I am going to participate in the EU eLearning Conference 2006 in the beginning of July. It is a conference organized by the European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture with the Helsinki University of Technology’s Lifelong Learning Institute Dipoli. The conference themes are: (1) Digital literacy for all, (2) Research, Foresight and Innovation for learning and (3) Partnerships for lifelong learning.
EU conferences are not necessary the most mind-blowing events. I am not saying that they are not important – they are good at bridging the gap between research, practice, business and policy making – but for a researcher/designer they hardly ever give any new insights or wow-experiences.
You may think “big deal?”. But actually it is. My gut feeling is that majority of the participants of the EU conferences are not really in to wikis, blogs, RSS, open standards, open source, open content or any other new and important thing in the digital world. They are fluent in talking about “digital literacy” but are not necessary very “digitally literate” themselves. Even the Pope of e-learning may come over, and I am not sure how digitally literate he is.
One example of the level of digital literacy (yes, it includes reading and writing) in EU Governments is the web sites of the EU Presidencies. How come someone in a year 2006 is releasing a website without RSS-feeds from the site’s news section? Have a look of the Finland’s Presidency 2006 and Austria’s Presidency 2006 websites. No RSS – why?
(1) to open up the EU Learning conference for the online community, and
(2) for educating us – the conference participants – about social software.