Recently, Moodle HQ was invited to attend the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week Conference in Paris from 26 – 30 March.
Education team members Bob McDonald and Solange Lalonde was selected out of hundreds of applicants to present under the sub-theme of: Defining and Mainstreaming Digital Skills which addresses the following topics:
- the imperative to define digital skills that have relevance in local and global contexts and to integrate them in a coherent way throughout formal and non-formal education, training systems, and capacity development initiatives; and
- the challenge to define a set of essential digital skills or competencies that all students or adult learners should develop while ensuring that they are applicable to the diverse circumstances and contexts where learners need to use them.
But let’s now touch base with them to see what happened at UNESCO, how Moodle was presented and what they learnt to assist us in our work to empower educators to improve our world.
Moodle HQ: Thanks Bob and Solange for taking the time to chat to us after your visit to UNESCO.
Can you summarise again for us what Moodle’s involvement was for UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week Conference?
Bob/Solange: First, we want to thank Martin Dougiamas and Tom Murdock for their support. UNESCO selected Moodle to be one of 17 organizations (out of 500) to present a workshop on digital learning skills at UNESCO’s flagship conference – Mobile Learning Week.
In our standing-room only session, Solange and I presented how the new Moodle Educator Certification (MEC) Program empowers teachers and learners to master essential digital competencies identified by UNESCO and the European Union. We also showed how Moodle’s open-source learning platform and Mobile App provide a vital link to learning resources in places where connectivity is limited.
In addition to presenting a workshop, Moodle participated in a day-long Policy Forum and a half-day Strategy Lab. The Policy Forum addressed pathways for mapping out digital skills and closing the digital skill divide. As a platform for sharing global experiences, issues such as replicability, scalability, equity, and inclusion were highlighted throughout the day. Much of the dialogue focused on the need for new paradigms and innovative ways to approach training where digital skills are developed in context to the learning environment.
Moodle also received an invitation to attend a digital learning Strategy Lab led by the International Telecommunications Union and the Digital Impact Alliance. Martin’s message about globally-oriented, environmentally aware and caring citizens inspired deep consideration and conversation throughout the session. Martin and Solange shared how Moodle addresses priority areas of UNESCO’s sustainable development goal on Quality Education. It is encouraging to consider how Moodle’s mission and the design of the MEC Program aligns with this global call for inspired learning and empowering educators.
Moodle HQ: What are some of the key learnings around digital skills and learning that you discovered from the conference?
Bob/Solange: In our workshop, we presented how Moodle’s new Moodle Educator Certification curriculum empowers teachers and learners to develop essential digital competencies. We also presented on how Moodle’s platform, and specifically the Moodle Mobile App, provides the vehicle for those learners to access to learning content. In discussing the Moodle platform with NGOs and UNESCO staff, the following key learnings about Moodle were recurring:
- Moodle is widely-recognized by UNESCO member states, NGOs and teachers across the globe as the backbone platform for delivering learning at scale.
- Moodle’s mobile app is a “game changer” in the developing world by allowing learners to overcome challenges associated with intermittent internet connectivity.
- Moodle is strategically positioned with Moodle’s open-source platform, our MEC program, Mobile App and MoodleCloud to meet the demand and challenges for providing learning opportunities for billions of learners in developing nations.
Moodle HQ: Why do you think it was important for Moodle to be part of UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Conference?
Bob/Solange: There was a resounding call from UNESCO community for rethinking the way we work together and the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration. The global development community looks to Moodle as a leader in opening educational opportunities for all learners.
Moodle’s presence at MLW was important because it affirmed Moodle HQ’s commitment to global education efforts. Equally important, we heard about how Moodle is being used in innovative ways by dozens of countries to meet specific, local learning goals. We were very much inspired by the work organisations do with Moodle.
Moodle HQ: Where to next after this conference? How will the information you’ve discovered, contacts you’ve made and opportunities that showed up assist in furthering Moodle’s mobile development?
Bob/Solange: The people we met at Mobile Learning Week were eager to show us how they used Moodle and the Mobile App. They also provided excellent feedback on the features and capabilities they want to see added to the Mobile App support both teachers and learners in their countries. As far as where to next, we are excited to support the South African Moot and we are also exploring option for presenting at other influential eLearning conferences in the rapidly developing areas of the world.
As education policies around the world continue to reflect the digital transformation and the increasingly online and mobile world we live in, Moodle’s focus on empowering educators..
Thanks Bob and Solange for the overview of Moodle at UNESCO.
Stay tuned for more updates on how we will use our takeaway from UNESCO to improve our Moodle Mobile app and our commitment to providing quality education.