Digital pedagogy practices in education
PODGORICA, 23 November 2018 – Teachers from “Štampar Makarije” Primary School, who teach children aged 9–11, have undertaken a five-day training programme focusing on the basics of digital pedagogy. The goal of the training, which is part of the pilot initiative “Digital Safety for Every Child” implemented by the Ministry of Education with the support of UNICEF and Telenor, is to introduce teachers to the use of digital technologies in teaching. The training focuses on video production, based on written texts that children work on in the context of the regular teaching process.
The training was delivered by Ida Cortoni, a professor from the Sapienza University of Rome. She points out that digital technologies do not solve learning problems, they can never replace teachers, nor can they take over the role of other learning materials, such as books. However, digital technologies are one more means of supporting the learning processes of children and young people in the digital age.
“The Italian Ministry of Education has been implementing its national digital education plan over the past few years. This plan includes organizing training programmes for teachers, as well as various initiatives to develop students’ digital skills, working on developing digital pedagogy resources and online platforms for teachers, and introducing administrative digital solutions for schools. For example, during 2016, the Sapienza University of Rome conducted an experiment of introducing tablet computers into kindergartens. So, we are talking about children aged 0–6. In this case, the goal was not to have the tablet computer take over the role of educator, but to become part of the traditional teaching methods,” explains Professor Cortoni.
She is glad that this initiative is taking place in Montenegro, and that she has had the opportunity to share her experience with teachers in our country.
The training carried out in Montenegro has already been successfully implemented with teachers in Italy. The reactions varied, but not to a large extent, because there will always be a fear among teachers of the new and unknown, which will partially change the traditional teaching methods.
Teachers from “Štampar Makarije” Primary School showed great enthusiasm when it comes to adopting new digital teaching skills.
“This project merges technological progress and classical education and appears to be of great importance to younger generations, who will be able to demonstrate certain knowledge from teaching subjects through play and experimentation, as well as recording, editing and making short videos, so-called trailers,” says Novak Maltez, who is a class teacher.
A Montenegrin language teacher, Jelena Begović, already has ideas on how these methods can be used in teaching Montenegrin.
“I find them practical. They can be used in different ways, whether we are talking about novels or works of literature from the obligatory reading list that we do at school, such as some passages from literary works. I believe that the children’s responses will be even better than the adults’ ones, because these technologies are more familiar to them and we have had the opportunity during the classes to see how they work when asked to do something in the group – they act and try things out, recording themselves with their cameras, so I know for sure that they react positively to these things,” explains Begović.
Her colleague, Rajko Vušković, who is an information technology teacher, also thinks that the new methods will be positively received by children.
“Experts say that this visual impression is very important for children, helping them to better acquire the course material,” Vušković states.
Music culture teacher, Jelena Vukotić, emphasizes that the methods of digital pedagogy allow the children to learn course materials from several subjects simultaneously.
What seems to be particularly useful when it comes to this project is that the teaching subjects have been, in a way, correlated – history, literature, music culture and, of course, information technology.
The pilot initiative for the introduction of digital pedagogy was motivated by the findings from UNICEF research that took place in 2016, which showed that one in five parents and one in ten children in Montenegro did not use the internet, and that every second parent expressed a wish to receive support from the children’s school in terms of information on how to help them become digital- and media-literate.