Report: Digital Skills for a Modern World

The UK Digital Skills Task Force’s report, Digital Skills for a Modern World provides a comprehensive catalogue of the digital shift needed in wider society, alongside policy recommendations for addressing these issues. In the vein of the report from the Aspen Institute Task Force on Learning and the Internet, the paper tries to address the needs of learners and workers in the 21st-Century, calls for a shift in policy and provides a strong argument for teachers to incorporate digital training, outside of just the new computing curriculum, into daily instruction.

 

The report lays out three levels or tiers of digital skills.

Increasingly we all need basic digital skills to participate in everyday life as a digital citizen, whether it is to communicate, find information or purchase goods/services. These levels of basic digital skills have become an almost universal prerequisite to employment: almost everyone needs to be able to use the internet, process simple word documents and find information online. Lack of such skills can lead to exclusion from society as well as the job market.

At the intermediate level, many people required deeper skills as part of their working lives. We characterised this as the digital worker. In essence, skills at this level might include (but not necessarily be limited to) using document formatting tools and building spreadsheets, while at the more complex end these might encapsulate using sophisticated tools directly related to a particular occupation.

Lastly, we had digital maker level. At this level, we are talking about those who have the skills to actually build digital technology. This could range from less advanced tasks such as writing Excel macros or creating control files for 3D printing to everything from designing the next microprocessor or implementing ground breaking machine learning algorithms.

The UK Forum for Computing Education took those levels–with the addition of a “digital muggle” level and analysed 361 Standard Occupation codes that the UK Government uses to categorise the workforce. This analysis, “suggests that well over half the workforce requires digital skills that extend beyond the basic skills of digital citizenship and that over 90% of jobs require at least those basic digital literacies”