From December 12th to December 16th sixteen participants from the Train2Sustain partner countries Slovenia, Serbia, Greece and Austria, took part in the Learning Activity “Mentoring the Mentors”. The Learning activity was hosted by the Austrian NGO Art Mine and took place in Trofaiach, Austria. In this “Blended mobility of adult learners”, youth workers, teaching staff and CCI learned ways to deal with the rapidly changing demands and situations that have emerged since the Covid-19 pandemic. How can we teach people how to be creative online? How can we reach a wider audience using online tools? Above all, do we have the skills to move in the digital world, safely and adequately? Those were some of the questions the participants dealt with in this 5-day learning experience!
First, where to start when it comes to learning, working and teaching online? On an international and national level, a number of frameworks, self-assessment tools and training programmes have been developed to describe the facets of digital competence for educators and to help them assess their competence and identify their training needs. The content of this Learning Activity was based on the European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators (DigCompEdu). The real potential of digital technologies lies in shifting the focus of the teaching process from teacher-led to learner-centred processes. This, however, takes a lot of skills on the teaching and working side, which we wished to identify and increase.
The role of a digitally-competent educator is to be a mentor and guide for learners and online users in their progressively more autonomous learning endeavors. In this sense, digitally-competent educators need to be able to design new ways of learning and sharing, supported by digital technologies. At the same time, everyone in the field of youth needs to provide guidance and support to learners, individually and collectively. How can they do that? They need to be able to initiate, support and monitor both self-regulated and collaborative learning activities. Moreover, the educator and e-mentoring role in art and creativity take a particularly sensitive role in a digital context. Digital culture and creativity were one of the most heavily affected areas during the pandemic’s lockdown, while taking a key role in self-expression, mental health and cultural heritage.
The workshop leaders put their focus on teaching/mentoring in open and learner-centred learning settings aiming to empower the target groups. By using a diverse range of methods and self-reflection tools, non-formal learning setting and tailored self-created online methods and tools, the participants were able to learn more about how:
The workshops and activities were specially tailored for academic/educational/professional staff who work in cultural (heritage) education, education, art or culture. One prerequisite was that they are interested in upgrading their digital skills, measuring their current competences by DigCompEdu Framework and using its pedagogical and personal areas as indicators for learning. Indirectly affected are the participants’ organizations in their countries, as well as the people they work with and will work for in the future.
The results of “Mentoring the Mentors” are manifold and especially valuable for the target group. The main results were to increase: