The action plan on digital learning
The European Commission adopted a Communication on the digital education action plan in 2018.
A Communication on resetting education and training for the digital age was published in 2020 to reflect on distance learning due to the lockdown.
The initial action plan outlined how the EU can help individuals, educational institutions and education systems to better adapt for life and work in an age of rapid digital change by:
- making better use of digital technology for teaching and learning;
- developing relevant digital competences and skills for the digital transformation;
- improving education through better data analysis and foresight;
- strengthening European identity through education and culture.
Two more points were added in the Communication:
- fostering the development of a high-performing digital education ecosystem;
- enhancing digital skills and competences for the digital transformation.
The European Commission has also adopted a Communication on strengthening European identity through education and culture. This Communication was the Commission's contribution to the leaders' meeting on education and culture at the Gothenburg summit.
Funding Research and Innovation for Digital Learning
The European Commission funds many activities on research and innovation for digital learning under several programmes, including Horizon 2020, the seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP).
The following areas were covered under Horizon 2020:
- an empowering, inclusive next generation Internet (ICT-2019-30);
- technologies for learning and skills (ICT-22-2016);
- technologies for better human learning and teaching (ICT 20 – 2015);
- advanced digital gaming/gamification technologies (ICT 21- 2014).
In the work programme year 2018-2020 of the Horizon 2020 programme, the Commission focused on supporting actions on smarter, open, trusted and personalised learning solutions. These solutions helped to optimise digital learning and to allow learners to engage and interact with content and with their peers (topic ICT-30-2019-2020: an empowering, inclusive Next Generation Internet).
The European Commission also co-funds the development and demonstration of a European-wide learning and assessment technology system. It also co-funds networks to facilitate the up-skilling and re-skilling of European citizens at risk of exclusion.
Following the initiative of the European Parliament, the Commission co-finances a pilot project to identify existing digital learning solutions that can support teachers in the classroom and parents at home with pupils having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and/or concentration problems.
Digitisation of schools
The Commission carried out a second survey of schools: ICT in education in 2019. The survey had two objectives:
- benchmark progress in ICT in schools;
- define a model for a highly equipped and connected classroom.
The survey was carried out in 31 countries (EU27 + UK, Norway, Iceland and Turkey). It provides detailed and reliable benchmarking on the use of ICT in school education across Europe, and infrastructure provision, use, confidence and attitudes.
The European Commission also published a study on satellite-based broadband services in schools. The study showed that in 2015, an estimated 18% of EU primary and secondary schools were not connected to broadband. The study concluded that the satellite broadband could be an efficient option for poorly connected schools. It also suggested that a voucher scheme could be used as a tool to close the broadband gap for schools.