How to improve teaching digital competence in teacher training


The term “digital native”, coined in 2001 by the American writer Marc Prensky , is no longer unknown to almost anyone: we know that it refers to those people who have grown up in a wave of technological progress that includes the heyday of the internet and digitalization. of the society.

However, sometimes, this assumption is nothing more than a mirage, since there are certain digital skills that are not developed and we find that there is a digital divide or great inequality in the ease of access and type of use that citizens make of technologies.

For example, in Spain this gap is quite marked and places Spanish society below the average of the rest of the countries in the European Union in terms of the level of basic digital competence . Especially in human capital (what proportion of graduates are specialists in technologies in the professional field) and in the level of digitalization of companies.

To mitigate it, and in order to contribute to the training and digital inclusion of society, the National Plan for Digital Competencies is aimed, among other groups, at teachers, with proposals for the development of digital teaching competence that in turn contributes to the digital literacy of the adults of the future.

What is teaching digital competence?

Digital teaching competence is understood as the ability to integrate information and communication technologies into teaching, with the aim of achieving more interactive and inclusive learning for students.

However, it is wrongly associated with the use of various digital tools and resources, without considering other key aspects, such as the management of personal data, the improvement of formative evaluation of students or its application to enhance communication processes.

All these aspects are included in the European Framework for CDD , which structures its development in six main areas (professional commitment, digital pedagogy, digital resources, evaluation and feedback, student empowerment and promotion of students’ digital competence).

Teaching digital competence in training

One of the challenges in teacher training is addressing teacher digital competence, which is often relegated to the background due to the overload of training plans.

Different studies carried out with students from the Early Childhood Education , Primary Education and Master’s Degrees in Secondary Teaching show that future teachers consider it very important to achieve correct digital competence. But in reality there is a poor transfer and application of it: we limit ourselves to offering a wide range of digital resources without paying attention to their suitability to the educational context or the implications that it entails.

Strengths and weaknesses of teachers

Some of the greatest difficulties identified in the transfer of teaching digital competence to classrooms are related to the lack of awareness about the responsible use of technologies and the management of personal data, incorporation into evaluation and feedback processes, or the selective and contrasted search for information.

But there are also some strengths in the new generations of teachers, such as extensive knowledge of digital resources and strategies or a high willingness to create digital content.

Bridging the gap between theory and practice

Among the different measures proposed in the Digital Education Action Plan , which includes a greater offer of in-person and online training or the creation of initiatives such as the School of Computational Thinking and Artificial Intelligence , the Classroom of the Future or the Observatory of Educational Technologies , one stands out for its inclusive nature.

We are talking about the creation of Open Educational Resources for teaching with digital media. These resources contribute to a better attention to diversity and to preventing the risks derived from interaction with the Internet. They are also an excellent way to promote digital teaching competence during the training stage, since when designing them, future teachers have to make decisions about the quality of their content, the capacity to generate learning, interactivity and operability, as well as other related factors.

Teacher self-efficacy

However, and despite this training effort, it is also necessary to consider the relationship between digital competence and teaching identity , through teaching self-efficacy (or the belief that teachers have about the effectiveness of their teaching), which is why that teachers must equate their personal use of technologies with educational use.

For all these reasons, the path towards a digitalized society, which makes responsible and inclusive use of technology and its resources, involves offering its teachers comprehensive training in digital literacy, encouraging them to understand its relevance and reflecting on good practices to Promote the digital competence of your students.

Author Bios: Cristina García Ruiz is the Ramón y Cajal Researcher · Experimental Sciences Teaching Department and Jorge Luque Jimenez is Research staff Didactic Area of ​​Experimental Sciences both at the University of Málaga