The fast development and digitalisation of all aspects of our lives is a given – think medical care, transport or industrial production. All those fields are in constant transformation, affected by technological developments applied to increase effectiveness. Yet, education somehow does not seem to be catching up at equal pace. 

Imagine the classroom of 1917 – do you see rows of desks and chairs, and students attentively listening to teacher’s instruction? Yes, you are right. That’s the paradigm than has been developed for school instruction and, without any doubt, was a thing of 1917. Sadly, when you think about a classroom of today – 2017 – very often it is the very same vision, isn’t it?

This is the argument that we have made and have been discussing with almost 100 participants of the Annual Conference of European Digital Learning Network (dLearn). Taking place in Brussels on 19th of October, the event gathered members of the network – representatives of education institutions, policy makers, civil society organisations and researchers – to jointly reflect on the Opportunities and developments in the fast growing digital era - as this is what the event was titled.

The panellists of the conference, besides OBESSU, included representatives from DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) as well as DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) of the European Commission; Lifelong Learning Platform Director (LLLP) and researchers in education area.

The debate was centred around results of a research on perspectives on future of digital learning in the EU, run by dLearn earlier in the year. While the full results of the research are still to be published, we have already seen the first report draft. All panellists and participants engaged in discussions around possible developments in digital learning for schools, higher education and Vocational Education and Training (VET) areas.

Among many conclusions, the main one – also strongly presented by OBESSU through our policy paper on ICT education – was that digital development cannot been as an isolated element, but is rather a part of a broad process, that has to include a deep transformation of learning paradigm, with a shift toward learner–centred methodologies, that explore potential of digital tools. Importance of teacher training was also emphasised, with an important notion: we shall speak rather of ‘facilitators of learning’ than ‘teachers’ - giving in this way more ownership and leadership to learners themselves. We could not support it more!

For more information on OBESSU’s stand on digitalisation, you can contact our Board: board@obessu.org