This year, Bulgaria holds the presidency of the European Union, I was invited to Sofia to be a panel speaker at one of the associated conferences, Educate to Create.
The conference was billed as "an opportunity to bring attention to the pressing need to raise digital skills and competence levels across Europe and to support young people in using technologies for creativity, knowledge construction and effective and efficient learning."
There were panel discussions and plenary sessions on the maker movement, digital creativity, educator training, partnering with industry, how to raise digital skills across the board, gender equality and inclusion.
My panel addressed Digital Creativity and maker skills - the role of teacher education. In my introduction I presented the Media In Action project which aims to provide educator training and resources with a basis in journalistic techniques, story telling and digital content creation.
In summing up we were asked what European policy should focus on for the next five years in the field of supporting teachers and teacher training.
"Being the media literacy representative here I should say media literacy is the number one priority. It is essential for a functioning democracy, we all need the to tools to access, critically evaluate, interact with and create digital media.
But teachers don't need one more thing bolted on, one more thing to be responsible for.
We do need to embed digital, media, "convergence literacies" throughout the curriculum. We need to support educators with practical ideas and practical resources, useful stuff, things you can use with your class tomorrow morning. We need to support them with training. We need to support them by creating time and space for educators to learn and to be creative with what they learn.
Teachers are already creative but we drum it out of them with constant bureaucracy, assessments, inspections, hoops to jump through.
We need to trust our teachers and their abilities to do their jobs. We should be fostering a culture of trust in educators so that they have more confidence in themselves to go and be creative"
It was an honour to share a stage with Deirdre Butler (DCU), Nina Lindstrom (Strawbees), Oliver Quinlan (RaspberryPi) and Jan de Craemer (Flemmish Ministry of Education and Training), who did an excellent job moderating us!