Enhancing teachers’ digital skills boosts student inclusion.

Teachers’ training day in Barcelona provided schools with information

The pandemic has proven that social exclusion due to lack of digital skills is a harsh reality. Schools are an essential actor in preventing digital alienation and supporting student inclusion. Teachers from all over Europe participated in a digital skills training day in Barcelona, organized by the BLENDI – Blended Learning for Inclusion project.

The project coordinated by the Finnish Diaconia University of Applied Sciences takes place simultaneously in five European countries: Finland, Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Ireland.

The project results are promising: by implementing digital elements into traditional classes and lesson planning, both student inclusion and teachers’ digital knowhow are reinforced.

Along with the objective to combine digital learning and traditional classroom methods, blended learning aims to empower educators in using blended learning in schools, in an attempt to deal with the social and educational exclusion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Digital knowhow anchors children to the community and society around them. We think that practicing digital skills in schools should be empowering and encourage students to express their views about their learning in a digital world, explains Olli Vesterinen from Diaconia University of Applied Sciences in Finland.

Teachers’ training was met with excitement for innovation

Before blended learning can become more common in schools in a broader scale, teachers will need to be trained to understand this method better. BLENDI project recently organized a training day for teachers in Barcelona where teachers from different countries came together.

Teacher Maria Loizou from Cyprus felt that during the training, she learned a lot about the principles of blended learning. As the most important point of the training, she realized that students’ voice could be taken into consideration when lesson plans are developed.

  • We have never really tried taking students’ voice into account in lesson planning. To us, this is something new and innovative. It will promote our students’ skills, both digital and social, according to current standards, Loizou says.

Olli Vesterinen confirms that even if the focus is on digital skills, blended learning is also about paying attention to every student’s opinions and needs in terms of learning.

  • Before the lessons starts, the teacher introduces how and with what equipment the lesson is carried out. Then the students may participate with their own smart phones for example, at their own pace, Vesterinen says.
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