I have been working with projects for initial and continuing education for teachers, trainers and youth workers in the use of technology for teaching and learning for more years than I can remember. There are a number of constants. In general teachers say that they are not opposed to using technology and indeed many say they want to use it more. But then they say they want to know how to use technology for their subject area. And they want more chances for professional development. Its perhaps understandable that demand outstrips supply when we come to face to face programmes and the difficulty in replacing teachers released for face to face courses. It’s harder to understand why there is still a shortage of provision of flexible online learning for teachers.
One of the latest projects I have been involved in is SkillsMatch, funded by the EU Erasmus+ programme. SkillsMatch has developed a self-assessment questionnaire for educators, linked to the European Union DigComEdu Framework, which as the name implies provides a broad framework for the skills and competences needed by teachers and trainers focusing technology in their practice. Nothing new there, with a number of similar tools appearing over the last two years. But then SkillsMatch has attempted to provide online learning opportunities matched to the competence areas in the project partner countries; Germany, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, UK and Italy. As the Spanish partner in the country I found it very hard to find flexible learning programmes for teachers. There were longer – more traditional training courses – but a dearth of short programmes which could easily be combined with working full time.
To help overcome this problem the project has produced over 30 learning nuggets – short modules of learning linked to the different competence identified in DigCompEdu and available in all the partner languages. These can be accessed through the project’s Moodle site.
At present we are piloting both the self-assessment tool and the learning nuggets. And we would very much appreciate your feedback – what works and what doesn’t and your suggestions for how e can improve the tools and the learning nuggets. We note that the European Union has endorsed the development of micro credentials based on short and flexible learning programmes. Does this offer a way forward for ensuring that all teachers -regardless of sector – have access to the learning and professional development programmes they need?
Footnote: I have been playing with the ChatGPT Artificial Intelligence chatbot this week and it can write very smart learning programmes (and very fast). Its not hard to imagine that we can use AI to produce high quality learning nuggets in a fraction of the time that it takes using traditional approaches.