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eCompetencies in new Zealand: A teacher's journey

This was contributed by Kellie McRobert, Nayland Primary School and originally posted by Simon Evans on 29 Oct 2012. This is cross-posted as part of the transition of Software for Learning to Enabling e-Learning.

A variety of keynote speakers in the last few years have been heard saying that the rates of change in technology are far superior to the rates of change in education; that we have moved through the analogue, digital and connected learning and are now moving towards ubiquitous learning (Derek Wenmoth 2009); and that we have moved from a book based paradigm to an internet based paradigm (Mark Treadwell 2009).

They spoke of exponential growth in the ‘technology of education’. We need to be looking for ways to use this technology effectively for the future of our students. If the changes we make today won’t have any effect on society for up to 13 years, then how can we teach the way we were taught in and expect our students to manage the world they are living in?

Educators and researchers have identified that the impact of ICTs in the classroom can be very low depending on a number of factors such as delivery, support, authenticity of purpose and infrastructure. So, who is developing the future?

In 2000, the Lisbon Agreement recognised that the future is a knowledge based society, and challenged the European Union to become “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs, and greater social cohesion” by 2010. They held their eSkills conference in 2010 and recognised that they still need increased purposeful use of ICTs in the classroom. And this is a country that was trying to do exactly that for over 10 years!

Dr Christobal Cobo Romani has done research for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) and in his paper  
“Strategies to Promote the Development of E-competencies in the Next Generation of Professionals:  European and International Trends”  Monograph No.13 November 2009
He has identified what he thinks is one way to develop the implementation of ICT tools effectively with our students using e-Competencies.
When I looked into this research I found that the concept was very succinct.
eLearning is broken down into 5 competencies (so straight away the structure fits with our understanding of the Key Competencies).
The eCompetencies are;

  • eAwareness (understanding and awareness of ICT, Digital Citizenship, inclusion)
  • Technological Literacy (confident and critical operation of ICT -using the tools)
  • Media Literacy (understanding new media landscape and the implications of this)
  • Digital Literacy (integrating information and critical thinking to create, adapt and share in multiple formats)
  • Informational Literacy (assess accuracy of information, understand and use information from multiple formats)

Each of these areas can be broken down further to really tease them out (for more information visit http://ecompetencies.wikispaces.com/).

The eCompetencies cover creative and critical thinking. They allow us to ensure that our students are getting a depth of understanding. I liken this to the asTTle writing matrix; these are the Deeper Features of eLearning. This is bigger than using pre-prescribed interactive activities and calling it eLearning!

One aspect of this research led me to link the eCompetencies to the New Zealand Key Competencies. My colleague Karilyn Cribb and I developed a planning rubric to ensure depth of coverage of the eCompetencies and Key Competencies in a range of contexts.
Enabling the 21st Century Learner states “ICTs will be an economic and social necessity therefore eLearning can give students much greater control over their own learning experiences by linking to the development of the Key competencies.”
This planning tool could ensure lessons cover  both personal and digital skills necessary for the future of today’s students. It is supported by practical applications of the eCompetencies to give teachers ideas and tools to integrate the eCompetencies into their programme.


  • Gerard Macmanus

    Its rather interesting that there seems to be two areas that have been left out that are now in the news, especially around 21st century learning.

    One is computational thinking, the other is coding. 

    Not only do students need creative and critical thinking, they also need to be able to solve in a way that incorportaes technologies.

    WIth the US working through a CS Education week, code.org is a great way to get students looking at how to solve problems through coding. Students are going to need this more through the years.