During September-October 2021, following a similar format to the successful 2BDigital Business Breakfast several Educators Cafés were developed and hosted in the different Project Countries, and at European level, with participation from 80 educators. These sessions started with speed networking to allow participants to get to know each other, their roles, and contexts. An overview of the Project objectives was presented and a ‘hive mind’ exercise undertaken to identify the most important competences used in the educators’ practice, and their needs for teaching online, and those competences that students need the most in order to better perform in online learning environments and which they would need to improve. The proposed framework was shared for comments and feedback and a supporting survey was shared to record thoughts and recommendations.
Participation in the Educators Café series was as follows: Croatia (24 attendees representing 15 VET centres), Latvia (10 attendees, representing 7 VET centres, 3 colleges offering vocational programmes, Spain (29 attendees, representing 4 VET centres, as well as several organisations implementing youth and NEET training programs, European level (18 participants working in VET and in NEET training).
The 2BDigital Educators Cafés were participative and collaborative spaces where very rich feedback was received, observing many common conclusions from educators in different countries.
Among the most important competences mentioned by participants were the need for enhanced student communication, collaboration, self-knowledge and self-confidence, motivation, creativity and critical thinking, planning and organisation, and autonomous learning and initiative which was seen as a very crucial factor affecting the success of the distance learning. Digital skills and skills for collaboration and team working online as well as the ability to select, use and meaningfully apply varied digital tools were mentioned as important for improved online training.
Educators stressed the importance of a need to further promote teamwork and collaboration, resilience to change, and creativity and communication to be able to inspire students, as priority competences in their respective teaching areas. In response to their own professional development needs, the teachers mentioned the need for additional training on digital tools, online technologies, methods for effective student engagement in online learning and equipment and technical support.
2BDigital Framework was then introduced receiving general positive feedback from educators in all countries, seeing it as an all-encompassing framework with the competences included being relevant in the current teaching and learning context. The competences were then analysed individually, to understand if any were confusing, too general, or too narrow, or lacked anything.
Comments received from the educators also highlighted the importance to keep the framework simple, with clear definitions of each category and competence, and also on the need of support, training or teaching guidelines to develop these competences for teaching in a digital environment.
The 2BDigital project team would like to thank all participants for their valuable contributions to the sessions, and in helping shape the framework.