Evaluation and Development of Digital Competence in Future Primary School Teachers at the University of Murcia

By Porlán, Isabel Gutiérrez; Sánchez, José Luis Serrano | Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research, January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Evaluation and Development of Digital Competence in Future Primary School Teachers at the University of Murcia


Porlán, Isabel Gutiérrez, Sánchez, José Luis Serrano, Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research


1 INTRODUCTION

In the last decade training through competencies has become one of the essential elements at all levels of education. Competencies are today the backbone of educational planning and action, from the outset through to universities and in ongoing education or workers and areas of non formal education. The current Education Act in Spain establishes in its third chapter that a part of the curriculum is to include: "The competencies and capacities for the integral application of the contents proper to each teaching and education stage in order to ensure the appropriate performance of activities and the effective resolution of problems" (LOMCE, 2013, p. 10; our translation).

The concept of competence is a complex one. It implies putting into effect actions that may often be confused with similar concepts, such as strategy, expertise and ability (Cebrián & Junyent, 2015). One of the most complete definitions in our opinion us that put forward by Escudero (2008) in whch competencies are understood as "descriptions of students' learning that include multiple ingredients (cognitive resources of diverse nature - personal, social, values), and the capacity to mobilize and integrate them in order to define and respond appropriately to complex situations and problems en relatively well defined contexts, taking into account established social and ethical criteria". Competencies can be many and varied (Peklaj, 2015). In this paper we focus on digital competence because of its presence and importance at all levels of education, from compulsory education (where it is one of the 8 basic competencies) through to university. We agree with Levy (2010) that a feature of the labor markets is that technology advances faster than personal skills, and while we may not be sure exactly how it will evolve, we can be certain that computers are key technology so we must invest in developing the appropriate competencies.

The concept of digital competence is one of the most dealt with in the literature, with many authors providing compilations and approaches (e.g., De Pablos, 2010; Fraser, Atkins, & Richard, 2013; Gutiérrez, 2011; Janssen, Stoyanov, Ferrari, Punie, Pannekeet, & Sloep, 2013; Suárez, Almerich, Gargallo, & Aliaga, 2013; Prendes, & Gutiérrez, 2013; Gutiérrez, Prendes, & Castañeda, 2015). We also find various national and international bodies and institutions which have addressed the issue (Association of College and Research Libraries Information Literacy Competency Standard, 2000; CRUE-TIC & REBIUN, 2009; ISTE, 2008; Chilean Ministry of Education, 2006; OCDE, 2011; UNESCO, 2004; VOX, 2008).

Thus paper takes as its starting point the European Commission publication in 2013 DIGCOM: A Framework for Developing and Understanding Digital Competence in Europe, which aims to provide a framework for developing and understanding digital competence in Europe. The project took digital competence to be users' capacity to make safe, critical and creative use of ICTs to fulfill aims related to work, employability, learning, leisure, and inclusion and/or participation in society (Ferrari, 2013). On the basis of DIGCOM work has been done to create a detailed framework for the digital competence of all citizens using a detailed description of the competencies that are needed to function in today's society. This set of competencies, which covers various levels is the starting point of our study and it has enabled us to approach the digital competence knowledge of first year students on the primary school teaching degree course.

2 DEVELOPMENT OF THE SUBJECT

Our study was performed within the Research and ICT subject first year degree course in Primary Education. The subject is worth 6 credits and it is pat of Basic Training. The subject is taught jointly by two departments, and this ICT centered experience (8 weeks) is the responsibility of the Department of Didactics and School organization. …

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