NMC 2016 – horizon scanning for technologies

Horizon Report 2016: Improving digital literacy a daunting task for the under 25s


The 13th edition of the annual Horizon Report from the NMC, that is designed to identify emerging technologies that are likely to have an impact on teaching and learning, has highlighted improving digital literacy as one of six major challenges facing education.


The Joint Information Systems Committee (JICS) defines digital literacy as “those capabilities, which fit an individual for living, learning, and working in a digital society”. However, it seems the generation that should feel most at home navigating through our increasingly digital world are actually lacking confidence in this area, despite growing up in technology-rich environments.


According to a study by The Rasmussen College, “Digital Literacy in 2015,” a quarter of millennials want to improve their digital literacy, but 37% find the Internet “scary”. Surprisingly, the number of respondents who found ‘the web’ daunting was higher among younger participants than those aged 35 and over. This research is playing a part in dispelling the assumption that youth and digital literacy go hand in hand.


A report by the Dublin Institute of Technology states that by the end of 2014, 39% of the EU workforce had insufficient technology skills and 14% had none at all, supporting the idea that digital literacy is a challenge that needs to be confronted.


However, the outlook isn’t too bleak. The Horizon 2016 expert panel recognised the issue as “solvable”, meaning it’s a challenge that is known and to which a solution has been identified. Many projects to enhance digital literacy are already in place across the UK, including at Staffordshire University where the Digital U program is providing staff with online resources as well as face-to-face opportunities for peer to-peer learning.


The Horizon Report called for more innovative approaches to delivering digital literacy to students in order to address the mounting challenge, programmes such as the JISC Developing Digital Literacies Programme in Europe that has explored various institutional approaches to digital literacy development in higher education.


For the full Horizon Report 2016 visit: http://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report-2016-higher-education-edition/

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