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Australian Government provides grant to enhance digital literacy

Thanks to this new 2016 Digital Literacy School Grant, schools across the country will now receive substantial funding to develop any innovative digital literacy programs. The Australian Department of Education and Training is focusing its efforts to ensure the current generation of students will be able to understand the importance of digital techs in education fully. Children and youths who fall behind with technologies will find themselves with a huge learning gap to fill as our society new teaching methods never stop evolving. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training, explained that the grants would support teachers in implementing new guidance strategies to teach digital learning and skills in secondary and primary schools.

Although the first very first e-book appeared in 1997, they were clunky and underdeveloped devices with very limited functions. Modern e-readers only reached global markets in 2004 as the rapid development of tablet technologies provided the public with a vastly superior user experience. The evolution of e-readers, however, never kept up with the increased market demand. The actual technology is still somewhat lagging behind, and digital books always struggled to take off and substitute traditional paper ones. However, e-learning, as well as the possibility to read through digital devices, may represent an extraordinary opportunity to make our society a more equal one. Children who do not have access to books, in fact, won’t read as much as those who have, creating an even more unbridgeable gap between rich and low-income families. On the other hand, according to a study published in 2016, 85 percent of families living below the poverty line still owned a tablet or phone, so providing youths with a chance to read through their smart devices can be an invaluable opportunity to help their cultural development.

Many governments other than the Australian one are focusing their efforts on enhancing e-learning in schools. Earlier this year, U.S. President Barack Obama launched a vast program to provide more than 1.5 million students with new digital learning technologies for free. Through the Open eBooks program, the U.S. Government invested more than $250 million to buy digital reading material to high, middle and elementary schools. First Lady Michelle Obama tried to raise awareness of the new opportunity for children in low­ income households to receive a high-quality education.

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