We talk a lot about digital skills, but digital skills are a means to an end: they enable people to engage in digital practices. Our own digital practices – the ways in which we habitually use digital technology ourselves – can lead us to make assumptions about how ‘everybody’ should be taught to use digital technology.
In the first of a series of Essential Digital Skills thought pieces by authors from across the sector, Jo Dixon draws on her own experience supporting digital skills development amongst teachers and adult learners of ESOL to show how exploring learners’ current practices can help learners develop digital skills in small steps.
Read ‘Supporting digital skills: the importance of understanding and valuing everyday digital practices’ and join the conversation on social media by using #EDSThoughts.
The Covid-19 pandemic has both exposed a deep digital divide that has existed for decades and it exacerbated inequality by leaving millions of people cut off from essential services and support as well as human contact with loved ones. In the second of a series of Essential Digital Skills ‘Thought Pieces’, Group Chief Executive for the Good Things Group in the UK and Australia Helen Milner OBE argues that digital inclusion can no longer be seen as a nice to have – it’s now a need to have.
Read ‘Learning digital skills and closing the digital divide’ and join the conversation on social media by using #EDSThoughts.
When thinking about teaching digital skills, whether directly as an Essential Digital Skills (EDS) course or embedded into other courses and subjects, it is also important to think about the skills and experiences of the teaching staff who will deliver these qualifications and develop these skills in our learners. In the third of a series of Essential Digital Skills ‘Thought Pieces’, Mel Coleman of South Thames Colleges Group explain what she has discovered.
Read ‘Upskilling staff – a cultural shift’ and join the conversation on social media by using #EDSThoughts.
In the fourth of a series of Essential Digital Skills ‘Thought Pieces’, Emma Watson OBE of Digital Unite argues that not only do practitioners need to think about how developing their learners’ digital skills will develop their learning capacity overall, they must also address the more pressing pandemic-provoked question of how they do this remotely. Looking ahead, she considers what other opportunities the pandemic-influenced digital skills response might provoke for practitioners and for learners.
Read ‘What can we learn from the experience of Digital Champions working remotely? How have they continued to engage and support learners?’ and join the conversation on social media by using #EDSThoughts.
This article, by Mary Moss, a member of the ETF’s Essential Digital Skills CPD support programme delivery team, reviews some of the current literature to gain an understanding of what constitutes effective digital practice.
Read ‘Effective practice in teaching essential digital skills – an account of a rapid literature review’ and join the conversation on social media by using #EDSThoughts.
In the fifth of a series of Essential Digital Skills ‘Thought Pieces’, Novus Digital Learning Lead Steve Grix focuses on the importance of digital skills to learners in the Prison Education Framework.
Read ‘The Third Functional Skill: We should embed digital skills in all learning activities’ and join the conversation on social media by using #EDSThoughts.
Dr Sue Pember CBE, Policy Director for Holex, considers the increased importance of digital skills for adult learners as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the challenges that must be overcome, including how and by whom they can be most effectively taught.
Read ‘Entitlement for Essential Digital Skills (EDS) Qualifications – Adult and Community Education’ and join the conversation on social media by using #EDSThoughts.
Emma Langlois, Digital Skills and Preparation for Work Curriculum Manager at Manchester Adult Education, reflects on the lessons that have been learned during the implementation of its Digital Skills for Beginners course.
Read “Delivering foundation digital skills to beginner learners” and join the conversation on social media by using #EDSThoughts.
Sarah Knight, Head of Learning and Teaching Transformation at Jisc, looks at the findings of its recent research on learners’ experiences and expectations of digital learning and asks what can be learnt from them.
Read “What is an effective digital experience for learners?” and join the conversation on social media by using #EDSThoughts.
Drawing on research with ESOL practitioners in formal and informal settings, Head of Essential and Life Skills at Learning and Work Institute Alex Stevenson reflects on the links between basic digital skills and other basic skills, including literacy and ESOL.
Read “Effective digital skills teaching in the context of digital exclusion: ESOL and non-formal learning” and join the conversation on social media by using #EDSThoughts.
As of September 2020, adults aged 19+ with no or low digital skills are now entitled to take EDS qualifications free of charge under the Adult Education Budget, in line with existing entitlements for English and maths.
The new standards cover five areas:
In 2019, DfE commissioned the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) to deliver the start of blended CPD programme to prepare teachers, trainers and leaders to deliver the new qualifications based on the standards. The ETF commissioned a team led by Sero Consulting with DESQ, Angela Sanders and SkillsLogic to deliver the programme, which was designed around a blended training model with four modes of delivery:
All online elements of the programme are hosted on the ETF’s Enhance Digital Teaching Platform alongside the ETF’s Educational Technology (EdTech) offer based on the Digital Teaching Professional Framework.
The first phase of the EDS workforce development programme was fully launched on 17 February 2020 and concluded on 31 March. It proved popular and interest in the online resources has continued.
The second phase of the Essential Digital Skills CPD programme has now launched, delivered by the same team and responding to feedback from the sector (click below for more information).
A rich and diverse programme of training and professional development has been designed including the following core elements:
Community of practice:
Pedagogy and evidence-based practice programme:
Initially all CPD events will be hosted online but it is hoped to run some face-to-face events from January 2021 onwards.
To see the CPD events currently available and to book your place, please visit the ETF booking system.
The programme is supported by an Advisory Group including members of the original Consultation Group which helped to inform the design of the programme. The Advisory Group includes representatives from all the pathways indicated above.
All elements of the programme are fully-funded by the Department for Education and are therefore free to the sector.
For providers wishing to take advantage of the online Essential Digital Skills offer on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform, there is a new Management Dashboard facility to enable tracking and reporting on staff progress completing EDS self-assessments and modules and gaining digital badges. This enables providers to harness the free resources on the platform as part of a structured CPD programme.
Subscription to the Management Dashboard is currently free for a period up to 31 January 2021. To subscribe please visit the ETF booking site.
The following assets are available to help you raise awareness about the essential digital skills professional development programme in your organisation:
To keep in touch with the programme developments, please contact Sero Consulting.