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Empirical testing of a theoretical model of digital competence

This study focuses on testing an innovative model of digital competence which is developed by the head of the research group DLC and published and cited in several international journals.

The introduction of ICT brings new opportunities, but at the same time presents many challenges for the teachers, who will have to cope with greater complexity in their everyday practice. Teachers’ practice builds on their own learning and teaching experiences, but when it comes to ICT and teaching they have to create conditions for learning that they themselves may never have encountered before. Another problem is that even today ICT is not incorporated properly in teacher education (NIFU/STEP, 2008) or in the national curriculum regulations for teacher education in Norway (UFD, 2003), and there is a danger of a gap between teachers’ education and the practices they encounter afterwards. On this backdrop, it is evident that the teacher must achieve a necessary digital competence in school of today. When we approach the narrower content of digital competence and what this means for learning in both physical and digital classrooms, the need for digitally competent teachers becomes even more apparent. Internationally a number of important contributions have been made towards the definition of digital literacy in recent years. Lanham (1995), Gilster (1997), Tyner (1998), Knobel (1999) Lankshear & Knobel (2003) and Buckingham (2003, 2006) have particularly contributed towards the concepts of computer literacy, media literacy and digital literacy. Despite the importance of these international contributions in providing a conceptual understanding of the terms, it is clear that not all of them can be easily transferred to the context of Norwegian schools and digital competence among Norwegian teachers under the new national curriculum. It is therefore important that attempts have been made to create a Norwegian understanding of complex digital competence in the light of the didactical circumstances in Norway. In an attempt to incorporate its implications for the individual teacher’s digital didactic, Krumsvik has developed a definition aimed at describing the digital competence of the teacher which is attached to the digital didactic: ‘Digital competence is the teacher’s proficiency in using ICT in a professional context with good didactic judgement and his or her awareness of its implications for learning strategies and the digital Bildung of pupils’(Krumsvik, 2007b, p. 74). This definition is attached to a model (Figure 5) which visualises this definition of teachers’ digital competence. The study aims to test this theoretical model empirically.

Research question: In what degree is the theoretical model of digital competence empirically valid for teachers in upper secondary school?

Design: The design of the study is mixed method design.