Thu 6th April 2017 - 11:54

What Digital Competences Educators really need?

Digital Competence has become a hot topic, especially for school education. While schools are still struggling with the digital infrastructure, students are already using digital technologies widely, for life and leisure, but also to support their learning - whether or not this is foreseen in curricula. Students' life is a digital life.

Schools, teachers and education ministries are aware of this and are increasingly focusing on developing curricula, guidelines or materials to ensure that students use technology creatively and critically, effectively, meaningfully and responsibly. 

As programmes focusing on students' digital competence are taking off, the call for equipping teachers (or more generally, educators at all levels) with digital skills is getting louder. But what are the digital competences that educators need to have? Are we talking about dealing with digital devices or compiling digital learning resources?  Are we talking about technical skills or pedagogical competences? What is it that makes an educator digitally competent?

The European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators (DigCompEdu) intends to answer these questions. And its answer is easy: Yes, educators do need to have a good level of overall digital competence (as captured for example in the 'DigComp' general Digital Competence Framework for Citizens), because they are citizens in a digital age and role models for the next generation. However, to be digitally competent educators, they need a specific set of competences that focuses on their professional activities.

Therefore, the DigCompEdu framework considers six areas of professional activity and describes how digital competence is expressed in each of them.

Area 1 focuses on the professional environment, on using digital technologies to support communication and collaboration within the organisation and beyond it, for professional expression and development.

Areas 2 to 5 focus on the different aspects relevant to teaching:

Area 2 focuses on sourcing, creating and sharing digital resources.

Area 3 focuses on managing and orchestrating the use of digital tools in teaching and learning.

Area 4 focuses on using digital tools and strategies to enhance assessment.

Area 5 focuses on the use of digital tools to empower learners.

Area 6 links educators' digital competence back to learners' competences, by postulating that it is an expression of educators' digital competence to facilitate that of their learners'.

Once completed, this framework will help to guide policy making and the definition of teacher training curricula and courses across the EU.

You are not convinced? You would like to know more? You want to influence how teachers will be trained in the future?

Now is the time to speak up!

This framework is not yet finalised. Until 1 May you can still change and shape it!

Just participate in our two online stakeholder consultations:

  • In the general framework consultation you can vote which competences and competence descriptors you find relevant and for which sector. You can also add any issues that are missing or propose changes in formulations. This consultation takes around 20-30 minutes to complete.
  • Then there is a consultation on the future self-assessment tool for teachers – based on the framework. Here we ask you to consider different activities and tell us which level of competence they express. Again you can also tell us if these are statements that are not relevant or important issues missing. Since the full list of statements to be used in the future self-assessment tool is very long, we have prepared two versions of this consultation for you to choose between. The short version takes around 30 minutes to complete and the complete version, around 50 minutes.

This is an opportunity for you to reshape the framework and future education policy in this field across Europe.

Educators' digital competence is important and we have to make sure that this framework captures it well.

For more information, please refer to the DigCompEdu website or contact the lead researcher Christine Redecker.

More news later this year on the final framework!

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