The 8 Digital Skills Students Need for The Future ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning


Speaking about the digital skills which teachers perceive to be important for the future of their students, even though this study is a bit dated now, I still don’t see the word ‘Critical’ anywhere – nor do I perceive any sort of message which sees the importance of being critical in today’s digital society. 

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5 Dimensions Of Critical Digital Literacy: A Framework

5 Dimensions Of Critical Digital Literacy: A Framework


I would also add Co-Creating – more often we – ‘the adults’ think of ourselves as those who just consume whatever is making the rounds online – we hardly ever really contribute – sometimes it’s the fear of having work which is criticised that may stop us. But being digital literate is also about putting your work out there, sharing it, and letting the crowds make something worth while out of it. Co-creation is a wonderful way of starting digitally literate and critical communities who are not passive but who are active contributors in the digital society. 

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MOOCs and OERs for web talent: A hybrid open panel at OER15

Europe is facing a shortage of a million workers in the web and technology sectors, while youth unemployment remains a persistent societal and economic issue. Are MOOCs the answer to these issues? Or are they one of many means to address the shortage in web talent – but as part of an ecosystem which includes free and paid courses, self-paced learning resources, learning communities, and formal education providers? Are current conceptions of vocational training, certification and acknowledgement fit for purpose, and are MOOCs challenging these conceptions or reinforcing them?


Our panel at OER15 will debate these questions. In the spirit of openness, we invite you to participate in this event by contributing to the online discussion. During the conference, we will conduct a live panel with some of the contributors which will be joining us in person or virtually. Panelists will refer to your contributions online, and we will use social media to facilitate live interaction with the audience outside the room.


The European Commission has highlighted the potential of web and mobile startups to boost economic growth and well-being in Europe. Yet this potential is threatened by a predicted shortage of over a million skilled workers. The MOOCS for web talent network was initiated by the EC’s Startup Europe initiative to address this challenge. During 2014, the network has run webinars, conducted desk research and a survey of employers, employees and MOOC providers, connected a workshop at EC TEL 2014, and a stakeholder meeting adjacent to Slush in Helsinki.


The aim of this hybrid open event is to share the findings of our work and open up the network to a wider community. Participate in the online discussion by clicking on one of the following emerging themes:


Certification, completion, and measures of success in a MOOC Attributes of an effective MOOC learner Appropriate pedagogies for massive open online vocational learningEmergence of new educational ecosystems 


At the OER15 conference, we will conduct a live panel which would draw on and summarise the online discussion. This panel will be attended in person by several contributors and virtually by others, and will also be webcast for remote participants and recorded for use as an OER.


Moderated by Yishay Mor and Laia Canals, the panelist include Allison Litlejohn,Carlos Alario, Tom Staubitz, Davinia Hernández-Leo, Mar Pérez Sanagustin, and Catherine Mongenet amongst others.


MOOCs are an important means to address the shortage in web talent – but as part of an ecosystem which includes free and paid courses, self-paced learning resources, learning communities (e.g. open source communities), and formal education providers. In order to create sustainable and effective MOOCs for web talent, which address the real needs of web and mobile entrepreneurs, industry, educational providers and MOOC platforms need to collaborate in dynamic and agile partnerships.


Web entrepreneurs and their current and potential employees need hands-on learning experiences, grounded in real-life problems – not abstract, passive learning experiences. In order to provide such experiences, providers need to work closely with eLearning pedagogy experts and industry partners. However, MOOCs using professional software development environments to provide hands-on experience to participants have encountered various challenges mainly owing to the varied levels of digital literacy among participants.


Employers (and potential employees) need mechanisms for validating the quality of MOOCs and other learning opportunities, and verifying the knowledge of participants. This could be provided by formal credit systems (e.g. ECTS), but also by portfolios and community credits (e.g. stackoverflow badges).


Related Readings:Final report for the MOOCs for webskills project.Press release and the full survey report, including policy recommendations.Outputs of the entire project.


Milligan, C. and Littlejohn, A. (2014) Supporting professional learning in a massive open online course. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 15 (5) 197-213.  ;



Margaryan, A., Bianco, M., & Littlejohn, A. (2014). Instructional quality of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Computers and Education, 80, 77-83



Milligan, C., Margaryan, A., and Littlejohn, A. (2014). Workplace learning in informal networks. Journal of Interactive Media Environments, special issue ‘Reusing Resources – Open for Learning.



Milligan, C., Margaryan, A., and Littlejohn, A. (2013). Patterns of engagement in connectivist MOOCs. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9 (2)


The validation aspect is very important and one which is being currently discussed in a number of forums. I might add that the proposal of looking at different forms of validation and not just in terms of ECTS, would possibly ensure that the spirit of the MOOCs designed for lifelong learning is maintained.  As it is, if the validation is just accepted for higher education credit value systems, this might limit the MOOC possibilities for people not necessarily interested in higher ed. 

See on Scoop.itEffective MOOCs

From Visible Thinking Routines to 5 Modern Learning Routines

I have been a fan of Visible Thinking Routines which were developed by Project Zero from Havard, for a while now. I have used these routines with students, as  blogging routines and in professional…


A really wonderful representation of what being digital in this era is all about – learning in the digital era, is more of a contribution rather than a passive absorption of online information. 

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Using Bloom’s Taxonomy In The 21st Century: 4 Strategies For Teaching

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy In The 21st Century: 4 Strategies For Teaching


Quite an interesting insight which has made me ponder on some questions. In Malta we are trying to achieve much with a new learning outcomes framework that we are implementing in schools. My worries would be – are we trying to be quite ambitious in that? As a country I feel that we are too preoccupied with curricula, assessment, instructions, and standards and data. How can we hope to achieve a ‘real’ 21st century education that is focused more on continuous connectivity, communication, and active role taking if we don’t focus enough on changing mentalities and our perception of the ‘culture of learning’? 

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Education in the Digital Era #EdDigEra – The Opening Session (my thoughts)

Today I am attending the conference that is taking place in Brussels – Education in Digital Era.

IMG_2984I have been looking forward to attend this and I must say that if the opening session is anything to go by for today’s presentations, then this promises to be a very inspiring conference. The opening session saw a line up of Stefania GIANNINI as the Italian Minister of Education, Tibor NAVRACSICS, the Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Silvia COSTA the Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education, Lord David PUTTNAM – Chair of Atticus Education. I must say that all of the speakers, gave us some thought-provoking challenges in their discussion, though I believe that Lord David Puttnam’s presentation was not only inspiring – it was a reflection of what we are doing and discussing here.

Some of the thoughts I grasped from what these speakers told us included the emphasis on skills more than just the technology fazes. Stefania Giannini spoke about the need for competitiveness achieved though collaboration. She shared a vision of a Europe seen as a singular campus, where all teachers, students and researchers are free and able to share their experiences, their expertise and their education. Tibor Navracsics spoke about the need of going beyond being connected to being competent. From my own experience with teachers, they are overwhelmed by their notions that young people ‘know’ how to manipulate technology. However we also know that accessing technology, or being able to tamper with the technology, does not make one competent in the skills that are needed for today’s digital practices. Silvia Costa spoke about some statistics…. she made a reference to a study, that shows that whilst 70% of teachers recognise the importance of digital learning, only 20% are taught by digitally competent teachers. Teachers play a fundamental role not only in facilitating online materials but also to impart digital skills. This brings us to an important aspect of education in and for the digital era: we need to invest heavily in high quality teacher education – that would impart the right digital skills to these people who will be facing young people.IMG_2987

Lord David Puttnam made reference to the challenges that are faced by these very young people today – the challenges of the world and the society they are growing up in.  One of the strongest emphasis Lord Puttnam makes is on the need for direction, to give focus to the young people about who they are, who they want to become. In another interesting, yet potentially dangerous statistic Lord Puttnam brings to light a recent study in higher education, where 96% of college principals believe that their institutions are successfully preparing young people for the world of work. In comparison, only 14% of recent college graduals agree whilst even lower, 12% of employers agree! This is, according to Lord Puttnam, not a gap, but a gulf that we need to close. One other inspiring thought coming from Lord Puttnam is the need for resilience – a life skill to be taught. Talent and imagination, commitment and belief are some of the factors that contribute to this resilience. Lord Puttnam described 5 different mind sets that influence the attitudes in Education (I only managed to get the first four!) : early adopters, open but constrained, struggling skeptics, passionate traditionalists. This really made me strike a comparison with some of the teachers and even colleagues I know who I would also classify with these categories. I think the ones who scare me the most, and who i feel I would need to work with the most are the passionate traditionalists who feel that the way they are teaching and the way they have been teaching for the last 20 years or so, is good, and has produced some good teachers or learners, and therefore they don’t feel the need for change. This is dangerous and scary. Lord Puttnam also reminded us about what happens when teachers start to talk, when they overcome the barrier they themselves erect when it comes to sharing their teaching – experience and expertise. As an example TES Connect boasts some 300million downloads with 2 million registered users and with a collection of shared TES resources of which 47% are created by teachers. As a final note to this short blog post I would like to include a wonderful reference of one example of a product of digital technology, and the power of the crowds… and sharing….this is Eric Whitaker’s virtual choir.

Gamifying Education – who will it really work with?

I have just come across this infographic – making me think. In general I am not against gamification myself. I do actually try it out with my own students, using 3D GameLab to gamify my quests. In fact this year I really would like to write a bit about how my students, who will be teachers, feel on the issue of gamification in education. My question though is… let’s take the school setting, will gamification only work with those learners who have a predisposition to schools and learning, or could it be successful with those young people, for whom learning is perceived as a burden which they can definitely live without? Could we use gamification to really entice young people not to drop out of school? Could we really use gamification with both young and adult people who have severe literacy difficulties? Sincerely… I don’t really know.
Gamification Infographic

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

#MaltaBLT – My blog for the second workshop day!

The second day of the workshop has once again proved to be quite interesting and hands on where we have had the opportunity to brainstorm and explore ideas – the key terms here seem to have been – get wild, get creative! We have had the opportunity to come up with our own questions and provide answers (quantity more than quality applied here!) in the most creative, yet time efficient way as possible. Here is a short summary, from our group that was only made up of 2 people 🙂 myself and Antoinette – but we fared fairly well I would say.

Hard at work! Workshop participants...

Hard at work! Workshop participants…

However the vibe around the room was quite exceptional – fun and dynamic would pretty much sum up the session. Thinking about what connected passion, engagement, learning and technology, we emerged with a question that asked ‘How might we lead people to the frame of mind that can connect learning to the technology?’ We came up with 20 possibilities that could somehow direct us to the question, the most popular of which turned out to be get learners into teachers and teachers into learners (swap roles). This was closely followed by creating authentic settings, and involving students, teachers and parents in a Wiki project.


Write your thoughts moment – our 20 thoughts moment!

In the end our rapid prototyping project turned out to combine all these three elements by proposing a national public Wiki project, that would be themed around the various forms of literacies and that would allow parents, teachers and students to collaborate using one single platform. This ‘social project’ would help people connect the dots between learning and technology, using a medium everyone is familiar with… sounds fun isn’t it? Doable? Well we think it’s not impossible – however it’s not without its challenges. Once more kudos to @peterford for making us think, do and collaborate in a fun and engaging way!

The rapid prototype of our national public Wiki project.

The rapid prototype of our national public Wiki project.

Better learning using Technologies – a community initiative #MaltaBLT

This morning I had the pleasure of attending the workshop being organised by the Department of Arts and Languages in Education, Faculty of Education, University of Malta and MITA, Malta’s National Information Technology Agency. The scope of the workshop is to bring together people and lead them to a community of practice that enriches teaching and learning or rather the term which I have so happily borrowed from Richard Culattalearning powered by technology.

Peter Ford started off by telling us that “It’s not about changing people’s thinking but about changing people’s actions”. In re-imagining teachers as designers we have to understand that teachers can be creators as much as consumers of knowledge. The video below describes in brief some ideas of teachers and the creativity process:

Peter Ford challenged us first with the question: What makes great teaching?

Possible contenders as answers to this question could be: Content Knowledge? Quality of Instruction? Classroom Climate?such as the quality of interactions within a climate that values each student? And in all of these one asks where is the technology? What position does it occupy in this list of contenders? It might possibly be that rather than measuriing how technology impacts outcomes (such as assessment grades), we could measure how technology impacts teaching and learning (for example how feedback is given).

Technology needs to become an embedded practice in everyday teaching and learning and not running parallel to it. n relation to this Peter Ford made reference to Dylan Wiliam, a professional who has done extensive work on formative assessments, who goes on to say that “teachers don’t lack knowledge. What they lack is support in working out how to integrate their ideas into their daily practice – and this takes time, which is why we have to allow teachers to take small steps”. So small steps seems to be a key term in today’s workshop – slowly but surely, as my colleague, here at the workshop so rightly put it 🙂