around us," Sammy Lowdermilk, program director of the upcoming Tennessee Code Academy, said.

Between 2010 and 2020 the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be 1.2 million job openings in computing professions.

The skills gap is increasing, Lowdermilk said.

And it will be costly if there aren’t enough trained people to fill the positions.

Tennessee Code Academy
The Tennessee Code Academy is one of at least two upcoming events through which leaders aim to expose young people to these skills.

And it's just one example of the increased focus on STEM and web literacy in the area.

In June 2012, Chattanooga was chosen as one of 25 cities nationwide to partner in a White House initiative called US Ignite, which aims to promote United States leadership in developing uses for high-speed broadband Internet.

Leaders with US Ignite work closely with officials at the National Science Foundation and Mozilla—the tech company behind open-source browser Firefox.

For the Gig City, these partnerships have meant good things, such as the Gigabit Community Fund, which is a $150,000 fund for Chattanooga projects that utilize the gig to improve education and workforce development.

“We are excited about the increased number of coding opportunities,” Cleary said. “We really feel like we helped start that conversation. And it’s an all-boats-rise situation.”


What a sad state of affairs when lack of literacy can push a people to favor war. Despite keeping track of literacy rates around the world, we are constantly stunned when we come across such headlines. The need to bring awareness and seriously tackle the lack of literacy has never been so great! The Editor, RadioLiteracyOne.

The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want U.S. to intervene

The Washington Post (USA), April 7, 2014
By Kyle Dropp, Joshua D. Kertzer & Thomas Zeitzoff 
Joshua Tucker: The following is a guest post from political scientists Kyle Dropp (Dartmouth College) Joshua D. Kertzer (Harvard University) &  Thomas Zeitzoff  (Princeton University)
Since Russian troops first entered the Crimean peninsula in early March, a series of media polling outlets have asked Americans how they want the U.S. to respond to the ongoing situation.  Although two-thirds of Americans have reported following the situation at least “somewhat closely,” most Americans actually know very little about events on the ground — or even where the ground is.

On March 28-31, 2014, we asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans (fielded via Survey Sampling International Inc. (SSI), what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: In addition to measuring standard demographic characteristics and general foreign policy attitudes, we also asked our survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. We wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views. We found that only one out of six Americans can find Ukraine on a map, and that this lack of knowledge is related to preferences:
The farther their guesses were from Ukraine’s actual location, the more they wanted the U.S.  to intervene with military force.
Ukraine: Where is it?
Scholars such as Markus Prior have used pictures to measure visual knowledge, but unlike many of the traditional open-ended items political scientists use to measure knowledge, distance enables us to measure accuracy continuously: People who believe Ukraine is in Eastern Europe clearly are more informed than those who believe it is in Brazil or in the Indian Ocean.
                                                  ...cont'd 2nd column

New 'World-Leading' Research Centre launched to improve Adult Literacy and Numeracy
Think, Educate, Share
London (England)

April 8, 2014 by Darren Evans
A “world-leading” research center will be set up in England to improve adult literacy and numeracy, the government announced today.

The new Behavioral Insights Research Center for Maths and English will be launched with a £2.9 million three-year start-up grant from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Run in partnership with the Behavioral Insights Team, often called the Nudge Unit, a former government institution, the new center will conduct comprehensive research, trials and analysis into adult literacy and numeracy.

It will look at the best ways to motivate people to improve their English and maths and how to develop flexible ways of learning that fit in with people’s lives and meet the needs of employers.

It is part of the government’s efforts to tackle the growing number of young adults who lack level 2 English and maths qualifications – equivalent GCSE grades A*-C

Skills minister Matthew Hancock said: “This new center will team world-leading academic researchers with our best and brightest policy makers to give scientific insights into how adults best gain skills in English and maths and the ways in which government can apply these methods to benefit the highest possible number of people.”

David Halpern, chief executive of the Behavioral Insights Team, said: “We will be working together [with BIS] over the coming months to mobilize the center and look forward to delivering results over the next few years that make a real difference to the lives of people across the UK."

The news was welcomed by adult education body Niace, which said that it was looking forward to working with the new center. Its chief executive, David Hughes, said it showed the government was serious about supporting more adults to improve their skills.

“A deeper understanding of the different and new approaches which are needed to be able to persuade and motivate people to face the challenge of learning new skills will be invaluable,” he said.

“We know people with maths and English difficulties have differing needs, and therefore need different starting points, different engagement strategies and differing progression routes. Setting up this research center will help us to design learning and education to match those differing needs.”



About one in six (16%) Americans correctly located Ukraine. Most thought that Ukraine was located somewhere in Europe or Asia, but the median respondent was about 1,800 miles off — roughly the distance from Chicago to Los Angeles — locating Ukraine somewhere in an area bordered by Portugal on the west, Sudan on the south, Kazakhstan on the east, and Finland on the north.
Who is more accurate?
Accuracy varies across demographic groups. In general, younger Americans tended to provide more accurate responses than their older counterparts. Interestingly, members of military households were no more likely to correctly locate Ukraine (16.1% correct) than members of non-military households (16%  correct). Unsurprisingly, college graduates (21% correct) were more likely to know where Ukraine was than non-college graduates (13% correct), but even 77% of college graduates failed to correctly place Ukraine on a map.

Does accuracy matter?

Previous research would suggest yes: Information, or the absence thereof, can influence Americans’ attitudes about the kind of policies they want their government to carry out and the ability of elites to shape that agenda.
Our results are clear, but also somewhat disconcerting: The less people know about where Ukraine is located on a map, the more they want the U.S. to intervene militarily.






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