“SOLET”, A SELF-ORGANISED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR TEACHERS ABOUT CRITICAL DIGITAL LITERACIES: PROPOSAL AND VALIDATION
Although digital technologies have generated innumerable opportunities to develop skills for future social, cultural and economic scenarios, their use is nowadays generating several concerns. Decades of research on the adoption of educational technologies have led to understanding that “techno-enthusiasm” might only lead to dead ends in the best of scenarios. In the worst of cases, and particularly in the COVID19 aftermath, several issues associated with the lack of ergonomics at home and technology overexposure, dependence, and burnout have been discussed in the light of critically reconsidering technology-enhanced pedagogies.
Such a situation requires not only careful educational research and policymaking, but particularly, a change in the direction of teachers’ professional development. In this context, the EU Erasmus+ Project DETECT (https://www.detectproject.eu/) is a transnational effort aimed to raise awareness amongst educators and support them in understanding the critical digital literacies scenarios and requirements. The project started in 2019 and has already developed a framework including eight areas of critical digital literacy and has been validated.
This paper aims at enhancing such a framework by offering the teachers activities and resources to develop their professional skills to implement critical digital literacies at school. Such a professional learning offer is denominated “SOLET” (Self-Organised Learning Environment for Teachers) and its aim is to promote problem-based activities addressing the integration of conceptual reflection with design-thinking. The ultimate goal is to prepare teachers to design for learning around several scenarios and cases requiring critical technology appraisal and usage. The course is based on heutagogy, offering resources and cases to interact with. Moreover, taking into account the concept of “comparators” developed by Nicol the learning architecture embraces automatic, self and peer-assessment as specific activities providing sources of comparison for the participants’ reflection on their own learning. Through this approach, it is expected to ease teachers' access to professional learning opportunities, with implications for the transference of complex concepts like the eight areas of the framework to practice. Ultimately, it is expected to support teachers with enhancing their own students’ opportunities to develop critical digital literacies.
The SOLET environment is under development and two rounds of user testing have been already undertaken. The first has included 8 researchers from four universities and one training institution, collecting 161 reviews. The interrater agreement was calculated over the basis of double-blind evaluation of a sample of interactions, yielding a reasonable agreement (83.33%) on the type of technological and interaction issues requiring improvement. The second user test was carried out by five teachers in two collaborative sessions; 18 reviews were collected, yielding more concerns (75% of agreement) but convergence in the adjustments was apparent. These results are discussed in the light of the research relating to teachers’ self-paced professional learning. Finally, the presentation in the conference context might encompass a unique opportunity to collect feedback.