ECDL Foundation Blog
April 26, 2016
If I asked you to rate your skills with word processing software on a scale of 1 to 10, then it is pretty likely that you would rate your skills quite highly, maybe an 8 or a 9. But what is that score based on? Does it mean that you know how to do a mail merge, or that you can edit and apply text styles? That’s the problem with self-assessment: everyone measures differently. Add in the tendency for people to overestimate their abilities, and you have the ingredients for a lot of confusion about what people can really do with technology!
March 15, 2016
The latest edition of the year-long e-Skills for Jobs campaign is about to get truly underway as representatives of organisations from around Europe that work to promote digital skills gather in The Hague for the 2016 e-Skills for Jobs High-level Conference. The campaign has been run in several editions over the past six years by the European Commission to raise awareness of the importance of developing workplace digital skills. As long-time supporters of the campaign, we thought we’d share some of our thoughts on the state of digital skills in Europe, and our hopes for how they will develop over the coming year and beyond.
Europe's Digital Renaissance
March 01, 2016
This post was originally published on the BCS Digital Learning blog.
February 18, 2016
Online safety has a lot in common with staying safe in other aspects of our lives. When children learn to cross the street for example, they develop the experience and judgement to use their skills to know when it is safe to cross. Learning skills like applying the ‘green cross code’, help children increase their safety. With online safety, it’s the same: learning how to judge risks and being aware of the dangers that are present on the web, makes it easier for children to stay safe and benefit from the opportunities that the internet offers.
February 09, 2016
It’s no surprise that there is a cost associated with having a poorly skilled workforce, and it is certainly true that businesses and organisations face a real danger from the digital skills gap. As young people are entering the workforce, employers and educators are too frequently making the assumption that they have ‘inherent’ digital skills, or that they are ‘digital natives’. Numerous studies have shown this assumption to be a dangerous fallacy though. There is no particular reason why young people could be born digitally literate, any more than there is a reason they could be born able to drive a car or, indeed, be born literate. Digital literacy, like conventional literacy, is something that needs to be learned. So what are employers risking by assuming their staff have the ICT competencies needed already? What is the cost of digital ignorance?
January 18, 2016
Skills will be high on the European Commission’s agenda this summer, with the anticipated publication of its European Skills Initiative. The document will set out the Commission’s approach to developing skills in Europe, so it represents an important opportunity to ensure that the digital skills of people across Europe are boosted. Indeed, the Initiative is expected to feature digital skills as a core area for development.
December 17, 2015
2015 was another busy year for digital skills. Now that the year is drawing to a close, we thought we’d take a moment to look back at some of the highlights of 2015.
December 02, 2015
New research in the UK has again found that low digital skills are creating a barrier for people who could stand to benefit from using ICT. According to the research, 23% of adults in the UK don’t have basic digital skills. The findings are yet another confirmation that people are lacking the essential skills that they ever increasingly need for everything from work to their private lives.
October 28, 2015
With coding initiatives around Europe, and moves to bring coding into the classroom in many countries, there has been a lot of attention on digital skills lately. But digital skills are far broader than just coding. We’ve argued in our recent position paper that there is a real risk that a focus on coding alone could harm other aspects of computer science and digital literacy education. All young people must have the chance to build a good foundation of digital literacy skills and the possibility to study computing, including coding. But focussing on coding alone could leave today’s students without the skills they need for their studies, and their future in the workforce.
September 16, 2015
We’ve written quite a lot of blog posts here, saying that too many people lack vital digital skills. This argument has been further strengthened with a new study released by ECDL Switzerland, which finds a lack of adequate computer skills in Switzerland, and a lack of awareness of the problem. On average, participants in the study scored less than 50% in a practical test, and more than two-thirds of participants overestimated their computer skills. It is more evidence of a problem that exists around the world. Studies in Mexico, Austria, Germany, Denmark, and the UK, have found similar results. The simple fact is that people lack ICT skills and don’t know it!
More than Two-thirds Overestimated their Skills
August 14, 2015
Summer is here, and across Europe people are kicking-back and relaxing. With schools and universities on holiday, and many workers taking a well-earned break, now’s the perfect time to catch up on all those things that fall by the wayside during the rest of the year. So why not take the opportunity to brush-up your digital skills by doing a summer skills review? After all, knowing how to use a computer can help you in all areas of life, not just at work or study. There’s no time like the present to make sure you’re at the top of your game with digital technology!
June 26, 2015
According to delegates at a recent EU conference, digital literacy is one of the three most important fundamental digital rights. And when you think about it, it is hard to argue against this. Without digital literacy—a decent understanding of how to use the technologies that shape today’s world—people stand little chance of getting by at work or in their private lives. I’ve written before about the difficulties that people can face in dealing with computerised public administrations to apply for things like unemployment benefit, and it is hard to think of many jobs where computers play no role at all. From a delivery driver using logistics software on a tablet or smartphone to guide them, and their deliveries to customers, to the more typical office worker, using word processors and spreadsheets, digital technology has entered almost every part of daily life.
April 10, 2015
Two years into its work, the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs has achieved a lot, and recognising the need to continue pushing to develop digital skills in Europe, DG CONNECT, the EU’s digital department, recently published a blog post titled, ‘Here’s how we will improve digital skills and create more jobs in Europe’. It’s more important than ever to ensure that workers in Europe have the skills that both they, and the economy, need; a fact that is highlighted in the post:
March 27, 2015
Technology is overtaking skills. It is a reality that threatens workers and businesses around Europe. Modern digital technologies can bring enormous benefits to organisations that use them: the internet is reshaping how people do everything from paying their taxes to buying groceries, and companies that have workforces with the right skills become more productive and efficient. However, while fast internet connections and cheaper computers are more available than ever, it is clear that the people using these technologies are not equipped with the skills they need to achieve the most.
March 09, 2015
Ada Lovelace could not have been described as being afraid of computers. Indeed, had ECDL been around in the mid-19th century, the woman considered by many to be the world’s first computer programmer, would most likely have aced all the modules before turning back to shaping ideas of what computers could be for decades to come.
February 10, 2015
Using a computer safely seems to have become pretty difficult recently. From the monumental hack of Sony Pictures, which revealed confidential personal information and secret film scripts, to the recently uncovered hack of Belgian telecom company, Belgacom, online security is a big issue. Most of us don’t have the responsibility of keeping a big part of the world’s communication infrastructure safe, but the techniques used in these attacks have their parallels in more domestic settings.
January 23, 2015
The number one app in the iOS App store recently, ranking above Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and YouTube, was Microsoft Office.
January 14, 2015
Tell me what you think it means to be digitally literate.
January 02, 2015
New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to just be about abstaining from fun and embracing misery. For a healthier digital life, you don’t need to go huffing around the park or ditching your favourite foods. In fact, these digital habits will make your life easier from the get-go. All of these activities are desk-based, easy to maintain and (in at least one case) enjoyable.
December 22, 2014
This past year has been inspiring and eventful in the world of digital education and skills. Here are some of our highlights from 2014…
December 11, 2014
If you compared an employment office of just 10 years ago, with one of today, it is doubtful that you would see many similarities. The rapid rise of online job adverts and even interviews using services such as Skype, mean that before you even have a chance to set foot in a workplace, you need to have basic digital skills.
October 16, 2014
We now spend an incredible 28% of our working weeks reading, writing or responding to email, according to McKinsey Global Institute. It’s obvious that, whether you work in an office or not, knowing what to do with a computer is vital in the modern workplace.
October 03, 2014
September 24, 2014
“Digital skills must become our "fourth literacy" if we are to keep pace with the transformation of business and society that digital technology is creating.”—José Maria Álvarez-Pallete, COO, Telefónica S.A.
August 27, 2014
“I had to prove my ability to use computer applications in order to get promoted to the next level. Because I had an ICDL certification, I was able to prove my skills and got a promotion.”
August 11, 2014
“Teacher training and continued, on-going relevant professional development are essential if benefits from investments in ICTs are to be maximized.”
July 30, 2014
“I compare it with illiteracy. If you’re not able to use the Internet nowadays, you are like somebody who can’t read or write”
Participant on the ECDL & Age Action Ireland e-Citizen certification course
July 28, 2014
“The biggest inhibitor to putting a training program in place is the perception that it will take too much time. Keep in mind, that there is no investment that you can make that will do more to improve productivity in your company.”
Ben Horowitz, Venture Capitalist & Entrepreneur
July 02, 2014
In March 2013, the European Commission launched something new and rather ambitious: a Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs.
June 13, 2014
Did you know, that there are more internet users in Nigeria than the total population of Kenya?
May 15, 2014
On 17 May we’re celebrating World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD), organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
May 06, 2014
Today the e-Skills for Jobs Campaign holds its Grand Event in Athens, Greece.
The event, named “Mobilising to Support Job Creation and Upskilling of the Workforce” covers a topic of great significance to Europe.
April 24, 2014
We need more women working in ICT and as today is Girls in ICT Day 2014, we’re going to remind you why.
April 14, 2014
There’s a common misconception that with the advent of tablets and smartphones, the days of the PC are numbered. Further, some believe that with digital technology becoming an ever more ubiquitous part of our every life, computer training is becoming obsolete.
April 02, 2014
It’s the terrible irony of the modern workplace that technology often puts a greater strain and expectation on workers, when it should be making tasks quicker and easier.
March 27, 2014
This week, from 24 to 30 March, is the annual European Get Online Week.
March 10, 2014
152 million is the latest estimate for how many blogs are on the internet, while 77% of all Internet users read blogs. That’s a big audience, a lot of content, and a lot of bloggers creating it.
March 03, 2014
The science writer JD Bernal once said “Knowledge that is not being used for winning of further knowledge does not remain – it decays and disappears.”
The beauty of the internet is that it’s an indispensable source of knowledge and education beyond measure. The tragedy is that 2 out of 3 people in the world still don’t have access to it.
January 31, 2014
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once claimed public speaking is the number one fear in modern society, before death at number two. Most people would rather be lying in the casket than giving the eulogy, he argued.
January 16, 2014
Every January, around the world, talk turns to New Year’s resolutions, positive change and good intentions. But in fact, many of the ‘join a gym’ and ‘eat more fruit’ resolutions have already been abandoned by mid-January.
January 06, 2014
2013 was an exciting time for digital education and technology. Here’s a reminder of the stories and trends that captured our attention this year.
November 25, 2013
There’s never been a better time to do ECDL / ICDL in school, or better reasons to do so.
November 11, 2013
Let’s start with a simple question: Which one of the following can not be hacked?
- Gas pipeline
- Linkedin mobile app
October 21, 2013
October 14, 2013
ECDL is now 17 years old; older than some of those learning it. A couple of months ago, we heard of a student in England who completed ECDL (GCSE grade B) at 9 years old.
October 11, 2013
The ICT sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, and the roles in it are among the highest-paid jobs, but not all the population is benefitting.
September 30, 2013
In 2000, for the first time in history, there were more people over the age of 60 than children below the age of 5. Soon, over 60s will outnumber those younger than 14.
September 06, 2013
8 September is International Literacy Day.
August 02, 2013
Elance, the online talent marketplace, announced some impressive numbers for Q1 2013.
July 29, 2013
There was interesting news from the UK recently. A new framework for the English National Curriculum was announced by the Department for Education that will roll out in September 2014.
July 08, 2013
The backbone of the European economy is not a network of huge, multinational, billion-euro corporations. This backbone is actually many vertebrae of SMEs; Europe’s source of wealth, R&D, and two out of three private sector jobs.
June 26, 2013
Recently, former US President Bill Clinton was asked how he would solve the skills gap in America, that had reached “crisis point”.
June 24, 2013
At the end of his keynote speech at the Digital Assembly last week, Lord David Puttnam offered the audience an interesting analogy between healthcare and education.
“If you took a brilliant surgeon from 1913 and placed him in an operating theatre today, there is nothing he could do; nothing he could contribute from his skill base. And yet if you take a teacher from 1913, and pop her into a classroom today, in many, many subjects she could teach what all of us would understand as a lesson”.
June 14, 2013
A few years ago, Timothy Prestero and his US-based Design That Matters team, set out to discover how design could reduce infant mortality rates in the developing world.
June 07, 2013
Recent headlines would have us to believe that we’re living in a golden age of over-achieving teenagers.
May 31, 2013
Two weeks ago in London, we launched New ECDL – a major revision of the ECDL and ICDL programme. The main changes included a more flexible certification (take a bow ECDL Profile), better access to lifelong learning (no expiry of your registration) and some new modules.
May 27, 2013
Michael Santos is a published author of several non-fiction books which are assigned texts on university courses. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University in Georgia and a master’s degree from New York’s Hofstra University. He has written for websites including Huffington Post, Forbes, and his website gets thousands of unique visitors a day.
May 02, 2013
Technology connects people, objects and data more than ever before. We can see live traffic data on a smartphone map and we can hail a taxi to our exact location using an app – and we don’t even consider it remarkable.
April 19, 2013
We like this new video from ENISA, the European Network and Information Security Agency.
April 11, 2013
The latest generation, that’s after the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y, is… well they’re still working on the name.
April 05, 2013
Countless TED talks have widened our eyes over the years, but this one by computer scientist Luis von Ahn stands out.
March 01, 2013
BBC News recently reported from a school that is “pushing the boundaries of education”.
February 06, 2013
With life expectancy rising across the globe, it is now much more common for children to grow up while their grandparents, and even their great-grandparents, are living. Grandparenting is consequently becoming increasingly significant in family life. A pan-European survey shows that 58% grandmothers and 50% grandfathers provided regular or occasional childcare to their grandchildren last year.
January 17, 2013
The New Year is a time for predictions, and the technology media in particular enjoy crystal-ball gazing. Commentators cross their fingers and speak authoritively of the next ‘big thing’ - the emergent technology that will define the coming year. A cursory review of online technology publications reveals a flood of these, and it’s interesting to see if there is any common ground in the view expressed.
December 07, 2012
Similarly, parents shouldn’t be taught how to use a computer by their children.
November 05, 2012
For many, mobile technology is indispensable – to the point that they feel a serious degree of separation anxiety when their smartphone is not within arm’s reach. As more and more services are moving online, the providers of those services are also required to make them available for mobile platforms. Whatever about social media platforms, which – due to their reliance on immediate participation – are almost now wholly dependent on users’ mobile access, it is not at all uncommon to see people selecting their television viewing for the weekend whilst commuting to work on a train.
September 19, 2012
As the global recession continues to bite, many graduates from second and third level education, in addition to other job seekers, report that there are “…just no jobs out there.”
July 19, 2012
According to the European Commission’s recently published ‘Digital Agenda Scoreboard 2012’, nearly half (47 per cent) of European workers do not feel confident that their level of computer and/or internet skills are currently sufficient if they were to look for a job or change job within a year.
Keeping Personal Data Safe – it’s as Much About the User’s Behaviour as it is About Where the Data is Stored
June 28, 2012
In relation to the security of data, much attention focuses on whether the cloud is ‘fit for purpose’, or whether an individual’s data is safer if stored on a local server, or even on local drives. Critics of the cloud raise concerns about the integrity of huge, remotely located servers: once the firewall is breached, an enormous breadth of an individual’s or organisation’s data is potentially subject to exploitation. It is almost impossible to assess the validity of this criticism, but the focus does draw attention away from another, potentially more influential, security consideration – that of the actions of the user.
June 12, 2012
Thursday (7 June) was Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) Launch Day, launching the latest version of the Internet.
May 04, 2012
April 16, 2012
An island nation in South Asia, Sri Lanka has a literacy rate of over 90%, which is one of the highest in the region. However, the digital literacy of the country fell far behind, at less than 10% in 2004 (which was the last year such a survey was undertaken), according to its Department of Census and Statistics. Therefore, it was imperative for the Government of Sri Lanka to find a quick but affordable solution to introduce basic digital literacy skills to state employees as well as to its citizens.
March 29, 2012
e-Skills Week 2012 is a European campaign focused on showing people how to get jobs through e-skills in the digital age. Building on the success of e-Skills Week 2010, the European Commission DG for Enterprise and Industry has again teamed up with a variety of key stakeholders to drive awareness of the need for e-skills and their benefits – with a specific emphasis on driving European employment, and ultimately productivity.
March 15, 2012
The high-profile launch of the most recent tablet has some technology commentators speculating that eventually the home computer (laptop or desktop) will eventually become redundant, on account of the predicted trends in how we interact with technology.
March 02, 2012
The European Commission (EC) established the e-Inclusion Awards in 2008 to raise awareness, encourage participation, and recognise excellence and good practice in using ICT and digital technology to tackle social and digital exclusion across Europe, and have recently re-launched them for 2012.
February 15, 2012
ICT can significantly change and improve access to information for blind and visually impaired people; they can read most of the digital content, but only if they possess sufficient computer literacy. Croatia has only 2% of people within this category who have completed higher education, a figure that is well below the EU average. For these reasons, in 2008, interested partners proposed a training project for financing to the Ministry of Health and Social Services in Croatia – with ECDL at the heart of this project.
January 30, 2012
The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), the Singaporean government’s skills and vocational training body, was established with the aim of increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of the country’s working population.
January 18, 2012
To facilitate and promote the employability of Third Level students, the Korean government has, for several years, been continually increasing the levels of funding available to national universities. For this reason, the Korea Productivity Centre (KPC), the South Korean Government Agency responsible for national economic development, which also delivers the ICDL programme in Korea, has been leveraging government funds that have allowed for the creation of what is called the ‘University Capacity Building Project’.
December 19, 2011
Kosovo’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) has, in recent years, initiated a campaign of initiatives aimed at developing the country’s educators’ skills. Through the Kosovo Education Reform Programme, the government aims to establish an environment of quality in education, inclusiveness, diversity, lifelong learning, and continuous human resource development.
December 01, 2011
When the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport was looking to equip its employees with the necessary skills to operate newly-installed technologies, it required a computer skills certification with global recognition, as well as one that covered the competences necessary for today’s workplace. With these criteria in mind, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport selected the ICDL1 certification as their preferred method to increase employee efficiency, and to improve the level of service provided to the public.
November 08, 2011
Toyota Tsusho Africa, a company that provides supply chain solutions for the Japanese automotive giant, selected ICDL as its preferred computer skills qualification for certifying its administrative staff, in order to improve overall productivity at the company, and to ensure the company’s information management systems were properly utilised. The flexibility of learning different modules in any order, and the reputation as an internationally recognised qualification, made ICDL a practical solution for Toyota Tsusho, whose employees come from different educational backgrounds.
October 27, 2011
With over 1,500 stores, SPAR is the second largest grocery chain in Austria, with a turnover of over €5 billion annually. SPAR has over 34,000 employees, making it the biggest private employer in Austria. SPAR is also the largest provider of apprenticeships in Austria, taking on approximately 900 trainees each year.
September 28, 2011
This month marked the occasion of International Literacy Day, a UNESCO initiative aimed at eradicating illiteracy globally. Even today, almost 12 years into the new millennium, there are still an estimated 796 million adults worldwide who lack adequate reading and writing skills.1
August 26, 2011
A recent article published by IREX1, a not-for-profit organisation that supports initiatives in education and development, serves to illustrate the benefits that access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can bring to people’s lives – particularly to those living in isolated rural areas.
Depositing Large Volumes of Educational Content Online Portals Will Not Improve Standards in Developing Countries
August 04, 2011
The use of ICT to improve education standards in developing countries is a subject that has attracted a considerable level of international attention and, as with all matters relating to development, has also generated many divergent opinions.
July 20, 2011
Last month saw an occasion of historic importance in the development of the Internet. On 20 June, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the not-for-profit organisation which controls the assignment of internet domain names, voted to launch between 400 and 800 new generic top-level domains at their conference in Singapore. Top-level domains (TLDs) are the part that appears at the end of a domain name - .com, .net, .org – and represent the highest level in the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy.
July 05, 2011
In a recent speech, Vice-President of the European Commission and European Digital Agenda Commissioner, Neelie Kroes, warned that the gender imbalance within the ICT sector must be addressed if the European ICT sector is to continue to grow over the coming years, and if Europe is to experience a period of sustained economic growth. Speaking at the Women in Science, Innovation and Technology conference, held to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s day in March of this year, Vice-President Kroes highlighted the fact that the European ICT sector will face a shortfall of 700,000 qualified workers by 2015 – a figure that is partly attributable to the lack of female engineering and computing graduates.1
June 02, 2011
This month marks the first anniversary of the Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE), the European Commission’s flagship initiative to create a vibrant digital economy across the European Union by 2020. The DAE aims to stimulate the economy, increase education levels throughout the workforce and promote social inclusion through higher levels of digital literacy and ICT skills development.
May 04, 2011
At a policy level, internet safety is a thorny issue. Those who create policy in this area must balance the need to allow individuals the freedom to benefit from an increasingly essential communication and information resource with the need to protect the vulnerable from those who will inevitably exploit this level of connectivity.
April 13, 2011
In recent decades, teaching methods have become much more progressive. Educators are willing to embrace new tools and aids in order to communicate their subject to their students.
March 09, 2011
One of the key aims of the European Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe is, in the short term, to dramatically reduce the number of Europeans that have never used the Internet (currently at 30%), and ultimately to get every European online.
February 14, 2011
It is hard to say whether the increased amount of information available online has produced the need for individuals and organisations to be able to access and share it more easily, or whether the ongoing developments in technology have, by making it so easy to share information, created an insatiable appetite for its availability.
January 28, 2011
The USA is often praised as a society in which those who are diligent and brave enough will not be denied success because of such old-world concepts as class distinctions or birth-right. To some extent this is true; the pioneer quality of being self-made is generally an asset rather than a hindrance. However the education system is far from being a level playing field (where is it?), and third-level education, in comparison to other parts of the world, can be prohibitively expensive.
December 26, 2010
As the world becomes increasingly technology-dependent, the lack of access to ICT infrastructure and the lack of skills of some individuals and groups to utilise technology leads to what is called the digital divide. This gulf is best known when it relates to the disparity of ICT access between the citizens of developing countries and those of more developed countries (referred to as the international digital divide), yet it also occurs within societies, and can lead to considerable social exclusion.
November 29, 2010
As Europe’s youngest country – both in relation to its age, and the age of its population – the Republic of Kosovo has been faced with all of the trials of youth, yet it is also extremely well positioned to learn from the experiences (and perhaps mistakes) of its older, more established neighbours.
October 06, 2010
Over the years, a lot has been written and spoken about the concept of best practice. It is assumed that through projects, initiatives, modes of behaviour and governance that have been a success in the past, we can determine better ways of doing things in the future. The concept of best practice and what should be done ‘going forward’ is concerned with learning from our successes – either through well-thought out innovation, or by lucky accident that led to a more desirable outcome.
September 26, 2010
When the phrase “the digital divide” was coined in the 1990s it had not really taken into account that there can be a distinct gulf in ICT access levels actually within a country (even a developed one), and referred specifically to the disparity in access between more developed and less developed countries.
Just because the definition has matured and broadened, it does not mean that the more international divide has diminished. However, the situation is being addressed, and a whole field of work and study has emerged as to how ICT access (both infrastructure and skills) can be used as a means of sustainable development, and for capacity building.
August 15, 2010
It may be an emotive policy card that has been overplayed by politicians in recent decades, but that does not take away from its importance. Sentiments such as “the school children of today are the leaders of the future” are clichéd, but they do also have merit. If a country is to have a chance of being competitive in the future, it is vital that the education policies of the present are well thought out, inclusive, and relevant to the projected needs of national and international economies – and ICT education policies are no exception.