Article by Joe Camicia posted on The Tech Blog on 7/9/09

Today we held our first meeting of the Digital Literacy Leadership Council that was established by Governor’s Executive Order 06-09 to, among other things, develop policy that will promote digital literacy for all Californians. Chaired by the State CIO, the Council includes the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, the Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing, and the Secretary of State and Consumer Affairs.

The “digital divide” is a serious issue in California. For example, less than half of Latinos have home computers and only 32% of Californians are confident about using the Internet, according to a recent poll by the PPIC. More than 56% of parents indicate they visit their children’s school websites, but only 30% of those with household incomes indicate doing so, as compared with 84% of those with incomes of $80,000 or more.

The Governor’s Executive Order (EO) is designed to promote digitally literacy for Californians and recognize the importance of access to Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), regardless of income, geographic location or advantage. One goal of the Council is to develop a California ICT Digital Policy intended to provide opportunities and measurable benchmarks to encourage the digital literacy skills of residents, students and workers throughout the state. The EO calls for an Action Plan for accomplishing these goals sent to the Governor by the end of 2009.

To help develop the policy, the EO also calls for the establishment of the ICT Digital Literacy Advisory Committee to include representatives of entities with an interest in ICT Digital Literacy, such as the California Economic Strategy Panel, California Workforce Investment Board, State Board of Education, California Community Colleges, California State University, University of California, public-purpose private-sector organizations such as the California Emerging Technology Fund, California Business Roundtable, California Chamber of Commerce, American Electronics Association, TechNet, and leaders from the private sector. The Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate and Assembly have also been invited to each appoint a Legislator to serve on the Advisory Committee.

In today’s meeting, we discussed the formation of the Advisory Committee which will dig into the details of the policy and prepare the actual curriculum to serve as a model for educators. Stay tuned for more details to follow!