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The tech literacy paradox

Young people grow up surrounded by technology

But today, too many have no idea how it all works - and don't fully appreciate how it will shape their futures.

Young people may look like savvy digital natives, but their knowledge is only screen-deep.

They are too often passive consumers, not active creators.

This is the tech literacy paradox.

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Why does it matter?

It's a critical national agenda because tech is shaping the modern world 




to some of society's major challenges 



of economies all over the world 



and more engaged citizens 



and building more inclusive societies 


There's already a social and economic cost to the nation 



12m people don't have the skills to thrive in the digital era

£63 of GDP per year is lost to the UK economy due to digital skills shortages



Young people have misconceptions about technology 


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kids often think words like programming and algorithm are nerdy

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kids think tech is separate from their future and the things they love 

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emphasis on coding seen as hard or scary 

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kids often get mixed messages between limiting screen time and embracing technology 



We need to build a culture of tech literacy, so that young people can face the future confidently - and make the most of tech's power to shape their lives.    



Get the next generation prepared for a digital future. Are you a primary school teacher? The Barefoot programme supports primary educators with the confidence, knowledge, skills and resources to teach computer science. All Barefoot resources are aligned to the curricular for all UK nations. Barefoot also includes FREE high-quality lesson plans and local CPD Workshops. You’ll find everything you need right here.  

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Want to see what it's like to work at BT, learn practical skills to make yourself more employable or apply for a work placement? You’ll find everything you need right here.


Many organisations are working hard to set young people up for success in a digital world.

Tech know-how. The new way to get ahead for the next generation.

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Technology is transforming how we live and work today, offering tremendous opportunity to drive economic growth and prosperity. But without concerted effort, there’s a risk that the digital revolution will entrench existing social challenges.

BT and Accenture Strategy commissioned extensive research to explore the relationship between tech literacy and social mobility in the UK. It tests our shared hypothesis that individuals with higher levels of tech literacy also experience improved professional prospects and greater social mobility.

The report highlights what it will take to make tech know-how the new way to get ahead for the next generation. We hope it will make a valuable contribution to the national debate on shaping a more inclusive economy and society for the future.

Please see below the full report of the findings for you to download and share.

View full report 

Tech know-how. The new way to get ahead for the next generation. 


BT / Ipsos MORI report 

At BT we’ve focussed our initial efforts to build a culture of tech literacy supporting primary school teachers because they play a crucial role in setting children’s attitudes and aspirations.

Through the Barefoot Computing Project, we’ve been alongside them for the past two years.

This study builds on what we’ve learnt via the Barefoot Computing project and brings together the views of 400 primary school teachers across England, Scotland and Wales, as well as teachers and pupils from five schools who have been through the Barefoot Computing Project.

We hope the data and ideas will provide valuable insight into what teachers need to help make tech literacy a new cornerstone of modern education in primary schools, and will act as a spur to all who are committed to taking tech literacy to the next level.

Please see below an executive summary and the full report of the findings, for you to download and share.

View executive summary
View full report
Find out about Barefoot Computing Project


BT Sport lifts the lid on how much tech it takes to bring the best sporting action to your screens

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Latest News


Barefoot workshop sees David to go back to school

Volunteering inspires David to teach a whole school computing skills.


3,000 UK schools have now taken part in a free Barefoot computing workshop

The Barefoot Computing Project works with primary teachers to help them develop the skills they need to teach computer science.