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Sharing experiences – exploring common ground

Sharing experiences – exploring common ground

First Learning Teacher Training  (LTT) took place in Lisbon from 20thto 23rd September 2021

Im Rahmen des europäischen Partnerschaftsprojekt Digi-VET (Digital VET Readiness) fand vom 20. Bis 23. September des erste sog. Learning Teacher Training Treffen in Lissabon an der technischen Berufsschule INETE statt, bei dem verschiedene pädagogische Ansätze erörtert, Unterrichtsbeispiele erprobt und konzeptionelle Fragen digitalen Unterrichts erörtert wurden. Der folgende Artikel fasst den Verlauf und einige Ergebnisse zusammen.

For the first time during our project, which had started in March 2021, the partners of DigiVET Readiness met for a common training event in Lisbon. So far, we had only been able to meet online. Unfortunately, the Norwegian partner. VAL Skoler was prevented from joining the meeting due to the decision of the school not to embark on travelling to avoid any risks caused by COVID. 
The Portuguese host, the vocational college INETE welcomed the participants already on the evening 19th of Sept. with a lovely get-together event at our hotel, close to the college, laying  the ground for a warm and cheerful atmosphere which stimulated our further work during these inspiring days.
Beyond the need to introduce the status of digital teaching and learning in each partner institution the main task of the following workshops consisted in sharing experiences and teaching tool for teaching which circled around the major themes of
•    How to provide motivation for learners to engage in digital learning? 
•    How to design collaborative projects – and enable students to create content?
•    How to create a community of e-learners and organize collaborative learning?
•    How to promote mutual exchange and interaction within groups via digital media?
Each of these questions had previously been assigned to one of the partner institutions, whose specific approaches were not only presented but made available by training on the spot. Following these exercises (which was great fun!) we touched upon further issues in relationship to digital teaching within our quite different educational contexts. 
How did each partner respond to the unequal social backgrounds of students? Which experiences did we have with new communication structures caused by distance learning and the increased necessity to stay in contact with learners via video conference systems or LMS? 
We agreed that digital teaching should be based on a clear and sequential model of how to introduce and later enrich digital teaching starting from introductory phases up to higher competences in using digital media for teaching, instruction, and self-learning. The outcome of these phases should be evaluated and their impact on learners as well as teaching staff continuously monitored. Though we also touched upon the necessity of adding a pre-evaluation of learner´s introductory skills, competences, and previous learning experiences there was hardly time to explore this topic any further.
In view of our initial task to consider the pre-requisites of digital teaching and learning, there was a consensus that digital readiness and a qualified performance of institutions would have to consider at least the following dimensions:
1.    The previous experiences and digital competencies of learners as well as teachers,
2.    The organisational structure of educational institutions and the competencies and skills of teachers as well as the technical equipment available to them,
3.    Further, the use and common access of learners and teachers to a learn management system (LMS) as a basis for strong, sharing, evaluation and communication seems important,
4.    Digital tools allow but also demand a great deal of structured cooperation among the teaching staff within departments and subject areas. Rather than using individually selected tools for teaching, it seems more appropriate to arrange for a selected set of tools which support the teaching proves as well as the desired growth of competencies and employability.
These outcomes just indicate just a few issues of our intense discussions and are by no means comprehensive. But they provide us, despite the differences of our institutions, with trajectories for the next steps within the common project and will further be explored in our sessions.

Fernanda Torres, the inviting director of INETE, enriched our meeting by organizing a visit the QUIDGEST, one of the leading companies to develop analytical and procedural software to control and structure business processes. 
Some of the employees had been students at INETE. We were impressed how well they had been able to integrate into this specialized field of software production, demanding not only programming skills but also a variety of transversal skills in languages, communication, independent learning, problem solving. We will further investigate and clarify those dimensions of digital readiness in our next meetings and our internal efforts to promote not only readiness but positive outcomes.

The next LTT will take place in Berlin, early March 2022. Many thanks again to Fernanda and all the colleagues and staff of INETE for their warm, efficient, and productive hospitality! 
(Matthias Döbler, OSZ IMT)

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