“Empowering the Learner for Life in the Digital Age” is the theme for the upcoming OCCE.2018 (Open Conference on Computers in Education), an initiative of IFIP Technical Committee TC3 on Education.

To be held in Linz, Austria, the Conference seeks to address the challenges and opportunities emerging with the societal impact of digital technologies and the changing role of ICT in education, digital media and in schools.

Aimed at Researchers, Teachers, ICT practitioners, policy makers and industry vendors, OCCE.2018 recognises that young people today face a challenging situation.

Whilst they have the opportunity to benefit from powerful digital technologies which open up new learning opportunities, they also need to deal with handling and making sense of such devices in a complex and non-stable world.

According to Conference Chairs, Professor Eric Sanchez and Professor Cathy Lewin, “We need to address the omnipresence of digital technologies, their increasing accessibility and power to shape action and perception, through the development of learners’ understanding and application of creativity, computational thinking, media literacy and digital citizenship. This endeavor is not simply about adaptation to a new technology and its associated culture.

“Digital technologies are not just a means of handling the given world, providing relevant learning experiences, enabling young people to more easily make connections with knowledgeable others and learn across boundaries. Digital technologies also enable young people to re-invent their world and society through being active creators and producers rather than passive consumers of knowledge and information. At the same time, the job market is shifting and young people now require a range of digital skills to meet employers’ needs. There is currently a lack of clarity regarding what those skills should be.
“This complex situation gives rise to many tensions. Will employers place greater value on computer science skills (eg coding) or transversal skills? To what extent does (hidden) datafication surrounding online use undermine security and anonymity?  How can we ensure that digital learning opportunities are available to all, irrespective of gender, ethnicity and social class? How can we scale up and sustain innovative uses of digital technologies in education when new technologies are constantly emerging?”
They plan to explore challenges and opportunities emerging with the societal impact of digital technologies through OCCE.2018. Visit http://occe.2018.ocg.at/