Sunday, 18 February 2018

Open Online Learning Experiences: Designing Teacher Training for Digitally Connected Teachers

In November 2017, I was given the opportunity to take part in a round table at the Eminent 2017 European Congress to share the initiative on open online learning experiences for continuous professional development that the Spanish Ministry of Education launched back in 2014, and whose evolution is regarded as a successful study case.

I would like to share the support slideshow I used for my delivery in Brussels then, as well as an extended summary of what this teacher training initiative consists of:

Through the National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training, the Spanish Ministry of Education regards open online teacher training as a way to train teachers on competencies and skills, to open up training so as to foster personalized learning, learning by doing, autonomous training, and training which seeks for shared knowledge and educational practice exchanges, which survive beyond the actual training periods.

Besides, we seek for providing online training that covers the various different learning styles that teachers may have, and that is why we offer three types of open online teacher training: MOOC, NOOC, and SPOOC.

Our massive open online courses are a training roadmap that focuses on content dissemination and include an activity plan that opens to collaboration. They are not based on topic delivery, but promote online learning communities, autonomous learning, and social connections, and where the role of the facilitators, mentors and the whole dynamization team is essential.

The Massive Open Online Courses that INTEF run have a connectivist approach, the interactions and connections at social networks play a key role and rather than tutors, we have facilitators and energyzers who guide and accompany participants all along the learning experiences.

The main goal that our catalogue of massive open online courses pursue is that participants learn by doing and produce digital artifacts which showcase their learning progress, that help them improve their digital competences and that they can set up learning diaries full of learning evidences which endorse the whole experience.

From only offering a pilot catalogue of 3 MOOC in 2014, we have evolved into offering a series of Nano Open Online Learning Experiences (NOOC), whose estimated effort is 180 minutes and that are oriented to achieving a single goal, to developing or improving a single digital competence, whose learning evidence is a single digital artifact.

Besides, we are now offering Self- Paced Online Open Courses to foster learning anywhere, anytime, at participants’ own rhythm, and that catalogue completes the whole circle of the Open Teacher Training that we are running at the Ministry of Education in Spain.

The concept underlying the whole offer is The Common Digital Competence Framework For Teachers, whose latest version was published in October 2017, so all our online training initiatives are based on that framework, divided into 5 Areas, 21 sub-competencies and six competence levels.

Participants who succesfully complete an open online course are endorsed with open digital badges.
The Open Badge Backpack that INTEF is continuously developing is fully compatible with our Open Online learning environments and it is a safe, open standard badge backpack, also manageable with other backpacks which support open standards.

The badges that INTEF issue are serious badges, which acknowledge achieved goals and professional competencies. Participants can share them in social networks, organise them in collections, show them in their INTEF Open Online Training Profiles, export them to their digital sites and to any other backpack that they might use.

This Backpack was born with the aim of becoming a professional portfolio of digital micro credentials that favor a rethought education, which does not train teachers based on the hours they spend on their own professional training, but on the competencies and skills they acquire and improve when continuously developing professionally.

Currently it is also connected with the Portfolio for the Digital Competence of Teachers, an online service that we have opened in October 2017, and which is the service to acknowledge teachers’ digital competence, based on self-assessment and an evidence dossier, both of which are gathered in a digital competence passport, which proves the teachers’ level of competence, endorsed with open badges.

The most popular feature of our open online courses among teachers are weekly live events, broadcasted through our Youtube channel, in which experts come and debate on the course topic, the participants themselves have a voice, come and exchange best practices, or facilitators solve doubts live. These live connected events are seen as a way to humanise online training and are also disseminated through all the social networks we are present at. They consist of Twitter chats, digital round tables, facilitation events, webathons, Facebook events, flipped podcasting and so forth, all with the aim of fostering professional communities of connected educators.

Learn more at #AprendeINTEF.

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