2022 has been a busy year. We’d like to share some of the highlights with you so please read on below to see what we were up to this year and events across the digital skills landscape in Ireland and beyond.
Spring 2022 was the season when we emerged from pandemic restrictions and ICDL providers were able to start meeting again in person. Here’s a few highlights of what happened this spring.
Advances in AI generated art
DALL.E 2 launched, a new AI system that can create original, realistic images and art from a text description. It can combine concepts, attributes, and styles to form an impressive visual result.
Office 365 versions of Documents, Presentation and Spreadsheets modules launched
To meet demand for Office 365 versions of the Office productivity modules, ICDL launched new versions that were made available to all test centres.
Despite war, Ukrainian candidates continue to take ICDL
Candidates in Ukraine have continued their ICDL studies and tests despite the outbreak of war in the country. During these difficult circumstances, candidates are showing a remarkable resilience in continuing to improve their digital skills. Ukrainian refugees in Ireland have also joined ICDL courses in test centres across the country. In addition, as of December 2022 there are 13323 Ukrainian students enrolled in Irish schools.
National digital strategy launched
The National Digital Strategy was published by the government in February. It is a high-level document providing an overarching long-term vision of the impacts of digitalisation on Ireland.
SARS-CoV-2 becomes most sequenced organism on Earth
Thanks to the Covid tests many of us took over the pandemic, scientists have been able to create over 7 million maps of the entire genome of the virus to track changes. This means they can more easily and quickly spot new variants. This number of mappings surpasses the flu virus, HIV or even our own human genome.
During the European All Digital Weeks, ICDL considered the theme of enhancing digital skills and promoting digital inclusion and accessibility. Digital literacy in 2022 and beyond will increasingly mean more than skills for specific software tools: we need to reimagine digital literacy to mean skills for life, study and work.
The government launched a new strategy for schools to advance the embedding of digital technologies across teaching, learning and assessment, building on the work under previous strategies. It aims to ensure students have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to navigate an ever-evolving digital world successfully.
Summer 2022 was a record-breaking year for heat across Europe but digital skills showed no sign of slowing down over the summer. ICDL Ireland and our test centres were busy throughout the season.
St Mary’s Secondary School in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary was announced winner of this year’s ICDL Ireland schools competition. The winning school told a remarkable story of how their transition year students used the digital skills learnt through ICDL to fundraise for cancer. Special mentions also go to Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne in Dingle, Co. Kerry and Loreto Letterkenny Secondary School in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal for their entries.
The European Commission published DigComp 2.2, incorporating key new areas such as AI, the internet of things, and teleworking. The update builds on previous versions of DigComp, the EU’s digital competence framework, which is designed to help define what digital competence means.
ICDL ATC meeting held in person
ICDL Ireland held an in person meeting with ATCs for the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic. Test centres from across the country met to discuss their experiences in delivering ICDL and digital skills training. A further meeting was held in November and more are planned for next year.
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin witnessed the signing of new agreements between ICDL Asia and two leading Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) during his official visit to Singapore from 19 to 22 July 2022. The purpose of the Taoiseach’s visit was to reinforce important bilateral relationships between Singapore and Ireland, and support Irish based organisations like ICDL which are operating in Singapore.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope first full colour images revealed
Images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope were released in July. They are the deepest and sharpest infrared images of the distant universe so far. One image shows a galaxy cluster as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. Another showed a star forming region in the Carina Nebula.
Over this past summer, a group of students from Dublin represented Ireland at the First Lego League competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They returned home with the Breakthrough Award in recognition of their achievements.
Ireland entered autumn with a focus on the economy. But the digital skills sphere was busy too, read on below for our autumn updates.
DESI 2022, the index that the European Commission produces to monitor EU member states’ digital progress on an annual basis, was released. Finland ranks top of the index for 2022 and Ireland came in fifth place.
Two brand new ICDL module launched this year, E-Commerce and Computer and Online Essentials. The E-Commerce module covers the main concepts of e-commerce and develops an understanding of how to set up, manage and maintain a store on an online platform, a social media platform and an e-commerce marketplace.
Second largest fine under GDPR issued to Instagram
The Data Protection Commission imposed Ireland’s largest ever data protection fine of €405 million on Meta, following a two year investigation into their handling of children’s data on Instagram. Notably, teenage users were able to operate business accounts on Instagram, which resulted in the publication of their personal data.
Inaugural Computer Science Week took place
Minister for Education Norma Foley announced Ireland’s first-ever Computer Science Week from 8-15 October. The week’s events showcased the benefits and opportunities of Computer Science for students while shining a light on the impressive developments in classrooms around Ireland.
EU Commission starts work on European Year of Skills
The European Commission has started preparations for 2023, the European Year of Skills. The Year will stress the importance of skills development to leave no one behind while boosting Europe’s recovery. Having the relevant skills empowers people to successfully navigate labour market changes and to fully engage in society and democracy.
Social network Twitter under new ownership
Tech magnate Elon Musk finalised his purchase of Twitter, a day before a court-ordered deadline in the US. Key executives and a large proportion of the staff were removed, and an overhaul of the social media platform is still underway.
ICDL pilot launched in Sweden
In Sweden, a pilot project commenced with Stockholms stad, the municipality of Stockholm. ICDL Accredited Test Centre, Digitala Lyftet, organised the pilot, which will see candidates take ICDL modules in the Swedish language.
EU big tech laws enter into force
The European Union (EU) has brought in ‘landmark’ legislation in regards to Big Tech. The Digital Services Act and Digital Market Act include some of the most extensive transparency and platform accountability for big tech firms. It will apply from May 2023.
Looking forward to 2023
From all of us at ICDL Ireland, we wish you a peaceful, healthy and bright 2023 and look forward to working with you to improve the digital skills of all next year as well.