ECDL Foundation Newsletter - July 2016

As many of us prepare for the summer break, we are bringing you a special edition of the newsletter, with a look at some highlights from our blog and news articles. From computing and digital literacy in education, to the danger of self-assessing digital skills, we have covered many important topics in this newsletter, alongside news of developments for ECDL and ICDL around the world.

Highlights from the Blog

Perception & Reality: Measuring digital skills

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? Our report on the self-assessment of digital skills found shocking gaps between the skills people thought they had, and the skills they really had.

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What Does it Take to be an Entrepreneur?

Starting and running a business is a big step for anyone to take. Your world revolves around activities like coming up with a business plan, finding funding, building relationships with customers and marketing your products, registering with the authorities, solving day-to-day problems and handling the day-to-day administrative tasks like accounting and taxes. These have always been part of getting a new business off the ground and of developing and running existing businesses, and it is likely that they will remain so into the future. But just as technology has changed the face of work and society, it has brought major changes to the way business operate, opening the door to lots of opportunities and benefits. But to make the most of this new world, fledgling entrepreneurs and established business owners alike need to know how to take advantage of the opportunities that technology offers.

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New Skills Agenda for Europe Could Bring Digital Skills to Millions

The European Commission unveiled its New Skills Agenda for Europe in June, featuring a number of measures to boost literacy, numeracy and digital skills across Europe. It forms part of the EU’s work to boost the European economy, and help European countries to be more competitive internationally. The inclusion of digital skills at the heart of the Agenda signals a significant step towards raising the level of digital competences for people around the continent.

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Future Jobs and Europe’s Recovery Will Rely on Digital Skills

The latest edition of the year-long e-Skills for Jobs campaign got truly underway as representatives of organisations from around Europe that work to promote digital skills gathered 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 shared 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.

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Digital Ignorance Costs Thousands of Euros per Employee Each Year

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. There are several studies that set out to quantify the cost of digital ignorance. While each was conducted in the context of individual countries, with varying costs of labour, they all point to one thing: digital ignorance is expensive. We revisited a number of studies of the cost of digital ignorance, highlighting the very real costs to the economy of poor skills.

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Empowerment Can Begin with Skills

From Ada Lovelace to Grace Hopper, and many more, there are a number of prominent women in ICT’s history. We marked International Women’s Day with a post on how empowerment can begin with digital skills. We looked at the risks of digital exclusion for women and girls, and how programmes to help vulnerable women develop even basic digital skills can empower them in looking for work.

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Only a Holistic Approach Will Deliver High Quality Computing and Digital Literacy Education

With coding initiatives around Europe, and moves to bring coding into the classroom in many countries, there is a lot of attention on digital skills. But digital skills are far broader than just coding. We argue in our position paper, ‘Computing and Digital Literacy: Call for a Holistic Approach’, that there is a real risk that a focus on coding alone could harm other aspects of computer science and digital literacy education.

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The Digital Elephant in the Room: 'Digital Natives' and Digital Literacy

It might be a buzzword with a big following, but the ‘digital native’ is no more real than a ‘typewriter native’ in the days when the cutting edge of office technology was an IBM Selectric. Our position paper, “Fallacy of the ‘Digital Native’” argues against the trend of assuming that young people have innate digital skills. Highlighting the risks of leaving young people without the digital skills they will need for the future, we called for strong focus on building and strengthening workplace skills.

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ECDL/ICDL in Action Around the World

ECDL Adopted by European Commission Directorate General for Research & Innovation

The ECDL programme received a significant endorsement by being adopted by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Staff will have the opportunity to enhance and build on their existing skills with the ECDL programme.

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1 Million Indians to be Empowered with ICDL by National Skills Development Corporation of India in 5 Years

ICDL is a global programme, and thanks to a new initiative in India with the National Skills Development Corporation, 1 million Indians will have the chance to benefit from ICDL.

“The ICDL certification programme, being the international standard in digital literacy, will greatly enhance Indian candidates’ workplace digital skills and job mobility," said Ms Tina Wu, General Manager of ICDL Asia.

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Excellence in Implementing ECDL / ICDL Around the World Showcased During ECDL Forum in Budapest

Each year, projects from around the world are entered into ECDL Foundation’s Best Practice Awards. It is an opportunity for ECDL Foundation to acknowledge and credit initiatives and projects that show best practice in using ECDL to raise levels of digital literacy. This year, eight projects and initiatives were recognised as exceptional examples of the implementation of ECDL and ICDL.

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ICDL Americas Opens Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Panama

In the Americas, ICDL is going from strength to strength. March saw the opening of the new office of ICDL Americas at the City of Knowledge in Panama City. Reinforcing the importance of digital skills training and development, Development Manager, Romina González, said, “ECDL Foundation believes in policies that support education and training programmes at all levels, so that people who receive our certification can be more productive in the digital world.”

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ICDL Highlighted by Irish Minister at Digital Skills Event in Kenya

The Irish Minister of State with Responsibility for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English, addressed an event on digital skills, which was jointly organised by ICDL Africa, Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Embassy in Nairobi. The event marked a very successful year for ICDL in Kenya, and Africa more broadly.

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