(P1) Children’s growing use of mobile devices may HAMPER their learning of key technology skills, says a report.

(P2) An Australian educational research group noted a “significant decline” in technological LITERACY since 2011.

(P3) Its report said children learned very different skills on tablets and smartphones from the technology skills that are required for the workplace.

(P4) The report by Australia’s National Assessment Programme looked at technology literacy among two groups of children – one just leaving primary school and another in its fourth year of secondary school. More than 10,500 students TOOK PART in the study.

(P5) The report compared digital literacy scores from 2011 with those from a survey carried out in late 2014.

(P6) “This report shows a significant decline in technological literacy performance,” the report said.

(P7) “These declines in performance are CONCERNING and WARRANT serious attention,” said the report.

(P8) The online survey asked children to complete a variety of tasks including: using a blog and search engine; making invitations using GRAPHICS software; completing online REGISTRATION forms and using social media to promote an event; setting up a tablet and installing apps; creating an animated video about water safety and uploading files.

(P9) Tablets and smartphones were making children COMPETENT at using many forms of online communication, the report said, at the expense of more advanced skills.

(P10) The report warned against ASSUMING that children who use tablets and other PORTABLE devices were more widely competent with technology.

(P11) “We cannot expect students to become PROFICIENT on important employability and life skills, just by using computing devices for games and social interaction,” it said. “They also need to be taught the relevant knowledge, understanding, and skills.”

(P12) Computer expert Eben Upton said the Australian research presented some “interesting” conclusions.

(P13) “It’s always been my belief that many PLATFORMS don’t encourage real computer literacy because there is a difference being a consumer and being a producer,” he told the BBC.

(P14) This makes sense. Watching television or using a refrigerator doesn’t make you an engineer, AFTER ALL. As devices become easier to use, fewer skills are learned in doing so.

(P15) “There’s a place for tablets in education, but we need to get away from the idea that knowing how to pinch-zoom makes your TODDLER the next Bill Gates,” Upton said.

WORDS: 376



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Do you have to be very technologically knowledgeable for your job?
  3. Do you think it is important for young people to learn tech skills such as writing SOFTWARE CODE?
  4. Do you prefer using a laptop computer, tablet computer, or smartphone? Or do you use each for different TASKS?
  5. Will the number of people who truly understand how technology works always remain a MINORITY?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Take part
  • After all
  • Software code


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