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Digital Wellbeing Educators

Project: Research

Description

There is, by now, consistent evidence that using digital technologies in education has positive effects on learning outcomes. However, as HEIs we are also becoming aware of the collateral repercussions of digital overload and uncontrolled use of digital communications and social media, from the mental health of individual students, to societal impacts, such as the controversies surrounding free speech and radicalization.

The crux of the challenge is that access to digital media has outpaced our ability to guide its responsible use. Many teaching staff feel disadvantaged by having grown up in a pre-digital world, and yet are concerned with the wellbeing of their students and their ability to thrive in digital settings.

In response, Digital Wellbeing has a clear objective: increase the capacity of lecturers and teachers to integrate digital education in a way that promotes the digital wellbeing of students. Through building teacher capacity, the project will improve students’ abilities to manage their online time, make the most of digital learning, critically assess the media they consume and create, and become responsible, confident digital citizens.

We will achieve this by pursuing the following specific objectives:
- Identify and showcase innovative, participative approaches to developing digital wellbeing in education (IO1: Compendium of Best Practice)
- Upskill teachers in confident use of digital education, combining digital wellbeing with effective development of other digital competences (IO2: Digital Wellbeing Education OERs & APP)
- Develop a Digital Wellbeing App to be used as a stand-alone resource for students, and as an additional teacher resource to be used alongside the OERs(IO2: Digital Wellbeing Education OERs & APP) .
- Produce a Teachers’ Digital Pedagogy Toolkit to support teaching staff in developing their own digital competences and mainstreaming digital literacy skills in their teaching activities. (IO3)

The project involves the direct participation of 60 teachers, lecturers and 60 students in developing the Digital Wellbeing Educators’ framework and app, and a further 15 lecturers and teachers will take part in the Learning Activity in Ireland including information and orientation sessions using the project’s IOs, participatory group work and knowledge exchange and best practice visits.

The project is expected to have the following impact:
a) Teachers, lecturers and educators improve their understanding of the risks of social and digital media usage and use the resources to introduce more effective pedagogic strategies for teaching and assessing digital competences congruent with digital wellbeing.
b) HE Institutions, universities and colleges make commitments to contributing to not only digital competences, but digital wellbeing, of their students. In encouraging teachers to integrate digital wellbeing teaching into their programmes, institutions offer higher quality learning opportunities for students. Thus, they achieve a greater contribution to societal needs, and provide a more well-rounded civic and social education of value to society and students themselves.
c) Students make the most of digital learning and develop more critical thinking skills, enabling them to critically assess the media they consume and create. They achieve improved outcomes in terms of their academic achievement, social competences and active citizenship.

Overall the project is designed to contribute to a shift in understanding of the role of HEIs in contributing to digital wellbeing and the provision of well-rounded education that contributes to socially-responsible adults. By working with policy makers and stakeholders, the project will act as “proof of concept” that previously unexplored areas of digital competence can be taught effectively. Thus it will contribute to the Renewed EU agenda for Higher Education and feed into the ongoing development of the Digital Competence Framework for Digitally Competent Organisations.
Short titleDigital Wellbeing
AcronymDWE
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/09/1831/08/20

Funding

  • Erasmus+: £49,369.12