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Mainstreaming eLearning in education and training is key

ICT in learning increases motivation and engagement of pupils. It stimulates interest and creativity and contributes decisively to the mastery of digital literacy

--- Posted by Javier Hernández-Ros, DG INFSO, Head of unit: Cultural Heritage and Technology Enhanced Learning

On 16 June, in the framework of the Digital Agenda Assembly, we will have the opportunity to discuss with Member States' representatives, experts and stakeholders how to support the mainstreaming of eLearning in national policies as an agent for modernization of education, for all subjects and skills.  Mainstreaming eLearning is one of the key actions of the Digital agenda for Europe.

President Obama recently stated, “we're sending today our children out into a 21st century economy by sending them through the doors of 20th century schools”. This applies to a large extent to schools in Europe as well. If we want to ensure a bright future for our young generations and build the knowledge economy of the  twenty first century, Europe has no choice than to continue modernizing its education and training systems, making full use of the potential of ICT.

ICT in learning increases motivation and engagement of pupils. It stimulates interest and creativity and contributes decisively to the mastery of digital literacy: Many goals achieved with one single objective! I believe that eLearning will help us close the digital divide by ensuring wider access to learning opportunities. It can profoundly transform our educational systems by enriching teaching and learning practices. It helps to personalize learning experiences.

In our workshop we will be hearing the views of experts and successful implementers of past projects; we will gather the views of key stakeholders; teachers, students, parents, eLearning industries, schools associations. Collectively we will work towards defining the way forward, what would be our targets, how would we measure progress and success, what actions to be undertaken. We have asked all participants to propose clear recommendations and actions for the future.

Today we use ICT tools widely in our jobs, we use them widely "after hours", our children use them extensively… but only after school. We have to bring ICT into the classroom to improve how our children learn, to allow more interesting classes, better education. And this is to be done with the involvement of all actors, and notably teachers, who have to become the key actors for change.

The Digital Agenda Assembly workshop dedicated to the eLearning thematic is a good opportunity to build momentum for change; the times are difficult, budget cuts are present everywhere. The challenge is greater ...

You can take part in the debate before the Digital Agenda Assembly (#daa11eu) sharing your ideas on Twitter with the #daa11learning hashtag!

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I agree to the initial comment, that we need to bring ICT in the classroom. By 2020, especially one focus will be on the secure use of social media in the classroom for education as well as professional training. The research focus should lay on applications to do it in a senseful way, and on guidelines how to use social networks and social media in the class, how to combine this with activities outside of the classroom - mainly from an instructional as well technical point of view. Another trend is seen in communities to network companies/corporate organisations with education and professional training organisations. A key word in this area are "talent communities". Companies will cooperate through social networks with education institutions to fulfill their demand for for training in combination with recruiting people. People will go from corporates back to university to improve their performance but continue to work for companies. Social networks must be enhanced with applications to support such activities. Talent management soluions, learning management solutions, social technologies and mobile technologies will merge to so-called "talent communities" or "talent platforms". Mobile devices will play the major role for the future scenarios. "On device e-learning" will increase acceptance, people will be more skilled in using this technology.
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As long as real teachers are not replaced by computers, although perhaps one day when the technology is advanced enough they might.