Digitalization has increasingly introduced a new dimension in educators’ pedagogical skills and competences which we have chosen to call Pedagogical Digital Competence (PDC).
“Pedagogical Digital Competence refers to the ability to consistently apply the attitudes, knowledge and skills required to plan and conduct, and to evaluate and revise on an ongoing basis, ICT-supported teaching, based on theory, current research and proven experience with a view to supporting students’ learning in the best possible way”. PDC relates to knowledge, skills and attitudes, and also to technology, learning theory, subject, context and learning and the relationships between these. PDC is likely to develop the more experienced a teacher becomes. This chapter will analyse the Educators’ pedagogic competences of the DigCompEdu framework.
The pedagogic competences of DigCompEdu are focus in the following 4 areas:
Area 2: Digital Resources
Sourcing, creating and sharing digital resources.
Area 3: Teaching and Learning
Managing and orchestrating the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning.
Area 4: Assessment
Using digital technologies and strategies to enhance assessment.
Area 5: Empowering Learners
Using digital technologies to enhance inclusion, personalisation and learners’ active engagement.
The core of the DigCompEdu framework is defined by Areas 2-5. Together these areas explain educators’ digital pedagogic competence, i.e. the digital competences educators need to foster efficient, inclusive and innovative teaching and learning strategies. Areas 2, 3 and 4 are anchored in the stages characteristic of any teaching process, whether supported by technologies or not. The competences listed in these areas detail how to make efficient and innovative use of digital technologies when planning (Area 2), implementing (Area 3) and assessing (Area 4) teaching and learning. Area 5 acknowledges the potential of digital technologies for learner-centred teaching and learning strategies. This area is transversal to Areas 2, 3 and 4 in the sense that it contains a set of guiding principles relevant for and complementary to the competences specified in these areas.
The added value of the DigCompEdu framework is that it provides:
- a sound background that can guide policy across all levels;
- a template that allows local stakeholders to move quickly on to developing a concrete instrument, suited to their needs, without having to develop a conceptual basis for this work;
- a common language and logic that can help the discussion and exchange of best practices across borders;
- a reference point for Member States and other stakeholders to validate the completeness and approach of their own existing and future tools and frameworks.
1. Digital Resources
Educators are currently confronted with a wealth of digital (educational) resources they can use for teaching. One of the key competences any educator needs to develop is to come to terms with this variety, to effectively identify resources that best fit their learning objectives, learner group and teaching style, to structure the wealth of materials, establish connections and to modify, add on to and develop themselves digital resources to support their teaching.
At the same time they need to be aware of how to responsibly use and manage digital content. They must respect copyright rules when using, modifying sharing resources, and protect sensitive content and data, such as digital exams or students’ grades.
Digital resources include the following competences:
- Selecting digital resources (page 44 of DigCompEdu)
To identify, assess and select digital resources for teaching and learning. To
consider the specific learning objective, context, pedagogical approach, and learner group, when selecting digital resources and planning their use.
- Creating and modifying digital resources (page 46 of DigCompEdu)
To modify and build on existing openly-licensed resources and other resources where this is permitted. To create or co-create new digital educational resources. To consider the specific learning objective, context, pedagogical approach, and learner group, when designing digital resources and planning their use.
- Managing, protecting and sharing digital resources (page 48 of DigCompEdu)
To organise digital content and make it available to learners, parents and other educators. To effectively protect sensitive digital content. To respect and correctly apply privacy and copyright rules. To understand the use and creation of open licenses and open educational resources, including their proper attribution.
2. Teaching and Learning
Digital technologies can enhance and improve teaching and learning strategies in many different ways. However, whatever pedagogic strategy or approach is chosen, the educator’s specific digital competence lies in effectively orchestrating the use of digital technologies in the different phases and settings of the learning process. The fundamental competence in this area – and maybe of the whole framework – is 3.1: Teaching. This competence refers to designing, planning and implementing the use of digital technologies in the different stages of the learning process.
Competences 3.2 to 3.4 complement this competence by emphasizing that the real potential of digital technologies lies in shifting the focus of the teaching process from teacher-led to learner-centred processes. Thus the role of a digitally-competent educator is to be a mentor and guide for learners in their progressively more autonomous learning endeavours. In this sense, digitally-competent educators need to be able to design new ways, supported by digital technologies, to provide guidance and support to learners, individually and collectively (3.2) and to initiate, support and monitor both self-regulated (3.4) and collaborative (3.3) learning activities.
Teaching and Learning includes the following competences:
- Teaching (page 52 of DigCompEdu)
To plan for and implement digital devices and resources in the teaching process, so as to enhance the effectiveness of teaching interventions. To appropriately manage and
orchestrate digital teaching strategies. To experiment with and develop new formats and pedagogical methods for instruction.
- Guidance (page 54 of DigCompEdu)
To use digital technologies and services to enhance the interaction with learners, individually and collectively, within and outside the learning session. To use digital technologies to offer timely and targeted guidance and assistance. To experiment with and develop new forms and formats for offering guidance and support.
- Collaborative learning (page 56 of DigCompEdu)
To use digital technologies to foster and enhance learner collaboration. To enable learners to use digital technologies as part of collaborative assignments, as a means of enhancing communication, collaboration and collaborative knowledge creation.
- Self-regulated learning (page 58 of DigCompEdu)
To use digital technologies to support learners’ self-regulated learning, i.e. to
enable learners to plan, monitor and reflect on their own learning, provide
evidence of progress, share insights and come up with creative solutions.
Assessment can be a facilitator or bottleneck to innovation in education. When integrating digital technologies into learning and teaching, we must consider how digital technologies can enhance existing assessment strategies. At the same time, we must also consider how they can be used to create or to facilitate innovative assessment approaches. Digitally-competent educators should be able to use digital technologies within assessment with those two objectives in mind.
Furthermore, the use of digital technologies in education, whether for assessment, learning, administrative or other purposes, results in a wide range of data being available on each individual learner’s learning behaviour. Analysing and interpreting this data and using it to help make decisions is becoming more and more important – complemented by the analysis of conventional evidence on learner behaviour.
Assessment includes the following competences:
- Assessment strategies (page 62 of DigCompEdu)
To use digital technologies for formative and summative assessment. To enhance the diversity and suitability of assessment formats and approaches.
- Analysing evidence (page 64 of DigCompEdu)
To generate, select, critically analyse and interpret digital evidence on learner activity, performance and progress, in order to inform teaching and learning.
- Feedback and planning (page 66 of DigCompEdu)
To use digital technologies to provide targeted and timely feedback to learners. To adapt teaching strategies and to provide targeted support, based on the evidence generated by the digital technologies used. To enable learners and parents to understand the evidence provided by digital technologies and use it for decision-making.
4. Empowering Learners
One of the key strengths of digital technologies in education is their potential for supporting learner-centred pedagogic strategies and boosting the active involvement of learners in the learning process and their ownership of it. Thus, digital technologies can be used to facilitate learners’ active engagement, e.g. when exploring a topic, experimenting with different options or solutions, understanding connections, coming up with creative solutions or creating an artefact and reflecting on it.
Digital technologies can furthermore contribute to supporting classroom differentiation and personalised education by offering learning activities adapted to each individual learner’s level of competence, interests and learning needs. At the same time, however, care must be taken not to exacerbate existing inequalities (e.g. in access to digital technologies or digital skills) and to ensure accessibility for all learners, including those with special educational needs.
Empowering Learners includes the following competences:
- Accessibility and inclusion (page 70 of DigCompEdu)
To ensure accessibility to learning resources and activities, for all learners, including those with special needs. To consider and respond to learners’ (digital) expectations,
abilities, uses and misconceptions, as well as contextual, physical or cognitive constraints to their use of digital technologies.
- Differentiation and personalization (page 72 of DigCompEdu)
To use digital technologies to address learners’ diverse learning needs, by allowing learners to advance at different levels and speeds, and to follow individual learning pathways and objectives.
- Actively engaging learners (page 74 of DigCompEdu)
To use digital technologies to foster learners’ active and creative engagement with a subject matter. To use digital technologies within pedagogic strategies that foster learners’ transversal skills, deep thinking and creative expression. To open up learning to new, real-world contexts, which involve learners themselves in hands-on activities, scientific investigation or complex problem solving, or in other ways increase learners’ active involvement in complex subject matters.
For each competence a specific progression applies, depending on the characteristics of the competence in question and the way it typically evolves as a higher level of proficiency is obtained. However, some key words are common to the same level of proficiency across the competences of one area. These are indicated in the Table in following page. DIGCOMPEDU PROFICIENCY PROGRESSION BY AREA (Pedagogic competences)