De-mystifying digital capability
Digital technologies have brought profound changes to how the people of Wales live, learn and work. Digital technologies are also producing rapid shifts in personal and community life, for example in how people feel connected, how they get their news and understand the world, how they participate democratically and more.
A review of research, policy and practice for planning digital and blended learning also found that digital technologies at work produce new opportunities and risks for workers. Existing jobs and occupations are changing. New technology-based jobs are emerging, for example in cybersecurity, cloud computing, green energy and AI engineering. However most work will continue to be based around the foundational economy, with digital in a supporting role. Digital health and care, and educational technology itself, are expanding sectors that increasingly shape the nature of work in the wider economy.
In essence, the digital capabilities people need are changing and this is reflected in the skills, approaches and technologies educators need in order to prepare learners for employment and success.
Since 2021, Jisc has worked with Welsh Government to develop and run a bespoke instance of the Building Digital Capability discovery tool, providing digital skills development directly to staff across the post-16 sector in Wales. Staff could assess their own level of digital capability, obtain a personalised report outlining strengths and weaknesses, and be signposted to a range of expertly selected resources to further improve their proficiency.
The project also surfaced organisational and national trends that could be addressed as a collective. From a national perspective, Jisc noted four areas where staff appeared to be less confident:
- Data literacy – how you handle data as a special form of information.
- Digital creation – digital production of content, from technical work such as coding new apps to making digital images, documents and websites.
- Digital problem solving & innovation – ability to solve problems, make decisions and answer questions using digital evidence and your willingness to try new practices and look for solutions with digital technology.
- Digital learning and teaching – the ability to turn digital opportunities into personal learning gains and to support and develop others in digital settings.
It is often the case that a lack of confidence arises from confusion around the labels for certain skills, feeling you need to know everything or overthinking an issue.
Throughout June and July, Jisc is running a series of online workshops aimed at de-mystifying digital capability, exploring how digital skills can build confidence for engaging with a range of technologies and approaches, leading to greater job fulfilment and, therefore, staff being better equipped to support learners with their digital aspirations.
For those unable to make the summer workshops, Jisc are planning to run more in the Autumn.
For further information on the workshops, how to access and use the building digital capability service or how Jisc can support your digital journey, please contact your Jisc relationship manager.