Why do students need to prepare for a digital society? According to the VSNU (2017) ‘it has already become clear that extensive digitisation is set to radically change practically all aspects of society, not only in the Netherlands but throughout the world.’ Digitisation comes with benefits in the field of research, healthcare, application of technologies etc, but also raises concerns around inclusion, safety, privacy and democracy. Our students need to be prepared to be aware of the possibilities, utilise the opportunities, and assess and negotiate the risks.
Themes associated with digital society:
- Data science: How to make full and responsible use of big data;
- Health and Wellbeing: How to let technology generate longer, healthier lives;
- Learning and Education: How to enable people to participate meaningfully in all stages of life;
- Work and Organisations: How to prepare companies and workers for a new economy;
- Citizenship and Democracy: How to reinvent trust, dialogue and decision-making;
- Digital Cities and Communities: How to build smart, enjoyable cities and hinterlands;
- Safety and Security: How to protect data, people and freedoms.
(Source VSNU, 2017)
Questions to ask before addressing digital skills in teaching and learning activities
- Are there any digital tools that I can utilise in the classroom so that students can experience the application of digital technologies? This could range from voting Apps to using GIS in field studies.
- How can I stay up-to-date with the latest digital developments in my field of research or profession?
- Are there any recommendations from my professional body regarding digital skills?
- Are there any digital tools that I can utilise in the classroom so that students can experience the application of digital technologies?
- How can I make a link between the subjects that I am teaching and the emerging digital society? What are current examples that I could refer to?
- What digital research tools are available? Are my students aware of the advantages and pitfalls?
- Are there opportunities to invite guest speakers with an expertise in this field?
- Are there any opportunities to stimulate curiosity and an entrepreneurial attitude in my students? For example, through organising debates or experimental workshops.
- Are my students acting on the ethical implications of the use of data and digital technologies? Think, for example, of safe-guarding privacy.
Co-curricular and extra-curricular
- Are my students aware of skills workshops or employability modules?
- Are they aware of opportunities to participate in extracurricular competitions, hackathons and conferences?
- Application of Technology in Teaching and Learning
- Flexible Pedagogies: preparing for the future – This short publication focuses on how e-learning can support flexible pedagogies. It also explains how technology could enable new choices for learners.
- Versnellingsagenda voor onderwijsinnovatie (2017) – De Vereniging van Universiteiten, Vereniging Hogescholen en SURF presenteren in dit document een gezamenlijke Versnellingsagenda voor gebruik van ICT in onderwijsinnovatie.