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Digital Competences for creating, collaborating, respecting…

Can we cultivate initiative and self-motivation in children to encourage their cooperation and communication with “anything, from anywhere, in anytime, on any device, by anybody”, using appropriate applications and rules? Can we provide children with digital environments for "being active builders of knowledge" and of their digital artefacts? Can we encourage their active involvement and social participation in meaningful activities, being strategic, engaging in self-regulation, being reflective (namely "how children learn")?

Digital literacy, or digital competence, according to the EC framework, can be expressed as the “confident and critical usage of information and communications technology for work, leisure and communication”, and has a direct impact on children’s progress and learning. There are several ways to make this connection, the most common being to focus on the development of 21stcentury skills or competencies.Models can be found at P21,UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachersand 8 Key Competences for Lifelong Learning(with examples such as Developing pupil competences through eTwinning)and the widespread digital taxonomiesbased on Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy. In another approach in our continuously changing and connected world, there are 63 things every student should know in a digital world(in 13 categories).

All of these models involve a hierarchy of cognitive levels and corresponding action verbs, matching these to a child’s activities and corresponding applications.

Many models and frameworks for digital competences or digital literacies exist. We choose to mention very briefly the following:

“Being digitally competent” is a task for the 21st century citizen, according to the European Digital Competence Framework(DigComp) that offers a tool to improve citizen's digital competence. DigComp 2.0 presents the list of 21 competences(also called the conceptual reference model, in 5 competence areas, see figure) and maps out 4 broad proficiency levels(foundation, intermediate, advanced, highly-specialised). Examples of use can be found in DigComp 2.1.

The Microsoft Education Transformation Framework(ETF) with 4 main componentsof transformation to plan and implement change at systemic level: Leadership and Policy, Modern Teaching and Learning, Intelligent Environments, Technology Blueprint. The framework is based on the importance of the following future-ready skills:problem solving, future-ready learning design for problem solving, collaboration, creativity, communication, science, technology, engineering & math (STEM), social and emotional skills, and entrepreneurship.

The ISTE Standards for Students(ISTE) are designed to empower the student voice and ensure that learning is a student-driven process of exploration, creativity and discovery no matter where they or their teachers are in the thoughtful integration of technology. A student can become:empowered learner, digital citizen, knowledge constructor, innovative designer, computational thinker, creative communicator and global collaborator.

The Digital Intelligence(DQ) model is focused on a "set of social, emotional and cognitive abilities that enable individuals to face the challenges and adapt to the demands of digital life". These 8 abilitiesare defined as abstract nouns: digital identity, digital use, digital safety, digital security, digital emotional intelligence, digital communication, digital literacy, and digital rights.

Different implementations of the above mentioned models and frameworks exist. We choose to mention very briefly the following:

The “Open Sesame” model(of the “Network for Children’s Rights”, member of the Eurochild, in the Greek article “Open Sesame” and a chapter book “Models of Competences for the Real and Digital World”) defines 4 categories of rights-profile of 3 main digital actions-processes(basic verbs): Observer/Operator(read listen watch), Inquirer/Explorer(be informed, search/browse, explore), Thinker/Solver(drill/practice, solve/code, play), Creator/Communicator(process, create, connect/share).Each verb corresponds directly to the apps that appear on the screen of the tablet and also to the cognitive levels of digital taxonomies, from the big list of 126 Bloom’s Taxonomy Verbs for Digital Learning(matching the cognitive levels ofBloom’s Revised Taxonomyand the ISTE 2016 Standards for Students, see figure).“Open Sesame” can easily connectall childrenwith programs that make use of technology (e.g. Opportunity for All? Technology and Learning in Lower-Income Families).

The “Padagogy Wheel” brings together in the one chart several different domains of pedagogical thinking. It situates mobile apps within this integrated framework, associating them with the educational purpose they are most likely to serve. The Wheelcan be seen as a structured set of prompts that reflects on teaching, from planning to implementation. These prompts are interconnected where a decision in one area often affects decisions in other areas. These areas are considered as the following 5 grids: Graduate Attributes and Capabilities, Motivation, Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, Technology Enhancement, SAMR Model.

The “iReadHorizon 2020 Projectaims to develop personalised learning technologies to support reading skills. For the needs of the project 200+ tablets are currently being distributed from Doukas School R&D 20 Greek public primary schools, aiming to reach at least 750 students grades. Project team decided to create a more general tablet prototype, anobject-to-think and play”, with a clear focus on iRead. The other applications of this tablet can support iRead with additional activities such as reading,writing,drawing,mind mapping, etc. and at the same time it can be utilized in multiple teaching subjects and interdisciplinary projects (so as to be used in various learning activities and by more students in schools).

The “1:1 Educational Computing” is the practice in which each pupil in the class has their own computer, which they use to participate in the learning activities. It is equipped with the appropriate educational multimedia interactive material, as well as with applications that help students by supporting customized educational activities: to acquire knowledge, analyze, comprehend[engage], to comprehend, evaluate, synthesize[empower], and to: synthesize, apply, create[excite]. The various teaching models used for this purpose, can be grouped into the following 3 main categories: teacher-centered, student-centered, and team-centered.

Integrated a "children friendly" digital learning environment with applications, into the daily curriculum, based on a "well-structured" frameworks with children’s aptitude in mind, and in conjunction with local and cross-regional networking, collaboration and educational programs, we can offer significant support for the development of their 21stcentury competences.

Yannis Kotsanis, 9/12/2018

R&D in Education Specialist, Member of the SEEBoard



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