screenshot from EU Science Hub’s Digital Competence Framework for Educators (DigCompEdu) website

A skill represents a learnt ability to perform a specific task or activity to a level of proficiency, whilst  competencies are defined as the knowledge, awareness and behaviours needed to operate within a specific context. Examples of digital competencies can be found within the European Commission’s  DigComp 2: The Digital Competence Framework for Citizens and the ambitions for Europe’s Digital Decades.


In addition, the Commission has published a Digital Competence Framework for Educators as represented below, which describes educator-specific digital competences:


This document acknowledges the challenge for educators to develop their own digital competence, as well as being able to facilitate the development of digital competencies in young people, and that this is much broader than just being able to use digital spaces and tools for learning.


Facilitating Young People’s Digital Competence Development

Learning to Swim in the Digital Ocean, an infographic taken from DigComp 2.1, illustrates the competencies of a digital citizen that can be applied at different levels. These can also be applied within the specific areas listed below (Digital Competence Framework for Educators), and can provide a framework for the development of digital competencies in young people: 

  • Information and media literacy
    •  Seeking and interpreting digital information and sources, and using critical thinking or ‘crap detection’ to evaluate and apply information and sources.
  • Digital communication and collaboration
    • Using digital tools collaboratively, respectfully and ethically and to positively promote young people’s voice.
  • Digital content creation
    • Enabling young people to communicate, market and promote their creativity and voice whilst using different digital formats, in the context of technical specifications such as privacy and copyright.
  • Responsible use
    • Raising awareness with regard to physical, psychological and social well-being, for themselves and others in digital contexts, and empowering them to minimise risks and develop protective behaviours.
  • Digital problem solving
    • Developing resourceful behaviours in order to resolve issues and problems.


Dr Jane Melvin
Dr Jane Melvin

Jane is currently a Principal Lecturer at the University of Brighton in the UK, and Partnership Lead for the School of Educations’s work with the Mauritius Institute of Education, as well as Assistant Programme Leader for the Undergraduate Work-based Learning Programme. Jane came into youth work through outdoor and experiential education. Her research interests now centre on the use of digital technologies as a vehicle for engaging young people in informal and experiential learning contexts, and the research for her Professional Doctorate in Education (Ed D) examined the nature of digital tools, spaces and places as mediators of youth work practice. She is also an author, contributing chapters to recent youth work and children’s workforce texts, and is a passionate campaigner for the promotion of youth work as a distinct education-based practice and professional discipline.