The eTwinning conference ended with some food for thought on eTwinning and Competences brought by the experts present in our panel discussion (Brian Holmes, from EACEA (moderator), Patrick Griffin, from University of Melbourne, Riina Vuorikari, from IPTS and Donatella Nucci, from Italian NSS).
Brian Holmes introduced the topic saying “The teacher role in learning with ICT has changed from knowledge expert to mentor, facilitator and orchestrator.”
The panel was challenged to answer three questions:
- How can teachers help children of today to be ready for the challenges of tomorrow?
- How would we describe the competences needed to make effective use of technology?
- What can we do practically to support teachers?
Patrick Griffin reflected mainly on the first question stating, “There is a consensus that we need the content of the curricula to be the context to develop competences.” There is a need to shift the curricula to allow building competences such as: Collaboration, communication, critical thinking, coding and creativity. Teachers need to challenge students by formulating hypothesis (what if? What about?…). This is at the basis of collaborative problem solving skills.
Reflecting on this need to challenge the environment Riina Vuorikari presented what does it mean to be digital competent. As she said being Digital competent is not being competent on the use of ICT tools, it is the combination of the attitude, knowledge and skills. “Digital competence involves the confident and critical use of ICT for employment, learning, self-development and participation in society (EC, 2006)”
Riina V. introduced theEC digital competence Framework, exemplifying the competences included in that framework with an eTwinning project kit (A taste of Maths ATOM) reinforcing that eTwinning widely promotes Digital and other competences.
Donatella Nucci affirmed that “School as it is conceived now does not satisfy the need to society we have now”. The focus of elearning shifted to learning and, therefore we need to create a different type of school and teaching. Donatella sees eTwinning as new way of teaching. Talking about Italy in particular she mentioned that Initial teacher training is more focused on content than in methodology. Hence there is an effort at a government level to implement new directions in several regions.
The teachers in the audience were reminded that the competences needed for a collaborative teaching are Social and interpersonal skills. To finalize the discussion Brian Holmes emphasized that Teachers Professional Development is changing to include a wider reality.