THE ROLE OF DIGITAL TOOLS IN BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATIONAL POLICY AND PRACTICE IN SPAIN

S. Alcaraz-Domínguez, M. Barajas

University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
According to the Spanish curricula, one of the goals of compulsory education is students’ acquisition of basic competencies. The aim of the paper is to describe and critically assess the current institutional framework from the scope of an extensive adoption of Competency-Based Education in Spain. To that goal, it starts by reviewing recent national legislation on Primary and Secondary education in relation to competencies. As an example, the curriculum for Primary education states eight basic competences: linguistic communication; mathematic competency; knowledge and interaction with the physical world; information treatment and digital competency; social and citizenship competency; artistic and cultural competency; learning to learn; and personal autonomy and initiative (Official State Gazette, 2006). The review shows an increasing role of competencies in the school curriculum, which are in line with the European Framework for Key Competencies for Lifelong Learning (European Commission, 2008).

However, it is well-known that one of the strongest difficulties for educational change is translating policies into practice. Fostering student competencies requires teachers and trainers to deploy appropriate teaching and assessment methods, which rely strongly on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). For this reason, the article aims to identifying public initiatives and available resources that constitute the institutional scaffolding for teachers and school leaders which ultimately foster students’ competencies. Considering that teachers' professional development has long been acknowledged as a crucial factor in bridging this gap, the present paper closely examines one important initiative, the Strategic Framework for Educators’ Professional Development (Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, 2013). The Framework aims to defining a teacher competency framework that allows for certification of existing and new teacher training modalities. In particular, we suggest possible enablers for the implementation of the Framework, e.g. digital portfolios, and open badges. These constitute innovative initiatives which draw on results from relevant past and current European projects.