Web 2.0, cloud computing and the rapid adoption of internet enabled phone and tablets have revolutionised the way we live and work. Yet European policy makers are concerned that technology, especially interactive and mobile learning technology, is not being capitalized on in education. In the words of JC Juncker, President of the European Commission, “Our priority has to be to find new sources of growth and jobs. The transformative role of digital technologies can be used to this end. …. Europe’s path to growth is paved with tablets and smartphones.”
It would appear that many digital and mobile resources are ideally suited for use in higher and vocational education since they:
– have been proven to generate a significant increase in adult learner engagement, information retention, specialist and transversal competences.
– Are well suited to “hard to reach ” learners, with time or geographic limitations
– Require no large investments in hardware (most European adults now own at least one device; 73% of aged 16+ in the UK use the internet daily and 94% of 16-24 yr olds do so via their mobile/tablet. ONS)
Nevertheless, there are significant barriers to the full exploitation of mobile and digital resources in adult education. On one hand, there has been such a rapid proliferation of cloud-based educational tools, platforms and learning environments that quality is extremely varied. The UK’s Innovation Agency NESTA’s Decoding Learning (2012) report notes that the field “is characterised by weak or undeveloped pedagogy” and by tools which “put technology above teaching and excitement above evidence.”
Secondly, the attitudes and abilities of VET and HEI teacher and lecturers are often an obstacle. They are often mature practitioners and a large proportion lack the ICT skills required to access digital interactive resources and/or to envisage how to include such technology into their traditional teaching strategies. According to Lieve Van den Brande, DG for Education and Culture, there is a psychological aspect: teachers do not embrace technology because they “lack confidence and feel that they are underperforming. They feel their students are more able than they are.”
Still, we believe the digital learning sector has matured and that many excellent options ARE available both for computer and phone/tablet usage. Therefore, if we are serious about integrating technology into education, we need VET and HEI teachers to filter out the gimmicks and implement only the best pedagogical tools.
For these reasons, the objective of MODERN Toolkit is: to increase the ability and motivation of teachers and trainers to use digital learning resources as a means to more effective, relevant teaching, thereby causing a positive impact in their students (learning outcomes and engagement) and in the sector as a whole (ability to provide relevant training, keep pace with the technological changes taking place around them.) It will focus primarily on VET teachers and trainers, but HEI teaching staff are also considered a key target group given the high relevance of the materials developed.
In order to achieve this objective, we will:
- Carry out an Audit of Digital and Interactive learning resources to present and categorise the range of resources currently available and analyse the pedagogic strengths and weaknesses of the 20 most promising resources.
- Create, publish and promote the MODERN Tool kit providing practical guidance and tools for educators wishing to incorporate digital elearning resources with highest potential into their daily teaching strategies, featuring the 20 best.
- Develop a short e-learning course to motivate/guide educators to pursue more innovative pedagogic strategies using mobile and digital elearning resources. Uniquely, each module of the course will be taught using a different platform, thus integrating learning outcomes with the delivery mechanism.
- Test, publish and strongly promote the course, to facilitate its mainstreaming as a part of professional training in VET and HE institutions.
We believe by joining forces transnationally on this project will be able to leverage a much greater understanding of the needs and solutions for VET & HEI staff than could be achieved on our own, thus producing a much more relevant, high quality, sustainable learning resource.
In the same way, by coordinating our marketing and multiplier events, and producing our materials in English, Spanish and Polish and engaging in strong dissemination, we feel we will be able to impact the EU-wide agenda in a much more significant way, raising awareness of the need to embrace the concept of “think mobile first” in all aspects of teaching and learning and demonstrating that in reality to requote JC Juncker: “Europe’s path to growth is paved with tablets and smartphones.”
KA2 – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices – Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training
– Canice Consulting (UK)
-UNIVERSITAT POLITECNICA DE VALENCIA (ES)
-Momentum Marketing Services Ltd (IE)
– EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES CONTINUING EDUCATION NETWORK (BE)
– EfVET (NE)
– UNIWERSYTET SZCZECINSKI (PL)