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EPALE focus: Digital skills as a way of accessing learning opportunities

EPALE's thematic focus from April to June is on Digital skills as a way of accessing learning opportunities

EPALE Digital Skills.

EPALE's thematic focus from April to June is on Digital skills as a way of accessing learning opportunities Society is becoming increasingly digitalised and inter-connected. The pervasiveness of the digital realm is affecting the ways in which people access services, how they live, work and use their voices and how they contribute to society. The need to develop a better digital education is closely linked to participation in society. In order to prosper in a labour market which is becoming increasingly digitalised, people need sound digital skills, job-specific skills and the motivation to cope with change and to engage in continuous learning. Life-long learning opportunities, which are becoming increasingly available online, are essential both for low-skilled workers, and for those looking for continuous advanced training. In fact, many platforms provide learning opportunities and tools. However, both learners and learning providers continue to experience barriers to accessing them due to a lack of adequate digital skills.   Furthermore, digital skills are becoming increasingly important for ensuring access to essential services  during emergency situations such as the one we are currently facing with the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak.

So, which digital skills will be essential over the coming years? How should educators develop the necessary knowledge and methods to support learners effectively through this transformation? How can training providers modify or expand their CVs in order to meet this growing demand for digital know-how?

Take part in this debate and share your expertise. Get involved in sharing knowledge and points of view! Have you been or are you currently involved in interesting projects dealing with digital skills as a means of accessing new learning opportunities? Share your know-how and perspective with the EPALE community! On 27 May 2020 you will also have the possibility to join our online discussion on Digital skills as a way of accessing learning opportunities.
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There is no doubt that digital literacy skills are more significant than ever. Even without the current situation, their importance has been growing steadily in the past two decades, and the pandemic has just accelerated their impact on our lives, be it work, study or personal relationships.The role of the educators has thus acquired even greater responsibilities, not only providing knowledge in their subject, but also preparing adult learners for meeting the demands of the job market for having the necessary digital literacy skills.  But are educators expected to come to the job possessing those skills, or organisations are going to offer digital training for their staff. Wouldn't it be easier for an educational institution to develop and provide its own digital training programme that is relevant to its needs and the educational service it provides, thus ensuring equal quality standards for its teachers and trainers, rather than relying on finding the ''right'' people for the job? Institutions need to invest not only more, but also to invest better, financing the need for digital training and the improvement of digital literacy of their staff, and supporting educators in keeping up with technology. 
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Hello from Slovenia. I would like to share with you the information that we started implementing the Slovenian version of the Education and Skill online assessment tool (in Slovenian Spletni vprašalnik ocenjevanje spretnosti - SVOS). 
The development of the assessment tool is a joint initiative of the OECD, participating countries and the European Commission. The investment, contextualisation and the translation in Slovenia was co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and the European Union under the European Social Fund. Slovenian institute for adult education (SIAE) is the implementing institution for this tool in Slovenia in the period 2020-2022 and possibly beyond. The main reason that the tool was introduced in Slovenia is the fact that the country scored below the international average in PIAAC survey. However, one of the lessons learned in Slovenia from the PIAAC survey is that adults need very good basic skills in order to be able to cope with digital word. 
With the new instrument SVOS we will give the opportunity to 17.000 adults to assess (online) their own basic skills and get individual (confidential) results in the areas of literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments. The tool is based on the methodology of PIAAC survey. 
In the area that measures problem solving in technology-rich environments, individuals can assess skills how they use technology to solve problems and accomplish complex tasks and how they operate within a digital environment to solve different types of problems that they face as adults in their work and everyday life as users of digital technologies. 
With the online tool SVOS that gives the individual-level results, it will be possible to carry out more effective career counselling and development of skills for individuals. At the same time the tool gives possibilities to different institutions and organisations to develop tailor-made programmes and training, based on cumulative results of a particular population (example: employees in a company). 
SIAE prepared online training for different professionals in adult education in order to equip them with sufficient knowledge to make best use of the tool. 
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Hello from The Finnish Diverse Learners’ Association´s, the ESR-funded -project which has been developing The Open Learning Space -model for adults. This model of supporting and guiding adults who lack basic skills and/or learning skills has been developed as an individual and small group activity. In Open Learning Spaces, guidance counsellors have supported clients in developing their learning and basic skills as well as recognizing and realizing their individual strengths and capabilities. Together they have also searched for flexible ways of proceeding in studies and pass difficult courses.
In the model the aim is to help adults whose basic skills in literacy, numeracy, and information and communications technology are weak, to develop and compensate their weaknesses through their individual strengths. In the world of growing capability and efficiency demands those adults are in danger of dropping out of participation in the society education and working life. Many adults that have weak learning and basic skills have either recognized or unrecognized learning difficulties. COVID- 19 -crisis will increase number of adults who need support because they had lost their job, or their life has changed in other. For career change they need to take courses or completely new education.
The Open Learning Space -model is simple and based on personal guidance, but we have had good results. During the last couple of months, we have also noticed that in the field of distance learning as well as working barriers to digital access are large and very challenging to persons who have problems to handle their smart phones, tablets or laptops. We are planning to improve The Open Learning Space – things we should do differently when we are giving distance support to different learners or adults who have low basic skills. 
COVID- 19 -crisis has proved that there are several education providers who have offered flexible learning and/or distance learning opportunities, but until now we really haven’t tested them in serving everyone. There is still a need to improve them. Improving accessibility for individuals whose learning or digital skills are weak could be improved.
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All the world has been witnessing that the digital world is a very helpful tool when emergencies occur. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people lost their freedom to go out, relatedly they don't have the chance to go school/ work. This situation has made us think about how to find alternative ways for both staying home and keep learning or working. The digital environment, with all ready possibilities, has been our only environment to keep in touch with life. We can learn, we can read, we can work, we can attend seminars, we can share our opinions in the communities as we do in EPALE, we have a lot of opportunities with the help of the digital environment. furthermore, this realization has made us know digital skills because we should know how to use benefit effectively from these tools. Digital literacy is a very important topic and we all need to be advanced to deal with this new world order. Digital life looks like it will be our biggest part of our lives. I am hoping to find answers about how to enhance our digital skills and solutions for our current problems with it in this discussion. 
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I am currently coordinating a future KA202 (or KA204) E+ project called Citizen 2.1. If you feel you can add more to it with an expertise on the topic of digital competencies for teaching and learning , feel free to contact me . Hope to have a return of your interest... 
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Hello
My name is Dimitris Kiriakos and i am director of the biggest adult VET school in Athens , Greece and president of the Hellenic Informatics Union. I would like to contact you about future projects and collaborations.
My details are:
Dimitris Kiriakos, Email: dkiriakos@gmail.com
Mobile: +306942819819
Skype id : dkiriakos
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Digital literacy has been a topic of high-priority for quite a while. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has, however, rendered digital literacy more important than ever. 
In July 2019, an Erasmus+ project entitled VITA published a free repository of all the training material adult trainers can use to engage and help adult learners in catching up with digital skills. These include a curriculum of studies, as well as a good number of case-studies to facilitate learning. All interested adult trainers are encouraged to access and use this repository for free: https://sites.google.com/view/erasmusvita/toolbox?authuser=0
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Dear Marija,
First of all thanks for sharing the document.  It is really interesting especially when thinking about the changes that has taken place since it has been published due to the current pandemic situation.  I do agree with you that COVID 19 has highlighted the need to focus on the development of digital skills among adult learners and this document really addresses this scenario.  
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In these strange times, where people are supposed to stay at home as much as they possibly can, people full of initiative have almost fallen over each other to offer all sorts of e-learning. In Iceland there is news almost every day on new courses, often completely free of charge, in other cases costing a low amount. There is even a combination of those two options available, the course itself is free but should the students want some sort of a certificate, they must pay a small fee. Where there are costs involved, many of the labour unions and employers’ organisations have opened the possibility of paying the full course fee directly out of their educational funds. The rule until now has been that 75% of such costs were refundable from these funds, into which both employers and employees pay a monthly fee. 
Here is a new blog on e-learning offers in Adult learning in Iceland: https://epale.ec.europa.eu/en/node/151276
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I would like to briefly mention one aspect, which is mainly related to the current Covid-19 situation: The scale of the pandemic has had an enormous impact on the use of digital media worldwide, particularly because many people have had to limit their work to their home office. Within a very short period of time, all data surveys on Internet and media use showed that a large part of society is very much dependent on digital media under these circumstances. The current situation shows again that in many job areas it is possible to do the work via home office and online platforms. That's why I ask myself: Will we in the future - as soon as people are allowed to work under their usual conditions again - fall back into our old patterns or will we from now on rely more on online presence (online meetings, online sales, online consulting, etc.)?
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Hallo Margrét , 
This is wonderful to notice how people are cleverly making the most of such a global drama , would you like to share your  newly acquired experience, tools and become our partner ? we have still some space for a partner to deal with the subject o digital competences in education or teaching and learning . Please contact me for more info. Counting on all ideas ..thanks 
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Media competence is often understood in a reduced sense, mostly as "the ability to use a computer". Technical skills of course play an important role in gaining access to new media in the first place and, for example, finding information on the Internet. In addition, however, the promotion of media competence also involves skills for critical reflection in the world of media content and one's own actions. As diverse as media are, so numerous are the possibilities for promoting media competence. For example, media are actively used in projects to learn how to handle technology, to deal with a specific topic, or to produce one's own media content. On the other hand, media competence can also be promoted without the use of technology. Meaning, when media becomes the subject of discussion. In doing so, one's own use of media can be questioned, the goals of media education in the family can be put to the test, or the focus can be on changes in our society caused by new forms of media use.  And finally, media can of course also be used as a learning tool. The use of computers at school has become part of everyday life and the growing range of learning software also aims to use media to support the learning process of children. 
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Our adult education class is in the 2nd year and ends secondary school by July 2020. As we work with the digital portfolio on google drive, the interruption of face-to-face classes (from Monday to Friday from 7 pm to 10 pm) was replaced by 100% online. However, adults have to register their activities online (google forms).
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I detenuti vivono una situazione di isolamento che si è accentuata con l'emergenza legata al coronavirus e il lockdown. Non hanno più la possibilità di incontrare i parenti, gli avvocati, gli insegnanti, i volontari e tutte le persone che regolarmente venivano dall'esterno. Sono quindi diminuiti drammaticamente i contatti umani. La scuola come ha risposto? Con la didattica a distanza e le video lezione in sincrono. Questa nuova possibilità di collegarsi con il mondo può rendere possibili percorsi innovativi e una riproposizione dei contenuti disciplinari in modi totalmente diversi che in presenza. I percorsi scolastici avevano l'obiettivo di portare il mondo “dentro” le strutture reclusive per far capire ai liberi il senso profondo di separazione e di invisibilità che provano i detenuti e le loro problematiche. L'idea che propongo è esattamente speculare : portare i reclusi “fuori” nel mondo, in una esperienza amplificata più realistica possibile, consolidando comunque competenze curricolari ma rimodulando gli obiettivi formativi sulla base delle nuove esigenze. E’ necessario rispondere alla sfida della pandemia andando a enucleare i fondamentali delle discipline, tenendo sempre presente che si lavora con reclusi. Cosa proporre? A noi tutti la risposta. Fausta Minale 
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Hi, I am Dr. Xenia Danos, the founder of the “Holistic Education Service” Vocational Training Centre based in Cyprus. I am currently running training programmes, preparing professionals from all different sectors to becoming accredited Vocational Trainers (EQF level 5). I am teaching professionals with different levels of digital literacy skills; ranging from people who have never had to type using a computer before, to those who create their own videos and animations in their spare time – all in the same synchronous e-learning sessions. My experience so far has shown me that not all interested participants had the fundamental Digital skills allowing them access to the learning opportunities provided, but they all had the tools needed in place i.e. internet connection, computer/ smart phone etc. With support, they were able to join in the interactive online classes, and even use the various tools to implement their own interactive teaching inputs. But their limited digital literacy skills and knowledge is still evident and a great challenge for them planning and developing their professional career and direction further.     
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In einer Welt, die sich immer schneller und schneller digitalisiert, sind digitale Kompetenzen eine wichtige Voraussetzung, um in einer digitalen Welt gut zurecht zu kommen. Ich glaube, dass es wichtig ist, sowohl in den Bildungseinrichtungen als auch in der Arbeitswelt, bestimmte digitale Kompetenzen zu lehren. Hierbei würde ich es wichtig finden, dass Erwachsene und Schüler und Schülerinnen ein grundlegendes Know -how bezüglich der digitalen Komeptenzen bekommen, um sich in der digitalen Welt orientieren zu können.
Vor allem die COVID 19-Pandemie hat gezeigt, dass digitale Kompetenzen immer wichtig sind, um an dem Unterricht der Bildungseinrichtungen teilnehmen zu können. Diejenigen, die bereits digitale Kompetenzen besaßen, konnten sich schnell auf die neuen Gegebenheiten einstellen. Jedoch diejenigen, die keine besaßen, brauchten erst eine gewisse Zeit, um diese zu lernen und gut zurecht zu kommen und waren dadurch in bestimmten Aufgaben immer weiter hinten.
Deshalb finde ich es auch notwendig, dass man schon in der Schule mit dem Lehren von digitalen Kompetenzen beginnt, damit man den Kindern auch den richtigen Umgang mit den digitalen Medien lehren kann. Weiters, können dann auch die Kinder als Lehrer/Lehrerinnen fungieren und ihren Eltern ein bestimmtes Know-how vermitteln.
Bezüglich der digitalen Kompetenzen möchte ich noch erwähnen, dass nicht alle Menschen die Möglichkeiten haben, am digitalen Leben teilzunehmen und es deshalb nicht zu einer kompletten Digitalisierung kommen darf. Es muss ein gute Balance zwischen der digitalen Arbeit und der analogen Arbeit geben.
In der Erwachsenbildung würde ich es wichtig finden, wenn es Kurse gibt, die für die Erwachsenen gut zugänglich und verständlich sind. In diesen Kursen sollte zuerst das grundlegende Know-how gelehrt werden, denn manchmal reichen schon grundlegende Kompetenzen, um sich wo gut orientieren zu können.
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Hi everyone!
Currently, Kerigma is participating as a partner organization in the development of the project Erasmus+ "Our Digi Space" that has two purposes. On one hand, we want to improve the skills of adult educators in terms of innovative teaching approaches related to e-learning environments and the integration of gamification elements, and on the other hand, we want to improve the digital literacy and skills of low skilled adults. At this point of the project, we have already developed a website you can visit: http://www.ourdigispace.com/ I think you will find helpful information if you are interested in using e-learning resources and gamification elements with your adult learners.
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 I detenuti vivono una situazione di isolamento che si è accentuata con l'emergenza legata al coronavirus e il lockdown. Non hanno più la possibilità di incontrare i parenti, gli avvocati, gli insegnanti, i volontari e tutte le persone che regolarmente venivano dall'esterno. Sono quindi diminuiti drammaticamente i contatti umani. La scuola come ha risposto? Con la didattica a distanza, ma soprattutto con il tentativo della video lezione in sincrono. In precedenza, nella maggior parte delle carceri italiane, non era consentito il collegamento internet nelle aule scolastiche. Questa nuova possibilità di collegarsi con il mondo può rendere possibili percorsi innovativi e una riproposizione dei contenuti disciplinari in modi totalmente diversi da quello che avveniva in carcere in presenza. I percorsi scolastici avevano l'obiettivo di portare il mondo “dentro” le strutture reclusive per far capire ai liberi il senso profondo di separazione e di invisibilità che provano i detenuti e le loro problematiche. L'idea che propongo è esattamente speculare al trend precedente: portare i reclusi “fuori” nel mondo, in una esperienza amplificata più realistica possibile, consolidando comunque competenze curricolari ma rimodulando gli obiettivi formativi sulla base delle nuove esigenze. E’ necessario rispondere alla sfida della pandemia andando a enucleare i fondamentali delle discipline, tenendo sempre presente che si lavora con reclusi. Cosa proporre? A noi tutti la risposta. Fausta Minale 
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Currently we run an Adult Education course dealing with digital photography. Due to the current situation in Europe we had to switch from Blended Learning to pure Distance Learning. First of all, we had to select an appropriate tool for the video conferencing. We decided for ZOOM for two reasons:
  • We own a license
  • The quality (all over) with up to 30 - 40 participants is OK (compared with other tools).
The obstacle we found was the missing competence to join the lessons (for the first time). Even if Skype conferencing is popular many participants needed special assistance (for example by phone calls). Now we have solved the problems and continue with our course - people are online following the sessions, we can discuss and do the necessary knowledge exchange.
Next time I'll report from the ERASMUS+ DISK Project (https://www.disk-project.eu/). In the frame of this project a course unit will be developed to give people the chance to use learning opportunities offered in the web (this means MOOCs as well as webinars or similar options).
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Οι εκπαιδευτές ενηλίκων χρειάζονται ενδυνάμωση, ώστε να καταστούν ικανοί να δημιουργήσουν και να διατηρήσουν μια ψηφιακή τάξη. Στο πλαίσιο αυτό είναι απαραίτητη η επιμόρφωση σε θέματα παραγωγής ψηφιακού υλικού, όπως για παράδειγμα τη δημιουργία διαφόρων εγγράφων (google docs, forms), τη δημιουργία γραφικών, κα. Επίσης είναι αναγκαία η επιμόρφωση σε θέματα μεθοδολογίας της εξ αποστάσεως εκπαίδευσης και τη διδασκαλία μέσω ηλεκτρονικής πλατφόρμας, επιμόρφωση σε θέματα βασικών αρχών εκπαίδευσης ενηλίκων, αλλά και επιμόρφωση για παρακολούθηση από τους ίδιους τους εκπαιδευτές εξ αποστάσεως προγραμμάτων κατάρτισης. 
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Luksia, VET Education provider in Finland is coordinating an Erasmus+ Project FLIP-IDEAL - Flipped Learning in Adult Education. The aim is to provide tips and tools for adult educators to use the flipped learning approach with their learners - especially those learners who are only developing their skills in IT, literacy and numeracy. 
In June 2020, we will have an online course as well as practical guidelines ready to be shared for adult educators in English, Italian, Dutch, Slovenian and Finnish. Hopefully these will be useful also for the wider community, as our partner group has found this knowledge and experience produced by the FLIP-IDEAL project particularly beneficial in these difficult times of Covid-19. 
Please do check our website www.flipideal.org - we are happy to share our experiences!
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E-õppes on võimalus saada nii bakalaureuse- kui magistrikraadi, läbi viia psüholoogilist nõustamist ning tõhusat coachingut. Kui õppijal ja juhendajal on motivatsiooni, siis saab e-õppe toel head teadmised ning oskused. Hea juhendaja peab tundma digiõppe materjalide loomise ning tagasisidestamise metoodikavõtteid. Õppemetoodika kattub paljuski ka tavaõppe omaga.
Kuna inimeste digioskused on erinevad, uue õppematerjali ja kaaslaste ees võib olla aukartus, siis peaks digiõppe esimesed moodulid olema pigem lihtsad. Usun, et pikemal digikursusel võib tekkida tore õpikogukond. Õppija seisukohast on hea, kui digiõppe keskkondi poleks ülemäära palju, sest kõik uus vajab harjumist ja harjumuse kujunemine võtab parasjagu aega.
Koolitajad võiks mõnel kursusel osaleda ka õppijana, siis osatakse end õppuri kingadesse panna. 
Minu valdkonnas on sellest kevadest e-keelekursused reaalsus, kuna keeleõppes on oluline ka rääkimisoskuse pidev arendamine.
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Hallo!
Ich teile deine Ansicht, dass die Digitalisierung eine immer größere Rolle in der heutigen Gesellschaft spielt und es von großem Vorteil ist, wenn schon in frühen Bildungseinrichtungen (Grundschule) an dem Erlangen von digitalen Kompetenzen gearbeitet wird. 
Digitale Medien sollten im Unterricht jedoch auf keinen Fall vorherrschen. Empfehlenswert wäre, wie von Katja erwähnt, eine Balance zwischen digitalen und analogen Medien zu schaffen, um eine Überforderung der Schülerinnen und Schüler und damit einhergehende negative Auswirkungen durch zu viel Bildschirmzeit zu präventiveren. Es soll nicht vergessen werden, dass die meisten Kinder und Jugendlichen auch in ihrer Freizeit bereits mit diversen digitalen Medien konfrontiert werden, also häufig schon damit "aufwachsen". Dies sollte in der Schule berücksichtigt werden. Digitale Medien können also teilweise zur Erarbeitung von Lerninhalten genützt werden, wobei zu beachten ist, dass grundlegende Kenntnisse bei Schülerinnen und Schülern meist schon vorhanden sind. Den anderen Teil sollen analoge Medien bilden: Kinder und Jugendliche sollen doch auch nicht verlernen, wie man mit Büchern umgeht oder einen Stift hält, oder?
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Ich stimme sowohl Katja als auch Lena vollständig zu, was den Gebrauch von digitalen Medien im Unterricht betrifft.Ich bin eine große Befürworterin der Beibehaltung der analogen Schreibweise. Obwohl digitale Medien eine immer wichtigere Rolle in unserem Alltag – und somit auch dem Schulalltag der Kinder – spielen, soll meiner Meinung nach auf analoge Medien und Materialien nicht verzichtet werden. Ich finde es unverzichtbar, dass Kinder eine ordentliche Handschrift erlernen und den Umgang mit Papier und Stift beherrschen. Das mag für den ein oder anderen absurd klingen, aber ich habe tatsächlich schon erlebt, dass Kinder nicht mehr wissen, wie man in einem Bilderbuch umblättert, weil sie den „Wisch-Vorgang“, den sie von iPad und Co kennen, so sehr verinnerlicht haben. Das finde ich ist - auch in unserer stark digitalisierten Gesellschaft - sehr fragwürdig.

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