Whilst these projects were exploring Essential Digital Skills (EDS), they were met with the challenge of a qualification that was not necessarily purposeful for some of their learners. As such they endeavoured to find ways to be inspired by EDS and in some instances use it as a framework to embed the development of digital literacy in their learning spaces.
The project teams challenged assumptions, worked multi-modally, collaboratively and reflectively. Each team was a joy to work with and think critically alongside. As their mentor, I learned a lot about my own practice as an ESOL teacher and digital specialist. Their experiences contributed to my ongoing thoughts about the value that EDS has for embedding digital skills, particularly in ESOL provision and other discreet cohorts (regardless of whether or not they are doing the qualification).
Some projects focussed explicitly on providing a foundation course towards the EDS qualification, whilst others worked to develop a bridge between learning, and life and work. Needless to say, each team was innovative in their approaches to developing the digital resilience of their learners (and in some ways, themselves).
Barnsley Adult Skills + Community Learning developed a short Essential Digital Skills course for lower level ESOL learners. Their focus was on the grading of language along with using appropriate visuals. The team took a cross-curricula approach which has also broken down barriers within the organisation itself; between the IT and ESOL department.
Islington Adult Community Learning developed a short Essential Digital Skills course for entry level ESOL learners to enable them to confidently access email and Zoom across a range of devices. The project team believe that the key to its success was the way in which it was delivered by ESOL teachers rather than IT teachers.
Manchester Adult Education Service explored how far their existing learning app could be used as a remote bridge course to develop the (ESOL + literacy) learners’ digital skills in preparation for blended learning.
Newcastle City Learning investigated learners’ feelings about digital note-taking in health and social care with both ESOL + English cohorts. The team discovered that the learners’ anxieties were based around the content of the notes themselves rather than the digital skills required to undertake the task.
Watch the group presentations (renamed ‘Cluster 17’) at the final dissemination event by clicking play (to the right).