Computers and the Internet have arrived in European schools. Virtually all primary schools use computers for learning purposes, and some have even started to move away from dedicated computer labs to the use in class. But what motivates teachers to use technology in the classroom? Does it really affect children’s learning? What are outstanding best practices? STEPS, a comparative study into the integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in primary schools in the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, was undertaken to scrutinise the pedagogical use of technology in the classroom and its impact on learning.
Results will be presented – for the first time – at this year’s OEB. The study is one of the activities encouraged by the European Commission as part of its Lifelong Learning Programme (LLL). In a full-day workshop and a conference session, Commission representatives will give an overview of the EC’s key activities related to ICT for learning.
Economic, technological, business and social innovation is increasingly based on, and supported by, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). In all these major areas, ICT tools have become a key lever for change. It is time for education and training to go the same way.
Yet, studies show that ICT has not yet had as significant an impact on education as expected. Effective integration of ICT into education must go beyond simply replacing, streamlining or accelerating current practices.
A recent communication by the European Commission on the ‘Updated Strategic Framework on European cooperation in education and training’ stresses the importance of enhancing innovation and creativity at all levels of education and training. It is crucial that our youngsters develop their sense of creativity and their capacities to innovate, the document says.
In today’s society, with changing jobs and skills needs, more and more voices are pleading for reforms in education and training as a response to rapid societal, technological and economic changes. There is a need to create a vision of what learning in the future knowledge-based society in Europe will be, and what kind of skills and competences need to be learned for the new jobs of the future.
EC Focuses on ICT for Learning
The promotion of ‘ICT for learning’ is an integral part of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme (LLL), both of the four sub-programmes Comenius, Erasmus, Grundtvig and Leonardo and one of the four key activities of the Transversal Programme (see info box).
A full-day pre-conference workshop on “Learning, Creativity and Innovation, and ICT”, organised by the European Commission, DG Education and Culture and its Executive Agency, will bring together various e-learning and Minerva projects, as well as best-practice examples from the Lifelong Learning programme that exploit the full potential of ICT for enhancing creativity and innovation.
The projects are excellent examples of how the European Commission promotes ICT for learning, the steady progress in the use of ICT for education and training across Europe, and the supporting role ICT plays for enhancing creativity and innovation in learning.
Four themes will be introduced by internationally recognised speakers involved in the LLL programme: impact, digital competencies, on-line communities, as well as ICT and creativity and innovation.
An open debate with the audience will address the future avenues and provide valuable input into future European policy making and programming.
The workshop Learning, Innovation and ICT will take place on December 2, 2009 from 10:00 – 17:30.
Session Learning to Innovate – Innovate to Learn
In a session within the main conference, Learning to Innovate – Innovate to Learn: European Perspectives, representatives of the European Commission will provide a coherent overview of activities around “Learning and ICT” carried out under the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009, as well as the projects launched under the LLL programme. It will be closely related to the upcoming “Manifesto” of the Ambassadors of the European Year. The session will also look at research on ICT as an enabler of learning and innovation and will provide information based on ongoing studies.
Considerable time will be given to discussion with the audience. This year’s conference input offered by the EC will contend that it is both timely and of the utmost importance to look upon ICT as an enabler of learning, not from the sidelines but from within educational and training strategies. In fact, one should not talk any longer about e-learning, i-learning, flexible and distant learning, etc., but just about ‘learning’.
The session Learn to Innovate – Innovate to Learn: European Perspectives with Lieve Van den Brande, Peter Birch and Yves Punie from the European Commission will take place on December 3, 2009 from 11:45 – 13:00.