NEXT-TELL is an Integrated Project (IP) in the ICT challenge of the 7th framework programme of the EC; its main objective is to provide, through research and development, computational and methodological support to teachers and students
To bring about our vision of 21st Century classroom learning, NEXT-TELL will work towards these main objectives:
- Articulate a conceptual framework for designing and implementing methods that can be used to formatively assess ICT-enhanced learning and to negotiate the assessment process amongst stakeholders.
- Provide resources and ICT support for teachers and students to develop learning activities and appraisal methods appropriate for 21st Century learning based on this conceptual framework.
- Provide IT support in the classroom so that teachers and students have available nuanced information about students’ learning when it is needed and in a format that is supportive of decision making, thus optimizing levels of stimulation, challenge, and feedback.
- Provide IT support for making students’ activities in informal learning places – and in general in the “learning ecology” outside of school – part of ‘accountable work’, thus building on students’ interests, fostering their identity development and supporting their social networks.
- Foster in-service teachers’ professional development by providing new methods and tools for learning from students’ learning and for learning from peers’ teaching.
- Increase a school’s capacity for data-driven decision making by means of leadership development, including ICT support for the strategic planning of teachers’ professional development.
NEXT-TELL’s formost goal is to provide an innovation platform, used by teachers to continuously and collaboratively innovate ICT-enhanced formative classroom assessment. To achieve this, NEXT-TELL provides method and tool support on three levels:
- For the teacher (and for students) in the class, and for homework, to help with pedagogical decision making (feedback, instructional planning);
- For groups of teachers conducting inquiries into students’ learning with the aim to improve pedagogy and use of ICT in their teaching;
- For principals and head teachers to strategically align ICT with pedagogical goals of their school.
Pierre-Antoine Ullmo, education expert at the European Commission and founder of P.A.U. Education, reflects on mobility in all levels of society. “Mobility allows us to expand our horizons, transform our perceptions and increase our knowledge. Mobility is, above all else, a disposition to go out to meet others in order to share and learn from them. In this sense, mobility has many different dimensions.”
This is the main idea that Ullmo offered during his interview with Educaweb, the portal for professionals, institutions and training centres dedicated to mobility. The following is the complete interview, in which Ullmo discusses the importance of promoting mobility in all levels of society.
The majority of universities offer international mobility programs for faculty, with the goal of allowing participants to enrich their knowledge regarding their field of interest, while acquiring cultural training, international experience and foreign language skills. However, what are the options for primary and secondary teachers?
Teacher mobility at the primary and secondary level is oriented toward praxis, for example, within the framework of collaborative educational projects (Comenius, Leonardo) which allow for short-term exchanges, or within more complex networks oriented towards teacher training (e.g., Comenius networks). The big difference from options at the university level is that the teachers themselves must create their own mobility proposals. Everything depends on their motivation to change how they teach and their interest in discovering new models. In fact, teacher mobility opportunities are frequently under utilised due to a lack of motivation or support within the educational system.
Do teachers from all educational sectors need more mobility? How can we increase mobility on an international level?
What are the arguments against teacher mobility? Mobility expands our horizons, transforms our perceptions and increases our knowledge. Mobility is, above all else, a disposition to go out to meet others in order to share and learn from them. In this sense, mobility has many different dimensions. It can be “limited” to virtual encounters. The European Union project e-twinning brings together tens of thousands of professors who collaborate online in work that is then introduced in the classroom. Reading the compendiums of best practice that the European Union publishes about their mobility programs helps us understand the reach of teach mobility and its innovative role. I invite Educaweb readers to visit the portal www.elearningeuropa.info to learn more about these best practices.
Increasing international mobility also requires evaluating how these experiences enhance the curriculum that teachers develop on their own, establishing a framework for recognising these experiences within training programs, and "freeing" the teachers of some of their teaching duties in order to allow them to spend time developing such time consuming projects.
Do you think that knowing or not knowing multiple languages affects international mobility in Spain?
Nine out of ten Spaniards believe that knowing a foreign language is very important, but 91% of people haven't studied one, nor do they feel hindered in their workplace or degree program even though they don't have this skill (CIS, 2010). These data speak, more than any other study, to the magnitude of the problem we face. Knowledge of foreign languages and, more importantly, the value we place on cultural diversity and its role in promoting exchange are key to enhancing mobility and improving the education system.
Do you believe that we need more government funding to promote teacher mobility? What about student mobility?
Yes and no, given that educational competencies still come from each State – and in Spain, from the Autonomous Communities. An educational system oriented toward mobility would require a modification of teaching training programs, in order to introduce more flexibility in the curriculum so that exchange projects can take place during school hours, and to establish new indicators for evaluating teaching practices...
However, the European Union now regulates different aspects, and appears to use their own programs to counteract the lack of initiative on the state level, where nations suffer from inertia when faced with the task of creating their own mobility plans. We can look with awe at the success of the Erasmus program, while only 27,000 professors benefit from it each year. Regarding students, “Erasmus mobility” represents less than 1% of all the students who benefit from it (it would be 4% if we took into consideration the average duration – 4-5 years – of a student's studies).
The European Union has set ambitious goals that can not be achieved without the involvement of Member States. The initiative "Youth on the Move" http://ec.europa.eu/youthonthemove/ foresees that “by 2020 all young people in Europe will have the opportunity to complete part of their educational careers abroad, including workplace training”. This goal requires a much greater commitment from Member States. However, there is still an inconsistency between defending nationally determined educational material while waiting for Europe to solve – and finance – everything, and this has to be resolved.
What is the position of the European Commission regarding teachers' international mobility?
Within the limits of its powers, the European Commission is committed to teacher mobility. All mobility programs promoted by the European Union include teachers, albeit directly or indirectly. It is clear that the European Commission - within their limits of powers ... and budget - can not promote teachers' international mobility much more than it is doing today. Without the support of Member States, teacher mobility will remain, at a statistical level, a very minority action.
Spain is the top destination for European students who want to carry our their studies or do workplace training while participating in the Erasmus exchange program. It is also the country that sends more students to other Member States. Why do you think that this program is so successful? What options are there for students who have finished their time at the university?
The program's success throughout Europe, and in Spain in particular, is undeniable. There are about 200,000 Europeans students annually who benefit from this framework and more than 2 million from the Erasmus generation since the inception of the program. The cultural awareness that encourages mobility, and its regulated nature – this form of mobility is organised by the University and included in the curriculum - are some arguments that explain the success of Erasmus.
Spain has cultural attractions that can explain that it is one of the most popular destinations, followed by France and Germany. However, Erasmus has had an impact in European student culture and Spain, after Germany and France, is one of the countries with the highest percentage of Erasmus students in relation to their entire university population (after Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Austria and the Czech Republic).
It still remains to be seen what will happen to youth after having this mobility experience; right now the data on youth unemployment (reaching 45%) are chilling in this regard. In fact, there is a real risk that "Erasmus" mobility will lose its appeal if it fails to generate more employment opportunities. We are facing a challenge: inventing the "post-Erasmus", i.e., finding ways to encourage other forms of less "protected" mobility .
Do you think that more guidance is needed in order to know about all the options for studying and working abroad?
Absolutely. Building a mobility project requires more than a brochure or website. Creating contexts that allow for an exchange of experiences among youth, for example, seems to be one of the conditions that increases mobility among young people. Facilitating dialogue between businesses, the non-profit sector and young people, to generate knowledge about how mobility can help to develop new core competencies for personal and professional development, is also essential.
We organize participatory events for the European Commission which present the initiative "Youth on the Move" to encourage participation and dialogue among and with young people. This dialogue model seems to be something that could also be developed at the national level and we are trying to move in this direction.
According to the HR consulting firm Randstad, in 2010 the profile of the person willing to travel for work is a male, unemployed, immigrant, who is young and has a low educational level. Does this information match the data you work with?
Knowing that almost half of young professionals are unemployed, I question what relevancy this study by Randstad has.
The recent Eurobarometer on youth mobility in Europe shows that for 55% of Spanish young people, the largest difficulty they encounter in the labor market is the inability to find a job in their own city or region. It is interesting to compare this figure with the low mobility of Europeans in general. Unlike people in the U.S., for example, only 18% of Europeans change regions and only 4% have gone to live in another country. We are faced with a trend that transcends differences in age, social class or education level: there is low mobility among all Europeans.
However, 68% of Spanish youth say they want to have the opportunity to work abroad, while only 19% have had the opportunity to go abroad while they were studying or training (Eurobarometer, 2011). How can we respond to this desire for mobility?
Do the current economic conditions favour greater worker mobility?
31.2% of Spanish youth between the ages of 18 and 24 have left school without completing secondary education, according to the latest available data. The European average is at 14.4%. The rejection of higher education in Spain is above the European Union average and one of the the main reasons for this is the fact that higher education doesn't lead to getting better jobs and wages.
According to the E.U., the high dropout rate in Spain and the "imbalance" between a university education and the qualification level on demand in the labour market, are the two main causes that explain the high level of unemployment among young Spanish people.
At the same time, studies show that students who have done part of their studies or training in a different county have a greater chance of finding work. Employers value these students' foreign language skills, and their ability to adapt and relate better to others.
Finally, independently from today's economic situation, do you think we need to be working on mobility for the younger population? How could we achieve this?
Two thirds of young Spaniards believe that the number of immigrants is excessive and that we need to control migration patterns. 14% would vote for a racist political party if the immigration rate continues to increase. (Injuve, 2008)
Only 35% of Spanish youth are involved in activities or sports associations, which is well below the European average. 20% participate in volunteer work. (Eurobarometer, 2011) http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/flash/fl_319b_sum_en.pdf
Mobility has a global impact in cultural awareness and dialogue, it expresses an interest in going out to meet others, in search of opportunities.
Speaking another language, engaging in collaborative work, conducting research, creating your own company, participating in an art project, forming part of a social network, looking for a job in another city, region or country – all these activities are examples of mobility .
We should respond to young people's desires for mobility, uncover existing opportunities, create new prospects for training in the workplace, develop skills that businesses need and foster democratic values... In short, we need to rely on youth.
In June 2011, European Schoolnet’s iTEC project welcomed an important new Associate Partner, the Gothenburg Region Association of Local Authorities (GR). The new partnership aims to strengthen scenario building in Sweden as iTEC develops and validates scenarios for the future classroom in over 1000 classrooms across 15 countries in Europe.
Allocation of resources to lifelong learning is considered as one of the key areas within the Gothenburg Region Association of Local Authorities (GR), a co-operative organisation uniting thirteen municipalities in western Sweden. As one of the iTEC’s newest Associate Partners, GR provides iTEC with a solid base in Sweden and further extends the project’s pan-European scope. With the involvement of GR, iTEC will now be able to involve and work with schools in 15 countries.
The Gothenburg region includes 210,000 pupils, 20,000 teachers and 1000 school heads. GR Education, a service organisation within the regional body, plays an important role among these actors by supporting lifelong learning and providing a place for exchanging ideas, knowledge and experience. The association also runs several joint projects and collaborates with a large number of organisations outside the municipal sphere. For example, a new project called GUNS will establish cross-border cooperation between 9 Nordic schools and 18 school classes, who will jointly plan and carry out joint cross-border projects related to languages, science, history/social studies and mathematics supported by new technologies. GR Education will also organise a two-day “Mötesplats Skola” conference in October 2011 to present different regional initiatives in the field of education. iTEC will take part in one of the conference sessions called European perspective into school digitalisation.
GR’s concrete activities to support iTEC will be related mainly to future classroom scenario development and school piloting. So called “one-to-one” computer projects have a relatively strong presence within the region’s educational sector and schools involved in these initiatives will pilot and test some of the iTEC scenarios.
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The IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) will examine the outcomes of student computer and information literacy (CIL) education across countries. Computer and information literacy refers to an individual’s ability to use computers to investigate, create, and communicate in order to participate effectively at home, at school, in the workplace, and in the community.
The assessment of CIL will be authentic and computer-based. It will incorporate multiple-choice and constructed response items based on realistic stimulus material; software simulations of generic applications so that students are required to complete an action in response to an instruction; and authentic tasks that require students to modify and create information products using “live” computer software applications.
The student questionnaire will gather information about computer use in and out of school, attitudes to technology, self-reported computer proficiency, and background characteristics. Teacher and school questionnaires will ask about computer use, computing resources, and relevant policies and practices. A number of items will link to SITES 2006. The national context survey will collect systemic data on education policies and practices for developing computer and information literacy, expertise of teachers, and digital technology resources in schools.
The main population to be surveyed will include all students enrolled in the grade that represents eight years of schooling, counting from the first year of ISCED Level 1, provided that the mean age at the time of testing is at least 13.5 years. For most countries the target grade would be Grade 8. In addition, the assessment will be offered (using a modified set of assessment modules) as an option for Grade 4.
Participating Educational Systems
Educational systems considering participation in ICILS: Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Israel, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (Catalonia), Thailand, United States.
ICILS was inaugurated at the National Research Coordinators meeting in Amsterdam, June 21–25, 2010. The project aims to elaborate the assessment framework in 2010 and finalize it in 2011, develop and pilot survey instruments over 2011, conduct a field trial in the first half of 2012, and collect data at the beginning of 2013 (Northern Hemisphere) and at the end of 2013 (Southern Hemisphere), with reporting in November 2014.
The theme of the Nottingham conference is “The Call Triangle: student, teacher and institution” and will seek to explore student expectations of the role of technology in their learning, how the teaching profession embraces new developments and the part played by the learning institution in providing a rich learning environment for both students and staff.
There have been broad discussions on the use of ICT to achieve better student learning and teaching in education. With the emergence of digital tools and technologies, it has become crucial for newly qualified teachers to be confident in using technology effectively in education.
An e-portfolio initiative indicates that learners can store their work, record their achievements, access personal course timetables and digital resources and cooperate with other learners in their online space for learning. When used effectively, e-portfolios provide a means to improve learners’ digital skills and help teachers find out more about their learners’ knowledge and needs.
The intention of this paper is to explore the pros and cons of e-portfolios in pre-service teacher training to support the process of personal development for student teachers in higher education. An e-portfolio system embedded in the curriculum would support student teachers’ development as EFL teachers, help them become efficient ICT users and increase their employment opportunities. However, the e-portfolio implementation process would have several pedagogical and technical drawbacks if key strategies were not carefully implemented.