The vice president of the European Commission (EC) has said that it is her “dream” to make “every classroom digital” by 2020.
Neelie Kroes added that "Education must be connected to real life; it cannot be a parallel universe. Young people want to use digital technology in every aspect of life. They need digital skills to get jobs. All of our schools and universities, not just some of them, must reflect that reality."
Currently 80 per cent of student never use digital resources, such as e-textbooks and podcasts, according to research conducted by the EC. 70 per cent of teachers also want better IT training, says the same research.
The scheme to increase digital integration into the classroom is called “Opening up Education” by the EC, and would make a range of resources available to educational institutions from primary schools to universities.
The scheme would focus on three main areas: creating opportunities for organisations, teachers and learners to innovate, increased use of Open Educational Resources (OER) – ensuring that educational materials produced with public funding (particularly resources such as digital textbooks) are available to all – and better IT connectivity and infrastructure in schools.
Also planned for utilisation in education are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which would provide European students with online courses which can be studied anywhere across a variety of devices.
Some of the plans will take place immediately, with others due for launch by 2015.
“Open technology-based education will soon be a ‘must have’, not just a ‘good-to-have’, for all ages," said Androulla Vassiliou, EC commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism and youth, on the plan.
"We need to do more to ensure that young people especially are equipped with the digital skills they need for their future.”
"It’s not enough to understand how to use an app or program; we need youngsters who can create their own programs. Opening up Education is about opening minds to new learning methods so that our people are more employable, creative, innovative and entrepreneurial."
Image of apple and tablet in classroom courtesy of Shutterstock.co.uk