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E-Learning Competencies Teachers

E-Learning Competencies Teachers

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Published by: Hasan Tayyar BEŞİK on Oct 15, 2009
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E-Learning Competencies for Teachers inSecondary and Higher Education
V. Awouters, S. Jans
Limburg Catholic University College, Diepenbeek, Belgium
—Teaching and learning with ICT requires specificcompetencies for teachers and lectures. Too much attentionwas given to the technological aspects. Teachers learned towork with hard- and software. A typical example is theEuropean Computer Driving License (ECDL). A lot of people attend courses on text processing, spreadsheets… butusing a Virtual Learning Environment like e.g. Blackboardor Moodle demands more didactical than technical skills.Especially e-learning and blended learning is too demandingto let teachers learn to use these tools only byexperimenting. More and more is generally accepted thatthe e-learning competencies for teachers require a longercourse. Which competences and how these can be realized isthe main focus of this paper? Besides the theoreticalbackground, two examples will be showed.
 Index Terms
—digital didactics, e-learning competencies,European Computer Driving License, Information andCommunication Technology (ICT), postgraduate e-learning.
When ICT was introduced in schools, teachers often gotcourses on how to use technology. Still today these kindof courses are successful. The ECDL-foundation evengraduates people that prove to have basic knowledgeabout seven modules, from basic insights in incoursetechnology over word-processing to the internet and e-mail. A second kind of courses concern the use of virtuallearning environments (VLE). Most courses concern aboutthe technical use of the VLE: how to upload documents?How to make quizzes? … Often it is seen that these kindof courses on the use of the VLE is directed into onlinelearning. Baars (2006) describes the organizational aspectsand advantages of this kind of education: educationindependent from time and distance. Also the advantagesto increase communication among students and to helpstudents with disabilities are described. Baars sees 7 basesfor education with digital learning means:
A better cooperation between students,
Active learning,
Direct feedback,
Better and more contact with teachers and peer-students,
Possibilities to learn in different ways,
Contextual learning,
A larger spread in different ways of teaching andlearning.
 ICT-competencies for teachers
Until now too little time is spent on didactical coursesto learn teachers to use ICT with a learning surplus value.To offer these kind of courses it is necessary to determinewhat kind of ICT-competencies teachers really need. Inthe European U-teacher project the competencies of teachers with regard to interaction with themselves,students, colleagues and the neighborhood are combinedwith eight specific ICT-themes.Summarized, the ICT-competencies for teachers havethree dimensions:
The teacher knows for what learning activities ICTcan be set in (awareness)
The teacher has the necessary skills for using hard-and software (readiness)
The teacher knows the pedagogical-didacticalelements of ICT (e.g. drill and practice programs)Zwaneveld and Bastiaens (2007) argue that the mostcategories of ICT-competencies for teachers are tootighten. They see five competences teachers should havewhen they want to integrate ICT in their teaching practice:
Individual media-competencies, this includes thebasic knowledge and skills for handling the requiredhard-and software. These media-competencies alsoinclude the use of ict-means, like beamer … in atraditional teaching practice.
Critical media-competencies, this includes the skillsto select critically the media in the learning processof learners. The criteria are educational, human andsocial.
A lifelong learning competence, this means thatteachers have to be aware of all the newtechnologies that are developed and can beintegrated in the daily teaching and learningpractice. We think e.g. at the PDA (Personal DigitalAssistant) and iPhone.
“Supervising learning process”-competencies, thiscontains that teachers can optimize the learningprocesses of learners. Communication is a coreelement in learning. Learners in groups are more andmore located at different places and locations. ICTmakes it possible to maintain communicationbetween these learners. It is a competence forteachers to know this and have the necessary skillsto organize these kinds of communication andmanage and enhance the learning process.
Educational-design competencies, this competenceincludes to develop in a right way the necessary
 learning materials and didactical activities by meansof ICT and new media.Zwaneveld and Bastiaens argue that ICT-coursesshould part from these competencies to learn teachers touse ICT and new media in their teaching practice.II.
 In this section we describe two ‘best practices’ of courses that try to enhance the ICT-competencies forteachers. The first example is a very specific example,directed to teachers working in secondary education,especially all the courses in the automobile-sector. Thesecond example is a general and more broad example thatis developed in our own university and can be used inevery secondary education school and university.
http://www.autowebtraining.eu Employees in technical firms, like e.g. garages, needmore and more courses. Due to the very fast innovation intechnology, lifelong learning is a real need for theselabour forces. On the other hand are the needed coursesvery specialized and expensive. Another problememployers in this economical sectors in Western Europeface is the lack of candidates. Also secondary educationschools see that the wide interest for these courses isdecreasing. One of the factors that causes this problem isthat schools don’t have enough money for investing innew and high-tech machines and that teachers have tooless developed e-learning competencies.Therefore an Interreg project was submitted andapproved for financing. Interreg is an initiative of theEuropean Union meant for the permanent development of the “European Space”. The third phase of Interreg ismeant for enhancing the economic and social cohesionwithin the European Union. Partners in this project aresecondary education schools, universities and trainingcenters for in-service employees. This project experimentswith partners in several languages: Dutch, German andFrench. The project starts from employees in garages andwants to offer them a continuing course on four modules,like air conditioning, diagnostic, multiplexing andcommon rail. The modules are developed in threelanguages. The theoretical elements are offered through e-learning, using the virtual learning environment ILIAS.Main goal for the use of an VLE for the theoretical part isto make time free for the practical courses. For pupils insecondary education the developed materials have beenadopted to the learning programmes. All partners togetherhave chosen for the practical learning sessions tocooperate with professional learning centers. Not everyschool has to invest in very expensive equipment.Teachers and pupils get insights into the new way of learning at the workplace and that ‘authentic learning’ istried to implement in schools. At this moment we see thatteachers really need e-learning courses to get started withthe project.
Postgraduate e-learning & digital didactics
To realize earlier mentioned ICT-competencies forteachers a longer course is needed. Therefore apostgraduate e-learning was set up. The postgraduate e-learning is a course, consisting of four modules, spreadover two academic years. The four modules are:
Pedagogical-didactical module,
Technical module,
Communication module,
Project module
Pedagogical Module:
In this module learning theoriesare studied. Special attention is given to the connectivisttheory for online learning. According to Siemens (2004),connectivist theory is for the digital age, where individualslearn and work in a networked environment. As a result,we do not have control over what we learn since others inthe network continually change information, and thatrequires new learning, unlearning old information, and/orlearning current information (Anderson, 2008), It isnecessary for teachers to know how learning can berealized using new technologies as the internet and WEB2.0-tools. Not only adults, but also the youth is connectedthrough myspace, facebook…
Technical Module:
In the technical module teachersare confronted with a lot of new technologies, that canhave an impact on learning. Not only virtual learningenvironments, but also the internet, WEB 2.0 and evenmobile devices are studied. Using mobile devices forlearning will require some new strategies – smaller chunksof information, shorter modules, efficient searching forlearning objects (Harper, 2008).
Communication Module:
The third module deals withside-effects that teachers meet when using e-elements intheir courses. Examples are the ethical and juridicialeffects of using ict in education. Also the teachers’ role asan e-moderator is studied.
Project module:
In the last module, teachers chose aproject, in which they prove they can integrate learningelements of each of the previous modules and show theiracquired e-competencies. The results of the projectmodule should show to colleagues and staff that a changein the teaching practice is realized and that the changeshave a positive impact on the learning-results of learners.
Other courses:
There are more examples of courses,like e.g. Sheffield Hallam University (UK) offers a Masterof Sciencein E-Learning (http://www.shu.ac.uk/education/elmac/ ). UOC (Spain) offers a European Certificate inE-Learning Course Design and Teaching(http://www.eden-online.org/contents/UOC_info.pdf ).
iJET Volume 4, Issue 2, June 200959

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