3 Strands of Learn2Teach

The project has three underlying strands. Firstly, its aim is to meet the increasing need for well developed ICT-skills (1) in the field of “social media” for teachers as well as students. Secondly, it contributes to spreading the use of the added pedagogical value (2) of social media for teaching purposes and therefore the adoption of innovative teaching methods in schools and colleges. Thirdly, the output of the planned project will become a tool for combatting the digital divide in Europe and will contribute to the eInclusion (3) of young people as part of the digital society, currently called “social media”.

(1) Within the project, “social media” are seen as a new communication and collaboration paradigm that is changing, and will change the way Europeans work, communicate and learn. But currently, as the discussions on data privacy on Facebook show, young people lack the competence to judge the risks of this kind of communication. The necessary competences are not covered in today’s ICT lessons at schools, as social media is commonly understood as a new technology, but not as a new communication paradigm. “Social” aspects of web usage are not satisfactorily adressed in ICT lessons or other subjects. Teachers as well seem to lack the competence to use social media applications in an adequate way. But it is the shared opinion of the participating schools that teachers should be able to understand the core innovation of social media in comparison to older communication media, in order to adjust their lessons and pedagogical approaches to the needs of a world of work, communication and learning that is increasingly using social media. This world decreasingly distinguishes between leisure and work or office, school and home.

(2) In addition, teachers often lack an understanding of the potential of this new communication and collaboration paradigm for teaching purposes. The possibilities of the social web for pedagogical use in school contexts seem underexploited.

Some key questions:

      • What is the potential of social media applications for student driven learning?
          • Or learning by doing?
              • Or international mobility of students?
                • How does the role of the teacher change in a student directed learning process via social media?

Knowledge societies will have to find answers to these questions, if they want their schools to be places where young citizens are prepared for the use of innovative technology in a productive way. This project will contribute to answering these questions by empowering teachers to use social media in their lessons and thereby guide their students in the use of social media. The participating schools subscribe to the view that social media has enormous unexploited potential for teaching and we are eager to use this to create better lessons and a better education for our students. Social media offers at the same time the advantages of:

          • distance learning arrangements (free decision on time and place of learning, sequencing),
          • electronic learning (multimedia applications, hyper-textualisation, communication, storage of large data volumes, archiving, connection to knowledge management), and,
          • constructivist-inspired user-driven content production and communication (action learning, active learning, learner-to-learner interaction, learning by teaching, exploring learning).

(3) The third strand covers the needs identified in the idea of eInclusion. The last few years have seen a growing interest in eInclusion policies (i2010, RigaDeclaration) considering ICT/Internet as a vehicle for personal development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employability. The EU Ministerial eInclusion Conference (Vienna, 2008) was an attempt to reduce the Digital Divide by promoting eSkills. The proposal “L2T” aims at training teachers to empower their students to use the social media for learning, communication, working and political participation. Social media applications are seen as easy to use, with the advantage of being useable by people with very low ICT skills.

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