The Digital Competence Framework (DCF) was released on September 1st via the Learning Wales website. The framework outlines the digital skills that children will need to apply across the curriculum. Schools should look to adopt the DCF by September 2018. Many schools are already planning how they will ensure that they are developing the skills. However once schools become fully familiar with the DCF they will begin to realise that much of the use of technology within the classroom does not specifically address aspects of the DCF at the appropriate stage.
For example, take the use of technology to support learning. This could include using an online game to help pupils learn to tell the time or using J2Measure to find the distance they walked on a school visit. Many schools currently use such games, programs and apps to enhance learning opportunities in a wide variety of subjects. However, after looking at the DCF, teachers may feel that the digital skills being developed through these activities do not meet the relevant expectations of the DCF.
The DCF does not specify the use of technology to make learning more stimulating, motivating or personal. For example, the digital skills needed to follow a playlist or NeoPod presentation are minimal but the playlist itself enables pupils to take their learning home, to revisit the activity as they need and to learn at their own pace. Thus personalising their learning with options to control in any setting.
Similarly, the use of video to engage children in story telling doesn’t develop digital competence beyond navigating through a program–a skill which is at nursery level in the DCF. Yet it has proved to be extremely motivating for pupils and has shown to raise standards in writing.
It is important to remember that the use of technology is extremely valuable when developing subject skills. Using such technologies can help pupils to work more accurately; build up their subject skills and increase motivation when learning. The digital competences being developed in order to use tools and applications are often relevant to Year 1 in the DCF, however, the use of technology to enhance learning is an essential element of effective teaching.
In addition, the DCF focuses on the application of skills across a variety of contexts and, as with the LNF, relies on them having been taught first. This is often done in isolation by teaching a discrete IT lesson, although it could be taught through a cross-curricular project (e.g. when teaching data creation and analysis). Schools will need to make sure that they continue to teach the skills for the IT curriculum in order that they can be applied across the curriculum.
It is essential that we don’t restrict the use of technology to support learning simply because there isn’t a relevant statement in the DCF. Similarly, we will need to teach the IT curriculum in order to develop the relevant skills to be applied across the curriculum.
For any queries please contact Jane Grubb on firstname.lastname@example.org.