Where is the “m” in Skills for Life?
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There are changes afoot in the world of Skills for Life. The post-Moser “golden era” in which the teaching of literacy and numeracy moved from the shadows into the spotlight may be about to shift focus. Is there still a place for innovative and challenging approaches to learning in the skills for life field? To put it another way, can we afford not to experiment and explore as targets become more challenging and learners harder to reach? Current policy initiatives in Skills for Life are revealing a trend towards the functional. The 14-19 Education and Skills White Paper, for example, shows the DfES giving the QCA a remit to develop functional skills in English, Mathematics and ICT “to engage purposefully as citizens and in employment”. Another trend is the apparent focus on Level 3 qualifications, with less of an emphasis on Entry level learners. ICT is still considered to be important: 21st Century Skills: Realising our potential highlights the importance of using ICT to motivate people to improve their literacy and numeracy skills. As part of their Innovative Practice with e- learning programme, JISC have produced a good practice guide to embedding mobile and wireless technology into everyday practice www.jisc.ac.uk/learning_innovarion.html . This identifies some key benefits of using mobile and wireless technologies: portability, anytime, anyplace connectivity, flebile and timely access to learning resources, immediacy of communication, empowerment and engagement of learners, and activelearning experiences.