Digital Skills

Technology is now part of everyday life for all of us, whether as a student, teacher, administrator, technical specialist, or even just as an ordinary citizen.  The pace in which new technologies emerge from initial concept to widespread adoption is also much faster than ever before, new words being added to the dictionary each year and new websites and apps to get our heads around for anything from paying tax to ordering pizza; from watching the latest movies to speaking with distant relatives; or for learning a new skill and collaborating with others.

There’s also no shortage of hype, with the pitch for new systems often becoming quite extravagant in their claims. Some might be justified, but many perhaps not.  Somehow, we’re to make sense of all this – judging claims, looking at what might or might not work in our context or what hybrid mixtures of approaches can bring to addressing some long standing challenges we’ve faced as learners or teachers. Keeping up to date, isn’t always easy, nor is feeling confident that we’ve really grasped the limitations as well as the capabilities of each system, each device. Indeed, for most of us, it’s difficult even knowing “what’s out there” that might be relevant or useful to our work, our study or our lives.

These are some of the issues that we are concerned with in the All Aboard! project.  We’re going to try and identify and map out a broad range of knowledge, skills and capabilities, many of which will be essential to successfully navigating the digital world and others which may give us scope to pursue particular interests, hone our skills and perhaps also fuel our creativity.

The National Digital Skills Framework which we are building is not intended to be an overly formal document with huge levels of complexity, but rather a living document that adapts and evolves to suit all of our needs and which seeks to keep as up to date as possible with technologies and the related human skills. It is intended to be community-owned, building on the excellent work of others in the whole area of digital literacies, skills & training, and professional development.

We’re always open to ideas and suggestions as we revise and develop this framework, so please feel free to get in touch, to participate.  As the framework unfolds we’ll provide more and more links on this website and link to resources and materials that will help you as an individual or the facilitator of a group demonstrate achievement of each of the topics.

The current release version of the framework (June 2015) is as below, in its ‘Metro Map’ or Category View options.






Some of the excellent existing work in higher education (and beyond) which we recognise includes the following projects. Mozilla Webmaker: Web Literacy Map JISC (UK)’s:

o   Developing Digital Literacies Guide

o   Developing Students’ Digital Literacy

o   Building Digital Capability

o   Digital Student

o   Beetham & Sharpe’s Digital Literacy Framework

SCONUL’s 7 Pillars of Information Literacy ‘Hardcopy sources’ (ie books! (thanks, Dave White)):

o   Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age, Beetham & Sharpe

o   Teaching as a Design Science, Diana Laurillard

o   The Digital Scholar, Martin Weller

o   The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies, Doug Belshaw

o   Distrusting Educational Technology: Critical Questions for Changing Times, Neil Selwyn