In the light of the above-discussed diversity at the level of national and regional policies and the manifold implementation processes it is interesting to see that there are new integrative tendencies at the European level. From this perspective it is appropriate to have a look at the processes around the European Digital Competence Framework (DigComp) and its educational derivation “European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators” (DigCompEdu). Below a nutshell description is presented of the origins, outline of the educational framework and of the related processes.
Origins of DigComp and DigCompEdu: DigComp was developed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission as a scientific project, initially on behalf of the Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) and, more recently, on behalf of the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL). In order to produce the framework, an extensive literature review, case study research and stakeholder consultation process were carried out.
The European Digital Competence Framework (DigComp), which was updated in 2016/ 2017, responds to this need, by providing a structure which allows European citizens to better understand what it means to be digitally competent and to assess and further develop their own digital competence. It has been developed as a further project of JRC with the support of a wide range of educational & media experts and stakeholders throughout Europe. The objective of the DigCompEdu framework proposed in [a separate] report is to reflect on existing instruments for educators’ digital competence and to synthesize these into a coherent model that would allow educators at all levels of education to comprehensively assess and develop their pedagogical digital competence.
The DigCompEdu framework is not intended to undermine national, regional and local efforts to capture educators’ digital competence. On the contrary, the diversity of approaches in different Member States contributes to a productive and ongoing debate and is welcomed. The framework aims to provide a common ground for this debate, with a common language and logic as a starting point for developing, comparing and discussing different instruments for developing educators’ digital competence, at national, regional or local levels.
Outline of the DigCompEdu framework: The framework can at best be understood with the help of the following figures:
The two figures illustrate the attempt to promote integrative digital learning processes that link teachers’ and trainers’ professional competences and pedagogic competences to each other in such a way that they facilitate the development of learners’ competences. From this perspective the framework outlines six areas of competences, related activities and different levels of competences.
Putting the framework into practice: Even with a quick look at the DigCompEdu framework it is possible to note that it has a different character as the European Qualification Framework (EQF) or European Frameworks for Credit Transfer (ECTS and ECVET) or European Quality Assurance mechanisms (EQAR, ENQA, EQAVET). Therefore, it provides a basis for different kinds of framework processes. This framework is not paving the way to intergovernmental agreements with signatory states or to setting institutional boundaries, fixed reference levels and monitoring of the compliance with pre-given quality criteria.
As a contrast, the DigCompEdu can be characterised as an open, flexible and process-oriented framework for integrating the promotion of digital competences to policy development, shaping of teaching/learning processes, shaping of informal learning in working life and for supporting continuous professional development. In this respect it provides toolsets for working in different areas of competence development, addressing different activities and specifying different levels of proficiency. Yet the processes of using the framework – the analyses, developmental measures, assessment procedures and support for continuing professional development – need to be grounded in the education and training context.
Without going into detailed discussion it is possible to note that the DigCompEdu has much in common with the initial ideas of the TACCLE-CPD. However, given that it has been shaped at the European level and for a wider range of education, training and learning contexts, it is obviously more abstract. Yet, when looking more closely at the work plan of the project, it is possible to identify ways to work with the DigCompEdu framework, e.g. by using the toolsets, providing exemplary cases and by extending the use of it. In this respect the TACCLE-CPD project can work with the TACCLE-VET project.