Digital skills of students, Gianna Barbieri (MI) writes in schools

by Anna Maria De Luca

The Ministry is appealing to schools. In a letter to all state and equality secondary education institutions, general manager Gianna Barbieri takes stock of students’ digital skills and calls for “the planning of educational activities for the next school year” to raise awareness among digital animators, digital teams and members of the reference territorial teams, for the development of digital skills of their students. To do this, it will be necessary to implement, in this short period (ie until the final phase of the ICILS 2023 study), all possible activities aimed at ensuring that students and teachers become more aware of this international event. . In this way, it will be possible to measure, at the Italian level, an appreciable improvement in the digital skills of our thirteen-year-olds, compared to what was found in the 2018 survey “.

Not always in schools where everyday life takes a toll on you, it is easy to perceive the evolution of the school at an international and national level and this is how the director of the general directorate of contracts, purchasing and information and statistics systems reconstructs it. in a way As I point out the history of recent years, the efforts to accompany schools towards digitalization, to explain well where we have come today but with digitalization: “For our part, over the years, the Ministry has begun Numerous interventions in favor of digitalization, in schools and in education, and since 2015, the National Digital School Plan (PNSD), a pillar of the reform of the so-called Good School, has given a major boost to the innovation of the national school system, foreshadowing, among other things, the need for a frame of reference for digital skills, however, the results achieved by Italy, referring to the digital skills of students among 13 and 14 years, in the international study on computer and computer literacy (ICILS 2018) are not encouraging. ” link.

Unencouraging results: in Italy, the gap between those who experience school from the perspective of individual classrooms or individual complexes and those who experience it from the macro and safe perspective of driving an Italian school in Europe is often still low in the international rankings, it seems to be insurmountable. But we still have a chance and this time we must not miss it. “ICILS 2023 – continues Dr. Barbieri – the third cycle of the study after ICILS 2013 and ICILS 2018, is underway.”

Barbieri refers to European documents to underline the absolute importance of digital skills: “The European Commission, in the Council Recommendation of 22 May 2018 on key competences for lifelong learning, states that:” Digital competence presupposes interest in digital technologies and their use. with familiarity and a critical and responsible spirit to learn, work and participate in society. Includes computer and digital literacy, communication and collaboration, media literacy, digital content creation (including programming), security (including being comfortable in the digital world and possessing cybersecurity skills), issues related to intellectual property, problem solving and critical thinking. “The introduction to the latest version of DigComp makes it clear that:” Digital competence is is interconnected with other competencies “and, recently, version 2.2 has been launched which introduces an interesting update especially for the school world. The Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027, outlined by the European Commission after An open public consultation has also included among its priorities the improvement of digital skills and competences for digital transformation in the Member States. Commission has identified increased participation in the International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS), which collects transnational data on students ‘digital skills, introducing an EU target for students’ digital skills among 13 and 14 years. who have few computer and information skills.

“If we want to be operational in today’s society,” writes the general manager, “digital and information competence must be understood as a requirement and a right of all citizens, including students.” At the school level, however, there is a marked difference between the approach of different countries and the role that teachers and schools play in the process of computer literacy.

And he explains: in the first phase of the study, some schools located across the country were identified as part of the sample prepared by the IEA (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement) for the Field Trial. This test took place in May 2022 and involved about 1,200 first graders. The actual study, Main Study, will take place in 2023 (ICILS 2023) and will measure new aspects related to digital citizenship, reflecting the growing opportunities for young people to participate in online citizenship and will investigate two different aspects of digital citizenship. computer skills:
• Digital literacy, which measures students’ ability to use computers, gather information, produce and communicate using new technologies;
• Computational Thinking, which measures students’ ability to use mental processes to define the different operations to be performed to solve a problem on a computer or digital device.

Schools and students participating in the survey will be selected by random sampling. The sample will be representative, both nationally and geographically (northwest, northeast, center, south, southern islands) of the high school student population.

“There is no doubt – he specifies in the letter – that the numerous initiatives and activities of the PNSD project affected most schools in the country but, in an initial phase, which involved some students or classes, the later phase of contamination and spread throughout the school did not always follow. Within the activities of the PNSD, the digital animator has an important role, the teacher who has the task of disseminating innovation within his own institution in charge of the education of the school community, the organization of activities on PNSD issues. the creation of innovative solutions to propose and disseminate to the whole school ”. And the call of the Ministry to schools goes in this direction: to improve the digital skills of our thirteen-year-olds with respect to the results of 2018, it is necessary that school leaders raise awareness of digital animators, digital teams and team members territorial reference. , for the development of their students’ digital skills “.

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