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New resource opens for digital public service skills

31/07/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

A group of public service digital experts and institutions has set up a free online resource to support the spread of digital skills in government.

Transparent fingers on keyboard

Named Teaching Public Service Digital, it has been put together by a group of volunteers, funded by the Public Interest Technology University Network and will be accompanied by a masters-level course to be launched in October.

The website provides free, open access teaching materials on digital era skills for lecturers, teachers and public service leaders, contributed by a community of professors, teachers and practitioners. These include learning plans and tools curated by a team of editors.

Tom Steinberg, founder of the mySociety civil technology organisation in the UK, is one of the initiative’s co-founders and is now incubating the project remotely through the Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University in the US.

“Universities and in-house teaching academies are the institutions that define the skills of future public service leaders,” he said. “We want to help these institutions to teach 21st century skills to help solve 21st century problems.”

Support network

He said the team is also developing a support network for educators to improve their own teaching skills.

It is also producing assets for the masters-level course, which will be released as an open educational resource.

The programme is underpinned by a set of eight digital era competencies developed over six months, providing a view of what all public service leaders need to be capable of. They include: anticipating and mitigating privacy, security and ethical risks; understanding the need to blend traditional public service and digital skills; and understanding the importance of iteration and rapid feedback loops.

Image by Kiran Foster, CC BY 2.0

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