The eLearning Action Plan: Designing tomorrow’s education

12 February 2005

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Background

Learning used to be something that mainly happened in class rooms. The emergence of new technologies have changed this and will change it even more in the future. Whilst there is certainly an element of hype and self-interest by the proponents, it would, however, be very risky to ignore the impact of ICTs upon higher education. From a competitive perspective e-learning offers oppportunities to help achieve the Lisbon goal of by 2010 becoming the most innovative an knowledge-based society in the world. From a collaborative perspective, there is considerable potential for the sharing of resources (and costs).

The eEurope 2005 action plan states that every European citizen should be equipped with the skills needed to live and work in the information society. It proposes to connect all schools to the Internet, to adapt school curricula and to train teachers to use digital technologies. In order to ensure that these objectives are met, the Commission on 28 March 2001 adopted the eLearning Action plan. A staff working paper by the Commission highlights and analyses the results of benchmarking the take-up of new technologies in European schools so far.

In November 2003, the Council adopted a proposal for a specific eLearning Programme to combat digital illiteracy and to promote virtual campuses and virtual twinning of schools. The aim of the eLearning programme is to encourage the integration of the new information and communication technologies into European education and training systems, thereby improving their quality and accessibility. It is not designed to replace the Member States' actions in this sector, but to support and complement them.

Issues:

  • Internet penetration;
  • existence of e-skills, ICT skills gap;
  • willingness to successfully integrate technology into
  • education;
  • copyright issues;
  • cultural issues.

    Gender & ICT

    It is identified in the "eLearning Action plan" that specific action must be taken targeting women, as they are significantly under-represented in Science and Technology occupational sectors.

    Document also mentions the need of launching of a specific project to examine the attitudes of women, particularly female teachers, to using the new technologies in education.

    eLearning project online http://www.elearningeuropa.info

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