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Education goes digital

On 25 September 2013 the Commission launched its communication Opening up Education. Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda and Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, jointly presented the communication which aims at improving the digital dimension of education in Europe

The document covers three main areas:

  • learning innovation for organisations, teachers and learners through digital means such as Open Educational Resources (OER), more notably Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs);
  • opportunities to make use of OER for diffusion of knowledge by improving access and ensuring better quality; and
  • improvement of infrastructure and interoperability by expanding Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and by providing a legal basis for interoperability standards of hardware devices and software configurations.

According to the Commission's communication, measures are necessary given the room for improvement concerning the use of ICT in education as shown by a study commissioned by the Directorate-General CONNECT on the use, competence and attitudes of students and teachers on ICT in schools. Also with regard to Open Educational Resources, Europe has lost quickly ground on innovative platforms such as MOOCs, which is a field largely dominated by US American universities and providers, as pointed out by the communication.

Funding for measures will be provided within the frameworks of Erasmus+, Horizon 2020 and structural funds. The initiative is supported by the EU’s platform Open Education Europa. The website is intended to function as a gateway to innovative learning in Europe by offering an overview and access to all existing European OERs. For the future, in total 24 other actions are planned such as the launch of the Electronic Platform for Adult Education Learning in Europe (EPALE). Already in the past, the Commission has launched projects fostering education and digitalisation such as the Open Discovery Space (ODS), serving as an access point for eLearning resources.

European Commission press release