Beyond computer literacy: Supporting youth's positive development through technology

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Abstract

In a digital era in which technology plays a role in most aspects of a child's life, having the competence and confidence to use computers might be a necessary step, but not a goal in itself. Developing character traits that will serve children to use technology in a safe way to communicate and connect with others, and providing opportunities for children to make a better world through the use of their computational skills, is just as important. The Positive Technological Development framework (PTD), a natural extension of the computer literacy and the technological fluency movements that have influenced the world of educational technology, adds psychosocial, civic, and ethical components to the cognitive ones. PTD examines the developmental tasks of a child growing up in our digital era and provides a model for developing and evaluating technology-rich youth programs. The explicit goal of PTD programs is to support children in the positive uses of technology to lead more fulfilling lives and make the world a better place. This article introduces the concept of PTD and presents examples of the Zora virtual world program for young people that the author developed following this framework.

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