In October 2015 the Basic Digital Skills report was issued by Go On UK, (the UK’s digital skills charity). The findings were covered by the press partly because of the first ever digital exclusion heatmap, which displays a measure of digital exclusion across the UK, down to local authority/council levels.
Go On UK have identified five key digital skills that people need in order to undertake simple digital tasks and to keep pace with trends. These are: managing information, communicating, transacting, creating and problem solving. When you analyse these skills by tasks, several of them are core information literacy skills such ‘verify sources of information I found online’ or information management such as ‘use a search engine to look for information online. (You can view the digital skills framework on the website and even complete a self-assessment of your own digital skills!) And some of them are similar to the new digital literacy qualification being implemented as one of the Essential Skills being implemented in Wales.
The searchable heatmap combines the basic digital skills (as defined by the 11 tasks) along with known indicators of social exclusion such as age, sex and broadband coverage.
The report found that people living in Wales had the lowest levels of basic digital skills (at 62%), although it is only just behind the West Midlands (63%) and Northern Ireland (65%).
Looking through the list of 11 tasks (which are on page 5 of the report), it is possible to see how library staff can re-affirm their position of being able to help people undertake digital tasks to help them improve their skills.
So it is very good timing for a forthcoming digital celebration week coming up in Wales, which will be the subject of my next blog post!