Modern teachers need digital skills in every level of education

Education in the 21st century is becoming more and more digital, which has also been accelerated by the global epidemic. Digitally Competent Educators short learning programme helps to develop educators’ digital competences regardless of their entry level skills.

Digital skills are becoming increasingly important as educational technology evolves alongside general digital development in society. New digital solutions also bring opportunities to involve learners from longer physical distance in teaching, when students can participate in online lessons.

There is also a possibility of unforeseen closures, as worldwide Covid-19 crisis has shown us, Professor Eva Cendon from FernUniversität in Hagen says. 

“Schools, kindergartens, universities, all other educational places can be locked down due to unforeseen incidents and unpredicted situations. This has shown us that we need to be equipped – apart from adequate infrastructure and bandwidth – with competencies to transform our well-established face-to-face teaching into teaching in a virtual environment.”

Eva Cendon is professor at the Institute of Educational Science and Media Research at FernUniversität in Hagen, Germany. Cendon is one of the developers of the Digitally Competent Educators short learning programme, which aims to boost educators’ digital competences on different proficiency levels – from newcomers, to explorers up to experts.

“This is not only about developing digital skills. It rather goes to the foundation of how education in the 21st century can look like.”

Professor Cendon believes that it is not a question of digital skills becoming part of education and teaching, but of education and teaching becoming more strongly part of a digitalizing world.

“This is not only about developing digital skills. It rather goes to the foundation of how education in the 21st century can look like.”

Digitally Competent Educators is open to anyone interested in education

Digitally Competent Educators is a European short learning programme (E-SLP) for people who are professionally dealing with education and who want to develop their digital competencies. It addresses educators in different fields of education, such as schoolteachers, early childhood educators, educators in adult and vocational education, and teaching staff in higher education, says Professor Cendon.

The short learning programme  is divided in three modules:

  • The first module Introduction to Digital Competences for Educators is an introductory module to gain knowledge of the use of digital technologies for communication, collaboration and professional development, to enhance inclusion, personalization and learners’ active engagement.

  • The second module Teaching and Learning with Digital Resources comprises managing and orchestrating the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning including sourcing, creating and sharing digital resources.

  • The third module Facilitating and Assessing Learners' Digital Competencies focuses on usage of digital technologies and strategies to enhance assessment by enabling learners to use digital technologies creatively and responsibly for information, communication, content creation, well-being and problem solving.

After having successfully completed all three modules learners will be digitally competent with regard to their own professional field. The first module will start in September 2021.

Cooperation of four European open universities

Digitally Competent Educators is established on a European level in cooperation of four distance teaching universities across Europe: The University of Jyväskylä (Finland), Universidade Aberta (Portugal), Anadolu University (Turkey) and FernUniversität in Hagen (Germany).

“What unifies us four is the approach to distance and open education. Within our joint venture we developed together the basic design and topics of the programme with reference to the European framework for Digitally Competent Educators (DigCompEdu). While we developed the basic design of this E-SLP together, we developed its three modules separately, using our different strengths and competencies,” Cendon describes the cooperation in the project.

What is an open university?

As the name suggests, the Open University is open to all regardless of age, location or educational background. Studies are offered mainly online so they can be completed through distance learning.

“An open university makes higher education accessible to students in a variety of life situations through concepts of diversity and inclusivity.”

“An open university makes higher education accessible to learners in a variety of life situations through concepts of diversity and inclusivity. Therefore, study modules up to whole study programmes are developed in a way to offer students flexibility in studying, in terms of both time and location,” Cendon sums up the benefits of open university studies.

According to Professor Cendon, different modes of delivery – printed or online study material, digital media, and on-site seminars – support students’ different ways of learning.

Additionally, open access studies allow learners without admissions requirements to pursue further education based on their individual interests.

Read more & sign up for courses