The internet as a cross-cutting resource: beyond technology and IT

27 April 2020
Webs amb recursos transversals

This article initially proposes a challenge. We won’t give anything away, but what we can say is that the results usually surprise teachers, even those in the field of technology itself.

Let us propose a challenge before continuing with this article:

If you’re up for it, we’d like to ask you to compare the basic skills and key contents of the digital field in obligatory primary and secondary education and identify:

• Which skills and contents are the same or equivalent in primary and secondary education?

• How many explicit references to website development can be found in the key contents?

• How many key contents from the two levels do you think can be worked on through website development?

Going yet further and analysing the methodological approaches of the digital field, we see that a cross-cutting approach is mentioned, along with the effective use applied to the guided solving of problematic situations, simulations, research and testing of different situations, implementation based on actual needs, etc.

This challenge-exercise and its results have been used to design –and to introduce– the permanent teacher training course “wapps .cat project: website creation in Catalan” organised by the Rovira i Virgili University since 2018 through its URV Divulga division, and taught in collaboration with the .cat Foundation within the framework of the STEM Partnership.

The course has the dual goal of providing training in technology and promoting the use of Catalan on the internet through website creation. Lasting for 20 hours, it is aimed at teachers from the STEM areas, humanities and social sciences in primary schools, secondary schools, sixth-form colleges and intermediate and advanced vocational training centres interested in receiving practical training on website creation as a cross-cutting resource in their subjects to work on projects, analysis or research work, or communicate results, etc.

The work is eminently practical. The training sessions introduce contents related to the type of website, content management systems –WordPress–, support tools, universal design for learning, security criteria and measures, and rights regarding internet contents and privacy. The competition by the .cat Foundation, wapps .cat, is used for the practical part as a motivational resource. The participating teachers will be asked to encourage students from one or more classes to work in teams to create an actual website and to sign up for the competition. This is supported by on-line preparatory sessions, remote teacher monitoring and support; and the issue of a free domain and server package to students from the .cat Foundation. The idea is for the websites developed to meet a tangible need of the establishments in terms of continuity and real utility. The aim is to integrate the service into the academic community and education to promote the social impact and scope of the activity.

The course remains active and improvements are made every year. It has been praised very highly by participants. An average 85% think that the course is very good or good, and 76% think that the course has prepared them to help students create websites.

The course has been given in Camp de Tarragona, Terres de l’Ebre; Segrià, Gironès and Alt Penedès, with 58 teachers from 43 educational establishments taking part. The plan is to reach Barcelona, Vallès, Majorca and Valencia during the 2020-21 school year through their respective Educational Resource Centres (CRP) or Education Services.

For more information write to urvdivulga@urv.cat

You will find more articles related to digital skills at fundació.cat/competenciesdigitals

Carles Lozano
URV Divulga, Rovira i Virgili University