Digital skills beyond 2012

At the end of November NIACE ran a national conference in Westminster – ‘Our Digital future’ . It addresses twin themes of over coming the digital divide we face now but also it posed tyhe question about Digital skills adults will be needed beyond our current target date of 2012 set by the Race Online campaign.

This second question of future skills is really important and I think the event gave use some really helpful pointers. Gennie Dixon from E Skills UK introduced me for the first time to the term ‘buttonology’ to describe skills of pressing buttons in the right order to make things work. She argues that we are moving on from a strong focus on software training this to the need to train in what she described as ‘softer skills’. These included the employability skills of time management, customer care and so on but also the media literacy skills of judging content and creation of a digital identify. Other speakers and delegates endorsed this view. However, it is still unclear to me whether we know how much of this can be be learned informally and ‘on the job’ and how much we should frame in curriculum and assessment. My gut feeling is that our next task is to raise the game and argue that content creation and digital identify are major elements of a skill for life.

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