DigiKid project challenges conventional digital pre-school education
A new Strategic Partnership Erasmus+ project aspires in two years to change the status quo of digital pre-school education in four EU countries and share the project outcomes with colleagues inside and outside the EU.
The year 2020 considerably changed our lifestyle, outlook, and communicational strategies. Today, we can hardly find a person who has remained unaffected by COVID-19. Work and studies have been pushed into the Internet environment, and our homes have become offices and classrooms, while face-to-face communication has decreased.
The introduction of novel styles of education was difficult both for teachers and students of all ages, but sometimes parents had to face even bigger challenges. They had to balance between their full-time jobs and the new duties of full-time home teachers. As a result, parents often suffered from distress and sometimes even had to quit their jobs to teach the offspring. It was mostly because pre-and primary school children were not ready to study online independently and to cope with the technology.
This prolonged C-19 pandemic inspired four universities and three kindergartens from Estonia, Germany, Slovenia, and Latvia to form a partnership under the umbrella of Erasmus+ to find a solution to the current situation. The EU-funded project entitled “Developing Teachers’ Skills to Educate Pre-School Children with and Through Digital Technologies” (DigiKid) will run for 2 years (1.03.2021-28.02.2023) and aims to achieve the following:
- to share available experiences in the field of digital education in preschool;
- to survey kindergarten and primary school parents and teachers about the available and missing skills and abilities of their children and pupils in dealing with digital media;
- to develop a BA course, a professional development course, and a multilingual open-source MOOC for current and future kindergarten teachers.
- to bridge the gap available in digital pre-school education not only in the partner countries with the help of the course “Development of Digital Competences in Pre-School Education” but also worldwide through a MOOC (massive open online course);
- to host multiple dissemination events to share the project results with the target and interested audiences.
The digitalization of education has been conquering the world for years. Despite its rapid diffusion and convenience, it is often, if not always, taken for granted by the authorities that the students can intuitively develop their digital skills and become active online learners just because they were born in the Internet era. The DigiKid project intends to challenge this assumption. In our partnership, we believe that the joint forces will help to wisely instruct the present and future teachers on how to develop children’s digital competence at a young age, improve communicative and critical thinking skills of the youngest generation, prepare them for the more digital life of tomorrow, switch them from being the passive consumers of digital entertainment technologies into becoming active and critical users of digital educational opportunities. In the long run, we expect that the project will considerably reduce the stress that children, teachers, and parents suffer in times of lockdowns or prolonged illnesses. Consequently, we believe that it will also positively affect the social and psychological well-being of the community in general.
Total budget: 253 324 EUR
University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia (lead partner)
University of Education, Heidelberg, Germany
University of Primorska, Koper, Slovenia
University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia, project coordinator professor Indra Odina
Rakvere Rohuaia Kindergarten, Rakvere, Estonia
Javni vzgojno-izobraževalni zavod Vrtec Koper, Koper, Slovenia
Privata pirmsskola CreaKids, Riga, Latvia (Daina Kajina)