Digital skills: the new teacher’s challenge

What role does technology play in the classroom? What relevant skills should teachers and students develop? Back in September 2018, The International University of La Rioja examined teachers’ digital competencies and learning in a seminar offered at Telefonica’s conference hall in Madrid (Spain). Read a summary of their conclusions below.

To understand the direction of teaching approaches of the future, we must review the past. The first lessons that existed were taught in monasteries. A book, a teacher, a reading and many students. This model, which seems quite archaic, is actually still enforced in schools.

If we want to prepare children for the future, the use of new technologies in the classroom has to correspond to the development of new competencies and digital methods.

The five points that a digitally-skilled teacher has to master are:

  • Information and data literacy- Teachers shall manage and assess increasing digital information and keep informed about new advances.
  • Communication and collaboration- Teachers are required to use digital environments, tools and social networks.
  • Digital content creation- The ability to apply their creativity to emerging technologies to generate new digital content. 
  • Security- Protect data and keep digital identity safe and secure against misuse.
  • Problem solving- Technology helps to solve complex problems. 

The objective is to develop students’ skills and let them think and solve problems in a creative way. Many digital teaching methods reach schools whose teachers address this change, this adventure, armed with a fundamental tool: technology.

1.- There are apps and programs that allow us to schedule, assess and share resources with every student in a personalized way.

2.- Thanks to mobile devices, flipped learning is enhanced. First, students will watch content through video platforms that explain the lesson. Then, they can join an online interactive discussion and be assessed based on the quality of their reflections.

3.- With digital forms, students can evaluate their level of knowledge and analyze their statistics by completing an engaging self-assessment.

4.- Resources given to students can be created by the teachers or experts in multimedia education who, using image and video repositories, can generate content tailored to their students.

5.- Incorporating m-learning (mobile learning) enables developing new skills, managing multiple resources with great agility and motivating students.

6.- Thanks to technology, gamification can be leveraged more and more. Teachers act as guides of the games while students learn by playing.

7.- Integrating virtual and augmented reality in the classroom is a sure bet to motivate and engage students.

The student becomes the star of the scene and must act to learn.”
Javier Turón, Innovation and Educational Development Vice-Chancellor, UNIR

To sum up, in a digital world, schools cannot continue being analog. For this to become a reality, teachers’ digital competencies cannot be limited to the usage of tools and online resources (of which there are many); they must integrate new methodologies and seek the advocacy, autonomy and responsibility in a more organized and active new student.

If we teach today’s students as we taught yersterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”
John Dewey

*Images from Freepik and Pressfoto.

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