The approach taken by Ireland in developing the digital skills of those who teach in higher education was showcased this week at a meeting of the European Commission’s ET2020 Working Group on Digital Education: Learning, Teaching and Assessment. The Director of the National Forum, Dr Terry Maguire, was invited as a guest speaker to set the scene for the two-day event, which took place on 3-4 February in Zagreb. The purpose of the event was to exchange experience, and to discuss and put forward a series of recommendations and key messages on the changing role of the educator in contemporary learning environments. The European Commission’s digital education team specifically requested the contribution of the National Forum due to its demonstrated understanding of the importance of people, change and improvement when attempting to enhance digital capacity at system level. Thanks to the contributions and engagement of the higher education community across Ireland, the work of the National Forum is viewed as a model of good practice in establishing a connected, collaborative, aligned infrastructure for the enhancement of digital teaching and learning.
Dr Maguire shared the approach taken by the National Forum in recent years with representatives of ministries of education from across Europe, as well as the OECD, the Council of Europe and a number of related European bodies. She provided an overview of the broad evidence base that has been built through reviews of digital infrastructure, policies and practices, highlighting the recent INDEx Survey, which collected responses from close to 30,000 students and staff across the sector. The evidence and structures in place to support the professional development of those who teach were also explained, including the mapping of professional development provision and models, the development and implementation of a national framework and the establishment of online short courses across a range of topics.
Further information on the European Commission’s ET2020 Working Group on Digital Education: Learning, Teaching and Assessment can be found here.