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Inspiring European Citizenship through Educational Technology

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Project Description

This project targets a number of cross-sectoral European priorities such as social inclusion, open and innovative practices in a digital era and promoting the acquisition of skills and competences to inspire European Citizenship through the innovative use of digital technology, especially in Teacher Education where evidence indicates digital technology is used predominantly to prepare teaching resources rather than to transform citizenship teaching and learning. Building on the experience and expertise of the project partners in pedagogy, citizenship education and digital technologies, this project will produce a mobile learning toolkit and associated training resources/exemplars to support teacher educators, trainers, academics and teachers in changing their existing pedagogical practices in order to ensure educators are suitably qualified with 21st century skills in the imaginative and engaging use of digital technologies to help create a more inclusive European citizenship.

Relatively little empirical study has been undertaken to explore the degree to which academic staff in Universities and particularly those in Teacher Education are skilled in the imaginative use of digital technology to educate students in schools, colleges and universities in the challenging area of citizenship identity. Surveys of teachers in schools have consistently tended to reveal serious shortcomings in their ability to use digital technologies for learning in complex or sensitive areas with students. Despite this, innovations in digital technologies are increasingly used by young people and across society more widely for communication, the sharing of experience and social interaction and there is a growing concern that in many educational settings these technologies are not being similarly exploited but used to replicate rather than challenge existing pedagogical practices.

Over the last ten years Martin and other project partners in higher education, teacher education and training have explored the pedagogical and learning affordances of digital technologies and identified the key features and opportunities they offer for bringing about change in citizenship and social identity (Martin & Notari, 2017; Martin, 2016, 2014; Martin et al., 2015). The findings of this work show that there is a pressing need to provide a sound framework for practice and much greater guidance for Teacher Educators and teachers on how they can use such technologies to leverage pedagogical change. For these reasons the project’s main objectives are:

1. The development and wide dissemination of an imaginative digital learning toolkit for teachers and teacher educators in HE, schools and colleges to support them in assessing their current abilities to use/emerging digital technologies for teaching citizenship; to create an evaluation tool and pedagogical framework for planning the strategic implementation of such technologies, based soundly on their pedagogical affordances, resulting in changed pedagogical practices.

2. To illustrate innovative and successful practice in the use of new and emerging digital technology for European citizenship education through the creation of bespoke digital resources (e.g. an immersive virtual learning environment, sophisticated e-Books) and training materials (e.g. an online course) which will demonstrate more student centred and empowering approaches to learning.

3. To establish and sustain a transnational digital learning network for European Citizenship for teacher educators and other academics to support universities, schools and colleges and prepare for further national and international funding to expand the remit and research effectiveness of the network.

The project will create a range of exemplar resources to test the emerging toolkit, but the guidance materials which result will be applicable across a wide range of digital technologies to create a transversal project and additional value as described further in the application. Since the project is deliberately located across sectors (Universities, Teacher Education, Training, Colleges and Primary and Secondary schools) the benefits gained in any single location will be multiplied far beyond what would be likely in a single sector network.

The project is dedicated to enhancing participatory European citizenship informed by shared common values of democratic engagement and is urgently needed because the different contexts that exist across Europe mean that different locations and institutions may begin from different starting positions. This will especially apply when cultural, religious, and social parameters may apply differently and vary in strength and content and according to the age ranges in particular educational institutions. For these reasons it is essential that this project is carried out transnationally to capture more of the range of the citizenship parameters and contexts mentioned than is possible in a single national setting.

Type of Project Project
Project Acronym EUCiTEC
Status Project Live
Funder(s) European Commission
Value £124,681.00
Project Dates Oct 1, 2017 - Jul 31, 2021