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 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gOiEZvqRQmKbe6hsdPAMv6qOp1H3nETpYDtnkBUS0UY/edit?usp=sharing) .

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 https://www.instagram.com/reel/CucdHG2uuVK/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA== ), 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.


Students’Task: A Podcast about The Hour of Coding

Computational thinking and developments in educational robotics are part of the content of the subject I work on with students in the first year of the degree in primary education. However, this year, due to the working conditions with the students (blended learning and express prohibition of any kind of physical interaction or exchange of materials in the face-to-face sessions), it was difficult for me to think about how to get them to explore the subject, to see its possibilities and not just a “theoretical” approach to the issue.

So I decided to propose as a weekly task an exploration of the activities of The Hour of Code, a project that is helping teachers all over the world to get introduced to coding as an introduction to Computational Thinking. My proposal (which is framed in the group working conditions, by performance roles that some of you already know) included that they should:

  • try at least three activities from https://hourofcode.com/us/gb/learn. Choose the three of them from those classified on Grades 2 to 5. Choose at least one to be used on Poor or not internet conditions, and another with NO computers or devices; the third one do not have more requirements.
  • Collecting evidences of the process and document the experience in your performance blog.
  • Answer some questions such as: What level would be appropriate for this? What is(are) the objective(s) of this task follow the Bloom Taxonomy? What content/standard from the curriculum would be suitable to be developed with this activity? What is the added value of using digital tools in this case? What ethical problems could you (or your students or the parents) find doing this activity in the classroom? What changes do you need to make to allow your students to do it from home?

All the weekly assignments we do in class are presented to the rest of the class members in big group sessions so that we can receive feedback and also learn from each other’s work, but we try to do each of these presentations in a format that is also set up as subject content. So, this time we tried something different, I asked the groups to create, during the class period (and without any prior training), a podcast about their experience.

When I gave them the instructions for the assignment I told them that they should make a podcast in class but I did not tell them the conditions of the content. The same day of the class, I gave them the conditions which were that they should create a radio programme (in the audio tool -podcast or audio, social network- of their choice) and that this programme should tell the story of the assignment and must include:

  • Welcome and goodbye clips
  • An advertisement for the Webpage “The Hour of Code.”
  • Two main clips:
    • Interview regarding the experience
    • A story about your experience
  • A reflection about the importance of using this kind of activities in the classroom.

The complete duration of the radio program can not exceed 15 minutes and must be of mínimum 8 minutes.

You already know that I am a big fan of my students, so I want to share with you the artifacts they have presented, not only because I have been surprised by their self-confidence and good work, but also because the content of the reflections of my students has pleasantly surprised me (I insist that they are works made in less than 2 hours of work and WITHOUT previous experience in podcasting).

Here you have got some of them to listen to ;-):

Click on the pictures to listen to the podcasts 😉

Congrats to my students!! I’m very proud of you!!

At the end of the course, I’ll publish all the task guides that I have used this year.

The CUTE Project

Since October 2019, I have had the opportunity to be the contact person for the CUTE Project “Competencies for Universities – using Technology in Education” (ERASMUS+: Strategic Partnership KA203-867FE04B) at the University of Murcia and to have as associate partners in Spain none other than INTEF (National Institute of Educational Technology and Teacher Training). We are working hard (and having fun) and I wanted to have the opportunity to present you the project of which you have all the information on the website https://cute.ku.dk (also in Spanish).

Hope you find it interesting!