The 2nd digital divide & the 2015 EU Digital Agenda:

After ten years of continuous effort to bring digital technologies to the classroom (particularly in the secondary and tertiary education levels) the European Commission has acknowledged in several policy assessments that the impact of these regional investments in technology have not been as effective as it was expected (pdf). From these evaluations arose the discussion that in addition to the public initiatives that encourage and promote the acquisition of technology, it is also compulsory to develop e-skills that enable the proficient use of the Internet and other similar technologies.

From an academic point of view there are several reliable studies to understand the “digital literacy” from a broader perspective. This means not only to focus on the development of certain specific abilities for the use of software but also being able to transit towards a strategic use of the knowledge and information through the ICT in a more holistic sense (360º). Even though this will demand to rethink certain strategies of the current educational policies in order to transform the ICT’s users into “e-skilled digital citizens” (see knowledge brokers) capable to face the challenge and take advantage of theknowledge-based society.

The EU Commission but also the EU industrial sector has highlighted the importance of adopting common initiatives to rethink the educational system in order to promote the development of XXI century skills in the coming generation of professionals (IDC Skills for Innovation Survey, pdf). This challenge is also known as the “second digital divide”. As it has been suggested, the reduction of this “divide” will demand a transversal, multidisciplinary and mid but also long term collaboration between the private and public sector. It is expected that the design of the 2015 EU Digital Agenda will be a supportive instrument to enhance these initiatives and strategies oriented to reduce this not-always-visible “second digital divide”.

Finally, it might be fair to say that the problem is not due to the technologies by itself, but because the lack creativity and innovativeness of how ICT has been integrated in the core educational activities.

Further information:
A second digital divide separates those with the competencies
and skills to benefit from computer use from those without” (OCDE [pdf] vía edutech).

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