Learners’ Digital Competence
Mitja Čepič Vogrinčič, PI, Lidija Kralj, OŠ Veliki Bukovec, Hrvaška, Nives Kreuh, ZRSŠ
Neža Barbara Brečko, FDV, UL in Radovan Krajnc, ZRSŠ
Andreja Bačnik in Anita Poberžnik, ZRSŠ
Mitja Čepič Vogrinčič, researcher at the Educational Research Institute
ICILS 2013 – Computer and Information Literacy is a Result of Teacher’s Work
The International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS 2013) is the first international study that measured the computer and information literacy (CIL) of 8th graders in Slovenia and other countries. The study was coordinated by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).
Through the study we wanted to measure the CIL of the students, defined as the ability of the individual to use computers to investigate, create and communicate in order to participate effectively at home, at school, in the workplace.
219 Slovenian primary schools (3740 8th grade students and 2787 teachers) were involved in the study. The achievement of Slovenian students was slightly above the international average. Out of 14 countries whose result allowed for comparison Slovenia’s 8th graders came out between ranks 7 and 10 with the average score of 511 (the international average was 500).
Other findings of the study seem to be more important than rankings. The study assessed technical, receptive and productive skills of students, but also the evaluation skills and safe and ethical use of computer-based information. It showed that CIL in students is not acquired via some kind of “osmotic” processes and it also challenged the notion of contemporary youth as being digitally native. CIL as other “literacies” is in many ways dependent on the teacher’s work.
Lidija Kralj, OŠ Veliki Bukovec, Croatia
Generations that are currently receiving their education and those yet to come should get prepared for everyday interaction with information and communication technology. European Parliament and the Council of the European Union included digital competence in key competencies which each person needs to possess in order to adapt to the rapidly changing world. Their definition of digital competence, along with knowledge and skills, include critical attitude toward the responsible use of ICT. At the moment, Croatia does not have a national strategy for the internet safety and not even the minimum of children’s knowledge about appropriate and safe use of internet is obligatory in school curriculum. Currently, students in compulsory schools in Croatia have a chance to obtain digital competencies and knowledge only if they choose an elective subject – Informatics in grades 5 to 8, or if similar extra-curriculum activity is enabled for grades 1 to 4. Curriculum for Informatics is ten years old and not aligned with today’s conditions.
OŠ Veliki Bukovec together with partners OŠ Popovača, OŠ “Mladost”, OŠ “Gripe” and OŠ “Mato Lovrak”, finished a 16-month European Union-funded project ” Children’s safety on the Internet ” developing new school curriculum area for children’s safety on the Internet for students aged 7 -14, their parents, teachers and local community. Curriculum consist of pedagogical-didactical model, acceptable use policies, multimedia resources, textbooks and guides. The project aims to improve students’ digital competences and encourage children to assume responsibility for their own safety with a focus on empowerment, emphasizing responsible behaviour and digital citizenship and to raise student teacher, parents and general public awareness and understanding of issues relating to children’s safety online in synergy with the EU policies. All educational resources are available on project web site http://petzanet.hr
Nives Kreuh, ZRSŠ
To be or not to be
When we ask ourselves what student digital competence stands for, we think of digital natives and March Prensky who defined the term already fourteen years ago. However, at that time there was no Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, etc. While we accepted these views and now everyone is talking about them, another set of changes has been taking place and the concept of digital natives is changing in the direction of a different culture rather than technology.
So what is the future of education? Ideas already exist: we can no longer talk about learning, but rather becoming – becoming a good, capable, world-improving person; technology is an extension of our mind in the physical and metaphorical sense (not only in terms of smart clothes), which is a complete novelty for us, yet it is already changing society. The fact is that we need a completely new curriculum, which will no longer be classics, but will consist of subjects such as effective thinking, behaviour, relationships, achievements … with the strong support of technology.
Such education should also be part of the professional development of each individual and especially educators. The international project MENTEP will produce online self-assessment tool for teacher digital competences with the aim to encouraging professional development for teachers, and the areas of self-assessment are based in the direction of the new curriculum. A little fragment …
Neža Barbara Brečko, FDV, UL
Digital competence is one of the eight key competences which should be acquired during the schooling. Under the auspices of the European Commission, the Digital competence framework was developed. The framework is represented as a matrix composed of five areas of digital competence (information, communication, content creation, security, and problem solving) and competencies belonging to those areas.
The proposed framework can serve as a meta framework within which can other frameworks, initiatives, curricula and certifications can be found. Although the framework is very detailed in the listing and describing the competencies needed today for being able to operate in the digital environment it allows the competencies to be administered in various ways, depending on context and use (also in education, curriculum development etc). The question that we pose is, which digital skills should pupils acquire during schooling, in what way they should be acquired and how should these competencies be mesured.
Radovan Krajnc, ZRSŠ
Are digital natives really digitally competent?
It is believed that today’s generation has mastered computer science. That is not true. Computer science is the science that is not included in the compulsory curriculum of primary and secondary school. In schools, there are clubs, extracurricular activities and elective computing subjects attended by a certain percentage of students. The majority of students are not attending these activities. International survey ICILS 2013 noted that only 16% of 8th graders know how to independently solve a problem with the computer. What can schools and teachers do to improve this situation?
It is important that the belief in the introduction replace with a new belief. Students are not born with the knowledge and if something is not learned, then we can reliably assume that these knowledge is not present. We have in mind all students, especially those who do not live in a favorable social and economic environment, who not have educated parents and do not know how to use digital equipment meaningful and useful. Here the school should carry out its role. The school should reduce the differences among students, so it would make sense that schools make a reflection on how coordinatingly develop the digital competences in all subjects across the vertical. There is no one who could do it instead of us. By coordination and planning the main role should take the principal and the so called ROID (organizer of computing activities).