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Digital Fluency - Open Letter to Hon. Nikki Kaye

Thank you for acknowledging the power and potential of Digital Fluency. In 2004 High Tech Youth Network introduced into New Zealand, and the government of the day a comprehensive program of Digital Fluency, inspired by Prof. Mitch Resnick of MIT Media Labs. Prof. Resnick formulated the idea of Digital Fluency and then set about growing a worldwide movement of Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO), or after-school cyber learning centres.

High Tech Youth was the first in New Zealand to implement Prof. Resnick's ideas on Digital Fluency, and in-turn we grew this across the country and then onto the North and South Pacific region. As of today High Tech Youth has just over seven thousand young people and adult mentors working together both in school, after-school and directly within the ICT sector to see how Digital Fluency impacts their community, learning and economic development.

At the heart of Digital Fluency, is not only the connected competencies prized in the high-tech sector nowadays, such as collaborative problem solving, design thinking, empathy and cultural competence, but also the explicit focus of expanding learning from school to the real world.

The backbone of Digital Fluency and Expanded Learning Opportunities therefore is partnership. That is a connection between students and families, communities, schools and the ICT sector itself.

We are very proud that Hon. Minister Nikki Kaye and this Government have appropriated the idea of Digital Fluency, and are honoured that our reporting to the Government over ten years to them on the importance of Digital Fluency, through their investment into High Tech Youth Network since 2006 is now being acknowledged.

The NZ Government supports High Tech Youth Network Expanded Learning Opportunities significantly in the Pacific and the US Government funds the work in the North Pacific. However, the National led Government ceased funding High Tech Youth Networks after school programs for kiwi kids in New Zealand as of June last year. These were spaces where youth from the most marginalised communities in New Zealand came to every day, to work hard and improve their learning and prospects for a better future through jobs and participation in the broadband economy.

It is clear that Hon. Niki Kay and the Ministry of Education believe that Digital Fluency doesn’t require partnership and that they will go-it-alone and burden teachers with more work. Rejecting the efforts of kids from struggle street, and the significant private investment of donors and ICT corporations who have faith in real partnership and a belief that 21st century learning is a global action, and a movement well beyond the classroom – a space indeed our kids have long since left electronically.

Lets back kiwi-kids, lets raise the funds to support the Governments lack of belief in them

Today High Tech Youth is announcing a Give-a-little page to raise $210,000 to fund sixty new After-school Expanded Learning Opportunity programs across New Zealand. We aim to raise this money and donate it to the New Zealand Government (of the day). We are asking people as they back-our-kids, to also back the Political Party they think should be recipients of this donation, by voting online who they think will manage this donation responsibly.

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