The urgent need to enhance the digital skills of both teachers and learners has been widely identified and has become even more vital during the COVID-19 situation. National and European policies acknowledge the need to equip all citizens with the necessary competences to use digital technologies critically and creatively. Digital skills have moved from ‘optional’ to ‘critical’.
The Digi Teachers Working Online project aims at developing and enhancing both the basic digital skills of the teaching staff and their proficiency especially in the areas of digital resources, teaching and learning and empowering learners online. Teachers participating in the project are engaged in special education.
Participating organizations will gain new digital and pedagogical methods, ideas and practices to benefit their students with special needs and enhance the quality of online learning and teaching.
Digitally skilled teachers in special education
The implementation of the project supports the European Declaration on Digital Rights and Principles for the Digital Decade that puts people at the center of the digital transformation, emphasizes solidarity and inclusion and the right of everyone to digital education and skills.
Furthermore, the European Pillar of Social Rights emphasizes that everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning to maintain and acquire skills that enable to participate fully in society and manage successful transitions in the labor market. Equal opportunities of under-represented groups shall be fostered. Disabled and people in vulnerable situations that the project consortium organizations work with, are in danger of being excluded from the society also due to the lack of sufficient digital skills.
We often used to think that distance learning does not fit the students with special needs. After one year of the hybrid or distant learning it was noticed that most of the students manage with the distance learning and many students with special needs actually profit from distance learning as the studying becomes more flexible. It is necessary that the teachers can provide such opportunities also in the future.
Syllabus elaborated on surveys and DigCompEdu
The main objective of the project is to create and test new digital training content and methods to develop digital key competences of VET teaching staff working with students with special needs or in otherwise vulnerable positions. The structure of the project builds on the surveys, one that was done during the design phase of the project and the more profound survey that will follow during summer and early autumn 2022, the schedule little varying by country.
The surveys identify the digital and pedagogical skills that teachers need to improve in their current and future distance teaching and learning. The pedagogical and digital skills needs identified through the surveys are transferred into a training course syllabus forming a solid common base for a training. The syllabus will be built on the European DigCompEdu framework and the survey results strongly taking into consideration the requirements of special needs education.
Training course, teachers’ toolbox and getting to know open badges
The syllabus will serve as a bridge between the survey’s analysis and the development of the training module. The actual online training courses will be implemented in the participating countries Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain.
The syllabus will also be supported by a model of open badge constellation and an exemplary badge that will be issued during the project. The model enables, according to the principles of competence based learning, the verification of teachers’ digital skills by identifying and recognizing their skills in areas defined in the syllabus. The exemplary open badge will also open the principles and strengths of using open badges more widely in validating the competencies of teachers and students.
During the piloting phase the content, usability and quality of the training course will be validated and towards the end of the project good practices and tools are collected and published as a digi teacher’s toolbox.
A website gathering all information and materials produced during the Digi Teachers project will be published later. Until then please follow this page.
Digi Teachers Working Online -project in a nutshell
In the Digi Teachers project we create new digital training content and methods to develop digital competence of VET staff working with students with special needs.
Teachers in the participating organisations will gain new digital and pedagogical methods to benefit the students and enhance the quality of online teaching and learning.
1.11.2021 – 1.5.2024
Live Foundation, Suomi (project lead), www.livesaatio.fi
Amadip. Esment Fundación, Spain, www.amadipesment.org
Arbeit und Bildung, Germany, www.arbeit-und-bildung.de
Arfie, Belgium, www.arfie.info
TIEKE Finnish Information Society Development Centre, Finland, www.tieke.fi
Erasmus+ -programme coordinated by Finnish National Agency for Education