BUILDING DIGITAL SKILLS FOR EMPLOYMENT AMONG SECONDARY EDUCATION LEARNERS
, O. Heidmann2
, E. Houstis1
1University of Thessaly (GREECE)
2Institute for Reasearch and Technology Thessaly, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (GREECE)
Digital skills are emerging as one of the basic, transversal competencies that allow learners and professionals to excel in wide areas academically and professionally, along with analytical and critical thinking, entrepreneurial mindsets, the capacity to collaborate across cultures, learning-to-learn, and more. The PISA review now includes digital skills among the competencies the achievement levels of which is measures for learners in high school. The importance of digital skills is underscored by the Digital Agenda for Europe and the New Skills for New jobs initiatives, both of which highlight the fact that wide professional activities in broad sectors now require familiarity with digital services. The same initiatives point to the lack of 900K professionals with digital skills in the coming years in Europe. At the same time, youth unemployment in Europe is around 24%. These contradicting observations point to the need of building digital skills among young learners with the objective of easing their transition into the job market and boosting their employability prospects as a result of skill sets that are aligned with industry needs.
Digital skills are broad and may cover a range of abilities and competencies. Examples include the capacity to use popular software and services that can support professional activities, such as text processors, image processors, spreadsheets, and more. Digital skills may further include the capacity to perform basic financial and economic activities on-line, such as accessing bank services, paying bills, using social media for building a professional network, and more. Other related abilities include a good understanding of an individual’s digital footprint, respect for the personal data of others, and respect of intellectual property rights.
Project EMPLOY aims at building digital skills among lower secondary education learners for use in professional contexts. The project promotes active, experiential learning design in the context of serious games that immerse learners into scenarios inspired by the world of work, the implementation of which requires the deployment of digital skills. Game-play is problem-based facilitating the development of critical and innovative thinking among learners that allow them to use digital skills creatively for addressing real-life professional challenges.
Recognizing the importance of supporting educational process, EMPLOY further develops instructor support content for promoting the smooth integration of the EMPLOY active learning methodology and serious game into wider blended learning design. This content is comprised of end-to-end learning activities and how-to videos that involve the EMPLOY serious game. The content reaches beyond the application by suggesting good practices for class collaboration and social learning.
The EMPLOY serious game is deployed in Greece, Turkey, Estonia, Italy, and France. The project is funded with the support of the ERASMUS+ Program.