ERG SES H 08, Technology and Education
The following is a summary of the most relevant aspects of the dissertation "Personal Learning Network and students Digital Competence in compulsory education”.
The general objective of this thesis is to define and analyze the influence that peer group has in digital competence that individuals possess and use in their daily lives.
This general objective is set out in the specific objectives:
· Identify the level of digital competence of 12-year-old children.
· Determine the importance of the peer group in the development of digital competence in children.
· Analyze digital competence construction mediated by the peer group throughout the biography of children in compulsory education.
The importance of this study is in relation to the increase of interest on the informal educational contexts produced in recent years. This issue is evidenced by authors such as Coffield (2000) or Sangrà & Wheeler (2013) who emphasize the relevance of learning in order to create educational environments that satisfy the social needs, in response and adaptation to the new conditions established by the society. Cuadros Muñoz (2015) also gives relevance at the “learning that is develops beyond the closed space of the educational center and bets to create Environments and Personal Learning Network (PLE and PLN, respectively)” (p.2). According to Castañeda and Adell (2013) these spaces are emerging because of the training needs and individual interests, ensuring an individualized methodology.
Personal Learning Network, both virtual and face-to-face, will represent the social environment, as " a set of connections between people and resources - online and offline - that enrich our learning "(Richardson and Mancabelli, 2011, p.2) or in Couros (2010) words “the sum of all social capital and the connections that result in the development and facilitation of a personal environment of learning" (p.25). It is important to investigate these spaces and their characteristics, in order to determine their real influence on children digital competence.
On the other hand, it is necessary to highlight the importance given to digital competence (DC) in our days. In addition to develop the capacity to take advantage the new possibilities associated to technologies, DC allows participate in a significant way in the society of the 21st century. The OECD (2014) foresees that technologies will continue being a key aspect in job creation and assumes the development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills as the most important strategy for economic recovery policies. Since 2000, this organization emphasized the importance of certain competencies based on the model of development supported by Internet. At first the attention was focused on the infrastructures and people´s access to ICT, that is, the possibility/difficulty of having devices connected to Internet. Later, the focus was to develop capacities and skills needed for the use of ICT. It´s important, therefore, to look into this last aspect, in order to determine the level of DC of individuals.
The development of the DC goes beyond a specific environment or a particular tool, especially for the opportunities offered by Internet. As previously mentioned, the PLE and PLN acquire relevance as heterogeneous, plural and dynamic spaces. They are a great possibility to ensure the digital competence development of the entire population - regardless of their age-, as well as generate an attitude of motivation and participation towards Lifelong-Learning.
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