Opening Up Education: mainstreaming digital access in education and training - EUCIS-LLL policy paper
“Disruptive innovation”, “tsunami”, “first genuine revolution since Gutenberg”… a lot of hopes and fears have emerged in the past years on Open Educational Resources (OERs), making more vivid than ever the debate on harnessing the potential of ICT for education and training. While the 2013 Commission’s Communication on “Opening Up Education” strives for a new learning ecosystem enriched with digital environments and contents, we see that in reality not everyone benefits from these new possibilities. In 2010only 39% of Europeans used the Internet for any training and education related activity with huge disparities across countries. We know that the main barriers to access to ICT are technological but also linked to attitudes, interests and abilities. In this context there is a huge potential for progress, and there are more open questions than solid answers and reliable solutions in the field; therefore a critical and responsible approach is recommended. While the European Council recently discussed the digital economy, innovation and services, it is timely for European decision-makers to reflect on what digital learning can really do to modernise our education and training systems, unveiling its expected impact in terms of both growth and social cohesion. EUCIS-LLL thus supports the plea made by the European Commission for an integrated and collective approach to the digital agenda seen both as a challenge and a great opportunity especially to support a cultural shift in the way we teach and learn in Europe.