This summer, we completed the 3-year DECODE project. This project helped teachers from Italy, Finland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom increase their level of digital competence and better integrate ICT into their daily practice.
The main output of the project was the development of an interactive online training course that:
• provided teachers with resources on the multiple methods of using ICT in teaching
• saw teachers create ICT-focused learning activities to be used in the classroom
• enabled teachers to share and provide feedback on all resources before publishing and sharing online
The training course was based on the needs identified from a survey of 2,652 teachers working in a variety of different school types (Primary, Secondary, Vocational and College) across Europe, and in total, 227 teachers completed the training course. Through self-assessment surveys before and after the course, we saw that in general, teachers felt their level of digital competence increased after completing the course – this was particularly the case for those who stated they had little experience or knowledge of using digital technologies. Interestingly, some teachers who rated themselves as ‘experts’ in using ICT felt after the course that they had been wrong, which highlight the fact that they had learned more and realised that they didn’t know quite as much as initially thought.
As well as the online training course, the project developed research reports detailing good practice and methods for integrating ICT into teaching, as well as guides for teachers and schools.
At the end of the project, we were privileged to present our findings at Fondazione Link Campus University, Rome, Italy at a conference of 100 teachers and education policymakers from across Italy. Each partner presented the findings of each project output whereas we took this opportunity to speak about how young people, although perceived as ‘digital natives’, may in fact be ‘naïve experts’ when it comes to using digital technologies in education and learning. It is true that today’s young people are adept in using social media and communication, but are they aware of how to find and use tools to learn, conduct themselves in a professional manner and carry out thorough, non-biased research? In this sense, perhaps teachers are more skilled in digital technologies when it comes to learning, even if the perception is that young people are digital pioneers.
We were proud to present our findings at this conference and share them with the wider academic community, but at the same time sad to say goodbye to our colleagues of the past 3 years. All in all, the DECODE project has enabled us to learn a lot about the use of digital technologies, and the scope they will have in the future of learning, as well as compare the different ways various European countries currently use digital technologies. Hopefully the DECODE project’s outputs will continue to help teachers and provide them with the tools needed to thrive in a more digitized society.