“65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.”– McLeod, Scott and Karl Fisch, “Shift Happens”

Digital skills are hugely important in the modern workplace and should be woven into students vocational qualifications to support them with their future careers. Digital skills are required in almost all jobs these days, however, employers suggest that there are gaps in applicants digital competencies.

Teachers need to explore opportunities to develop a range of digital skills within the curriculum, regardless of the subject. In order to do this, they must themselves be confident using technology and not be afraid to work alongside students to develop their digital skills.

“The role of the teacher has never been more vital than it is today. Within a rapidly changing world, the next generation must be prepared with the confidence, skills and lifelong learning mindset needed to succeed. Teachers have a key role to play in instilling this.”– Chris Rothwell (Director of Education at Microsoft UK)

Measure Digital Skills

Capturing a student or staff’s starting point on their digital journey helps map out their professional development requirements. Here are some great tools to measure your/their starting point:

The Jisc Discovery Tool offers an initial test of digital capabilities for staff and students, which provides a report highlighting suggested next steps for development, mapped into the JISC digital capability framework. https://jisc.potential.ly/signin

Microsoft has updated its popular Digital Literacy curriculum to support learning the fundamentals of modern digital literacy.  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/digitalliteracy/home Upon completing the curriculum, why not test your knowledge through a 30 question assessment and earn your Microsoft Digital Literacy Certificate. https://mva.microsoft.com/en-us/training-courses/digital-testing-fundamentals-18665?l=SK1F6spFG_7412186284

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Microsoft Digital Literacy Course

Digital Skills for Business startup

A vast majority of businesses now have an online presence, to promote their offer or product. Whether it’s a self-employed Carpenter, Hairdresser, or Personal Trainer the modern worker is not maximising their business potential without a Website or Social Media presence. With tools like SquareSpace, Wix or WordPress there is no excuse for not having a website as many of these are now free and have easy creation tools. 

Google Digital Garage supports individuals to develop their knowledge of online marketing through bite-sized online learning, where completion is rewarded through certification.  https://learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalgarage

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Google Digital Garage

A range of Digital Skills

The term digital skills is grounded in; communicating, handling information and content,  transacting, problem-solving and being safe and legal online (gov.uk). 

Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA) covers a wide range of digital, enterprise and employability skills required for the modern workplace. Students and staff can complete a series of creative modules to earn badges/points towards Bronze, Silver and Gold status. The iDEA programme is very similar to the York of Edinburgh. https://idea.org.uk/

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The Education Training Foundation (ETF) has created its ‘Enhance’ programme, designed to support Educators with developing a wide range of digital skills. The enhance programme is designed to map into the ETF’s Digital Teaching Professional Framework (DTPF) and link to the previously mentioned JISC Discovery tool. https://enhance.etfoundation.co.uk/

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ETF Enhance

Brand specific Digital Skills

Companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple have developed their own software/app specific training programmes, where staff and students can develop their understanding of the companies core products and collect digital badges/certificates for their completion of modules. 

The Microsoft Educator Community offers Microsoft specific free training for individuals working in education. The community offers a wide range of online learning courses, of various duration, designed to develop digital skills. When courses are completed points are given, badges can be earned and certificates can be awarded. By completing a minimum of 2 courses, educators can earn the Microsoft Innovative Educator (#MIE) badge and join a network of educators pushing boundaries with Microsoft tools. As Educators build up points on the community they can work towards their Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (#MIEE) application (limited numbers per year). Educators who excel using Microsoft Tools and share their learning with others can join the Microsoft Trainer program and become Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer and Master Trainer (with 400+ hours training logged). https://education.microsoft.com/

The Google Educator programme offers free online learning for Educators using Google tools. The site contains, training, certification and resources that can be used in the classroom. Once educators have worked through the training and applied the learning they can register to sit the Certified Educator exam at Level 1 ($10) and Level 2 ($25). Educators who excel using Google tools and support others can apply to become Google Certified Trainers and Google Certified Innovators (limited numbers per year). https://teachercenter.withgoogle.com/

Apple Teacher is a free professional development programme, designed to support educators with the use of iPads and Macs. Each course focuses on a specific app available on an iPad or Mac. Educators can test their understanding and application of the app through short online tests. Collect badges by successfully passing each course, on your way to Apple Teacher status. Educators who excel in their use of Apple technologies can apply to become an Apple Distinguished Educator (applications open every two years). https://www.apple.com/uk/education/apple-teacher/

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Apple Teacher