Working with JRC: ARS- SELFIE Strategic Approaches to Regional Transformation of Digital Education.

Since a little over a year ago, I directed a research project commissioned by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Union, in which we wanted to gain in-depth knowledge of the digital competence development plans of schools and teachers (mainly in primary and secondary education) in the different Spanish territories.

The aim of the research was to find out about the different approaches taken by the different Autonomous Communities – especially in terms of regulations or plans – to improve or transform the digital competence of schools; the structure of the plans, their design, organisation, how they have been inspired and, to what extent, whether or not they are related to the frameworks and tools developed by the JRC (SELFIE, SELFIE for teachers, DIGCOMP, DIGCOMPEDU, DIGCOMPORG, etc.). It was not an evaluative research, but to take advantage of the work already done in our Autonomous Communities to learn from the different experiences of our territories, understanding that each one is a good practice that we can tell and from which other territories within and outside the Union can draw inspiration.

The study is based on a compilation of deep interviews with the government officials of each Spanish territory – commissioned by each Autonomous Community with the exception of Andalusia and Galicia which we know that, although they wanted to help us, it was materially impossible to do so – and, of course, an interview with the director of INTEF. From these interviews, a case is presented for each region using a narrative and visual approach.

This research has resulted in a report that the JRC has elevated to Science for Policy Report status, which has recently been published by the Union and which we can now share:

Castañeda, Linda, Virginia Viñoles-Cosentino, Ana Yara Postigo-Fuentes, Cesar Herrero, and Romina Cachia. 2023. Strategic Approaches to Regional Transformation of Digital Education. Science for Policy Report JRC134282. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. JCR SCIENCE FOR POLICY REPORT.

This report highlights the importance of DigCompEdu as a framework that goes beyond the instrumental view of the digital transformation of education, helping institutions to anticipate, design and structure it. SELFIE is seen as a fundamental tool for school awareness and digital planning. Furthermore, the results consolidate the evidence of diverse approaches to digital transformation, especially considering the context of Spain, where the competence of education is at the regional level. Finally, in the report we present policy recommendations based on the results found in this study.

Once the report has been published, we will soon start to disseminate the results, which I will surely tell you about.

In addition to making this work available to you, I would like to publicly acknowledge the efforts of the people who have collaborated with us in this research:

First of all, I would like to thank the people who collaborated with us from each of the ACs. Thank you for opening one or more spaces of your time at such a complicated time and with such an impressive workload as the beginning of the 22-23 school year. We remain at your disposal, and we hope that all your efforts will be properly reflected in the digital transformation of your territories.

Thanks to Cesar Herrero and Romina Cachia, from the JRC, who have been extraordinary research partners, for doing a truly remarkable job and for helping us a lot in achieving this effort in a rigorous and endearing way. Thank you for trusting me for this effort. Thanks also to the entire JRC team for their contributions to the work.

Thank you Natalia Lobato for taking care of the visual part of this work (the infographics). That visual perspective of each of the cases I think helps us a lot to re-look at the research and your hand as an artist and designer has been a gift.

Finally, thanks to my team: Virginia Viñoles Consentino and Ana Yara Postigo-Fuentes who have been extraordinary colleagues and who have made it possible for this research to be what it is. They are two sure values in educational research with an spectacular projection and work capacity, and they are also two good friends. Thank you for coming on board.

It was my first time working for the JRC and I confess that the imposter syndrome is still with me every step of the way. I have learned a lot from this whole process and from all the facets involved (digital competence, educational policy, Spain and its particularities, qualitative research, project management, communication, digital transformation in education… and much more). I am honoured and proud of the work and I sincerely hope that the result will be interesting and useful for those who read it.

Addenda: Convencidas de que este trabajo tiene mucho interés en el ámbito latinoamericano, hemos deicido hacer una versión en castellano de la publicación que está abierta y disponible en:  el enlace permanente del repositorio de mi universidad es


High Level Group of Education and Training Meeting

In May, during my participation in a conference in Barcelona (EDuTech Cluster Conference) I was asked by the Ministry of Education and in particular by Acción Educativa Exterior to participate as a Speaker for the EU High Level Group on education and training in the first event of the Spanish presidency of the European Council.

This meeting (Jerez de la Frontera, 29 June 2023) was the first event prior to the start of the Spanish presidency of the EU and focused on two fundamental issues: European values and digital transformation. For this reason, they asked two people: a German colleague who gave a presentation on artificial intelligence and values, and myself, who gave a presentation on the digital transformation of the classroom, to participate with papers for the discussion.

The ministry asked me for a vision of what the research says about the integration of technology in the classroom, trying to overcome the more catastrophic or naive views of transformation, but always based on research. It was 25 minutes of presentation and 1 hour of conversation with the members of the High Level Group. Here is my full slide presentation (there are many slides that I skipped due to time constraints)

2023 Higher Level Group of Education and Training from Linda Castañeda

Most of the elements are familiar to those of you who have read my work, basically because I don’t pretend to invent the wheel and because I think it is worth trying to be coherent in my discourse. Moreover, much of it is precisely the result of the research I have carried out over the years (here is the list of bibliography that I also referred to .

The truth is that it is probably the most intimidating experience I have had in terms of responsibility and protocol, but it was also a fantastic moment to be able to contribute in some way to a debate that goes beyond my immediate context and before an audience that has a lot of work to do and that expects your speech to be of some use to them… I have learned a lot doing it, preparing it, eating nerves, and being there.

As I said in the chronicle I made of this moment on Instagram (Instagram video only in Spanish ), I think it went well, I feel honoured and proud, I sincerely hope at least I have not given ideas to make the European policy of digital transformation in education worse and I have contributed in some way to this debate. So far, I have learned a lot.


Digital Teacher Framework (validation 1)

This October an article has been published in which we take one of the first steps to validate the teaching competence model for the digital world. In this article we translate the original framework (which was justified and proposed by Francesc Esteve, Jordi Adell and myself in two articles in 2018) into English and we also propose a first step in its validation with the good fortune that Professor Sarah Prestridge, from Griffith University, joined our team.

Castañeda, Linda, Francesc Marc Esteve-Mon, Jordi Adell, and Sarah Prestridge. (2021). ‘International Insights about a Holistic Model of Teaching Competence for a Digital Era: The Digital Teacher Framework Reviewed’. European Journal of Teacher Education 0 (0). Routledge: 1–20. Post-print abierto y disponible AQUÍ. 2021_EJTE_Postprint

This validation involved primary and secondary teachers from three different international contexts (Uruguay, Australia and Spain), who were asked about each of the components we proposed in 2018 (Generator and manager of emerging pedagogical practices; Expert in digital pedagogical content; Augmented reflective practitioner; Expert in enriched personal and organisational learning environments; Sensitive to the use of technology from the perspective of social engagement and Able to use technology to expand their relationship with the student’s family and environment). We asked these individuals about their understanding of each of these elements, their views on the relevance of these elements to their teaching and the extent to which they believe they have scope in their school to develop innovative practices related to that element of the model.

The responses were frankly interesting and are explained in the text. As a result of these contributions, and the analysis of them, we not only validated the 6 original elements of the model, but we grouped the elements two by two into three categories that you can see in the following illustration:

There are many more things to work on in this framework… we believe that the framework itself is an opportunity for conversation about what really matters when we talk about teaching at a time like the present, and for that reason alone it is worthwhile. I think we can learn a lot along the way, and we sincerely hope that you will find it interesting to analyse it, or to read some of the work we do on it…

If you want to see the antecedents of the model you can find them in these two publications (only in Spanish I’m afraid):