Output 1 of the Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development (ISPFTED) 2011-2025 calls for individual and systemic teacher development needs to be identified and addressed. It’s with this background that the DBE developed the Professional Development Framework for Digital Learning (PDFDL), supported by a digital learning self-assessment tool which links teachers’ professional development needs with endorsed courses. The DBE hosted a workshop for course providers of digital learning in Johannesburg on 17 July 2018, to introduce the Framework and explain the tools used to establish the alignment of their courses with digital learning competencies.
The aim of the Framework is to define professional development for digital learning in an education system that seeks to improve access, quality, equity, redress and efficiency. The Framework aims to facilitate the development of educators’ digital learning competencies in order to enhance teaching and learning.
A key understanding of the Framework is that mere access to digital tools and resources is meaningless unless the opportunities of that access are known, valued and put into practice. This implies not only an awareness of what those opportunities are, but a realisation that new approaches to teaching and learning could reap rewards. “Digital learning is an environment where teaching is transformed and where learning is an ongoing, creative process. This requires a changing teaching and learning methodology where teachers and learners will have to access high quality, relevant and diverse resources; communicating and collaborating; and creating and presenting new knowledge”, said workshop facilitator and DBE Deputy Director for LTSM Policy Development and Innovation, Mr Gerald Roos.
The real value of the Framework lies in developing teachers who are able to gain a clear understanding of how digital tools and resources can be used to support the attainment of educational outcomes. In order to achieve this, Provincial Departments of Education have been asked to establish Provincial Core Training Teams (PCTTs). Director for LTSM Policy Development and Innovation, Ms Kulula Manona, said that, “Our aim is to ensure that the PCTTs, as the custodians of driving digital learning within the province are best equipped to navigate this ship through both calm and troubled waters”.
The PDFDL roadshows will continue across the country as the Department seeks to ensure that provincial facilitators are well-prepared to introduce the self-assessment tool and digital learning competencies to teachers. Teachers will participate in professional learning communities to develop skills and knowledge bases to use these resources within the classroom.