Teaching staff is often confronted with the need to stay up to date and adapt to new teaching techniques. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the confinement measures adopted to contain it, the need to urgently enhance digital skills of both teachers and learners has dramatically emerged. What we expected to be an easy passage to online classes proved to be difficult partially for the lack of stable infrastructure and equipment, but also for the lack of digital skills of the teaching staff.
The need to equip all citizens with the necessary digital competences is clearly acknowledge by National and European policies. It goes in this direction the European Digital Competence Framework (DigComp), which provides a structure allowing European citizens to better understand what it means to be digitally competent and to assess and further develop their own digital competence. In particular, the DigComp identifies the key components of digital competence in 5 areas (see picture below):
- Information and data literacy;
- Communication and collaboration
- Digital content creation;
- Problem solving.
These were the reason that moved a group of very committed organisation that have the training of disadvantaged groups at their core to come together and set up the Digi Teachers Working Online (DIGI) Project. DiGI project wants to enhance teaching staff’s proficiency especially in the areas of digital resources, teaching and learning and empowering learners. Digi Teachers Working Online project aims actively at equipping teaching staff engaged in special education with digital skills they can utilize when teaching and instructing the disabled (secondary) target groups both online and face-to-face.
More precisely, Digi Teachers Working Online project aims at developing and enhancing the basic digital skills of the teaching staff, and in particular equipping teaching staff engaged in special education with digital skills they can utilize when teaching and instructing the persons belonging to vulnerable groups.
Coordinated by the Finnish Foundation Live and involving partners from Finland (TIEKE TIETOYHTEISKUNNAN KEHITTAMISKESKUS RY), Germany (Arbeit und Bildung e.V.), Italy (OpenGroup), Spain (ESMENT Foundation), and Belgium/Europe (ARFIE Network), the project partnership is committed in reaching its goal via 5 interconnected project results:
- A survey to identify the digital and pedagogical skills that teachers need to improve in their current/future online teaching;
- A syllabus (framework of competencies) for teachers who need to improve their digital skills, as well as a model for an open badge constellation and finalise an exemplary badge;
- A training course, based on the syllabus, for teaching staff working with special need students and people with disabilities.
- Piloting the training module in each organisation and with participants from different levels on their digital skills;
- A toolbox collecting all the result of the project and providing stakeholders with a reference on how to take advantage of the DIGI results.
The DIGI partnership is strongly convinced that vocational training represents a unique opportunity to improve the skills of disadvantaged groups and, ultimately, favouring social inclusion. To do so however, teaching staff should be trained and up to date with regard to tools and techniques to make it effective and accessible. DIGI Project goes in that direction, and will provide tools to develop and enhance basic digital skills of the teaching staff, particularly those working with disadvantaged groups.
The project has just started and the partnership is working hard to deliver its first results, which will be soon available. Stay tuned to know more!