Digital Literacy Report - UK

Luis Pereira, Julian McDougall

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


    It all starts from a place of passion. Some people say that digital and media literacy gets under your skin, because once you discover how well it works with learners, you want every student in the world to experience it.” (Hobbs, 2011, p. 168)

    Indeed, a revolution is going on at the very moment you read this words and you are repeatedly participating in it every time you log in. As with every revolution, the digital one started from a passion, a vision, an urgency to spread, and the promise of qualitative changes to come. One such change was the recent declaration of the United Nations (2016) on considering internet access a basic human right. How spread is this right across Europe? Is it the case that the digital is fundamentally changing literacy? What is the landscape of digital literacy and education interactions across European countries? What challenges digital literacy poses to education in Europe?

    These are some of the questions that fueled the workings of the ELN’s Digital Literacy Team and gave rise to the country reports offered below for download. The objective of the country reports was to collect information about digital literacy (DL) in as many European countries as possible. The first batch of reports present on the situation in Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, and United Kingdom, these countries are already represented in DL Team and likely others will also join. The information compiled for the reports was collected online between 2014 and July 2016. The main sources for the reports were the ministries of education and other ministries that have policies on DL; national boards, organizations and councils in charge of developing strategies for promoting DL; and other associations, agencies, departments or corporations conducting work related to DL. A sizeable amount of e-material was painstakingly collected and gathered in detailed reports. The richness of this information relies not only on the differences among targeted countries and close connections with industries and stakeholders, but also on the complementary backgrounds of the involved researchers, who come from diverse fields such as communication and media studies, media education, early literacy development, literacy disabilities, applied linguistics, didactics, mathematics, and digital technologies for education.

    Consistently across countries, each report includes three sections, namely, Background, Scope, and Future. The section on background focuses on the historical perspective and in main concepts pertaining to DL, along with the policies across countries, legal policy frameworks, and the curricula. The section on Scope, relies on stakeholders, special needs education policies, contests to support DL, evaluation mechanisms, rights, and initiatives promoted by private companies. The third section takes a look into the Future, by addressing challenges and identifying recommendations as well as European best practices and interesting case studies in fostering DL.

    The reports’ structure relates to current H2020 directives and is well aligned with the societal goals of the European Literacy Network. This set of cross-cultural reports aims to increase public awareness on the central role that DL can play in Europe’s development, specifically by focusing on identifying educational practices that boost DL and build inclusive societies.

    Maria José Brites, coordinator of Digital Literacy Team
    July 2017

    Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and Media Literacy: Connecting Culture and Classroom. California: Corwin.
    United Nations (2016). The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet (A/HRC/32/L.20). Retrieved from
    Original languageEnglish
    Commissioning bodyELN - European Literacy Network
    Number of pages19
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


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