Information and communication technologies revolutionise not only the speed at which information can be transmitted, but also how information is conveyed and received.
Technological innovations have a profound effect on the types of skills that are demanded in today’s labour markets and the types of jobs that have the greatest potential for growth.
Most of these jobs now require some familiarity with, if not mastery of, navigating through digital material where readers determine the structure of what they read rather than follow the preestablished order of text as presented in a book.
PISA 2009 evaluated not only how proficient 15-year-olds are in gathering and processing information that they acquire when reading printed texts, but also how proficient they are in reading digital material. PISA found that some countries have been far more successful than others in helping students to equip themselves to participate fully in the digital age.
For example, more than 17% of students in Australia, Korea and New Zealand are top performers in digital reading, while fewer than 3% of students in Austria, Chile and Poland achieve that level of performance. Korea recently developed a “Smart Education” policy that includes digitalising all textbooks and assessments by 2015, building or improving school infrastructure so that it accommodates new technologies, and training teachers in the use of these technologies.