Why this project?
The necessity and pervasiveness of the digital transition are recognised at many levels. Their impact on education is there for all to see, and European education and training systems have been facing unprecedented pressures and challenges for more than a year due to the COVID-19 induced crisis. In many countries, the use of digital education tools has been more or less perceived and adopted as (almost) the only possible way to continue to guarantee students’ right to education during lockdown periods. What occurred was thus a ‘reaction’ to an unexpected stimulus. In a way, therefore, the pandemic acted as a catalyst, as an accelerator in stimulating teachers to become aware of and use tools to perform remotely all the processes linked to teaching.
This was particularly evident in the field of Higher Education, with classrooms in universities closed for months, with the difficulty of carrying out lessons, exercises and tests, especially where practical/application content was more significant.
On average, the solutions adopted in an emergency have made it possible to plug the gap, but they have also made it possible to understand two fundamental concepts:
it is necessary to move from re-action to pro-action, not only because the Covid-19 pandemic (or other similar situations) could prolong or re-emerge, but also because -although unintentional and dramatic- it is emblematic of the suddenness and rapidity of the factors of change that characterise the present time;
digital education, whether in presence or at a distance, blended or extended, synchronous or synchronous, poses challenges in terms of spaces, tools, methods, human resources (and their skills): any immediate solution is by its very nature temporary and only partially effective and efficient. Strategic and long-term results require a strategy to guide teachers in addressing these challenges.
The “Extended Learning for Higher Education teachers and trainers” project intends to respond to this need by focusing on teacher training in extended learning methodologies and tools, in the belief that their knowledge and use can make students’ learning easier and more effective.