EPODS supports teachers/trainers in Second Chance Education in their continuous professional development. It assists these educators to set their own development goals, take courses and monitor their progress. In this way, the EPODS online professional development services enable teachers/trainers to maintain the high level of support to learners. E-learning courses and an e-learning creation tool further support the accessible and continuous learning of teachers/trainers.
Background and Overview
In 2014 the DIgital Second Chance Opportunities (DISCO) Consortium was established with support funding from Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership as digital technology and education are evolving at an increasingly rapid pace, both separately and together. For example, there have been significant developments in new digital technology platforms such as mobile technologies, cloud computing, social media, open educational resources (OERs), free and open-source software (FOSS), as well as the associated hardware (e.g. mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, interactive whiteboards). Opportunities and demands of globalisation and technology are fuelling transformations of educational practices and school infrastructure quickly t. The evolution of educational systems and digital technology also provide additional challenges to framing our perspectives, including the emergence of virtual and networked schools that share courses and programmes within countries and across regions (Davis, Eickelmann & Zaka 2013).
Utilising these technological advancements to support good-quality training and reflective professional development are fast becoming essential parts of a teacher’s professional life. Supporting teachers in their professional development leads to improved outcomes for teachers, trainers and learners alike. In former projects many good tools were developed with great enthusiasm and piloted in the area of second chance education that supported teachers to become more confident, responsible, reflective, innovative and engaged. The tools include competence cards, quality cycles, assessment software, evaluation methods, mobility practices, teaching programmes and mentor trainings alongside a number of other tools that supports the education and employability for the NEET-group in Europe.
In 2014 the Digital Second Chance Opportunities (DISCO) project began building the foundations of an online European infrastructure framework in second chance education. Now it is time to go a step further by moving DISCO onto the next level of development in terms of its content and service delivery.
The online European infrastructure in second chance education will be built on three pillars: 1. SERVICES: under the SERVICES-umbrella existing quality tools will be made available and continuously upgraded. These quality tools are partly developed for a) quality assurance of international placements b) online community building c) quality assurance of educational organisations and d) good practice testing. 2. RESOURCES: under the RESOURCES-umbrella existing good practices/resources will be made available. Curricula, methodologies, teaser practices, studies and other tools will be provided as a “pick-of-the-shelve”-concept. 3. TRAININGS: under the TRAININGS-umbrella training offers and demands are connected.
In E-PODS focus is put on the elements of resources and trainings in secondchanceeducation.eu. These two elements will be further developed for teachers/trainers working in second chance education.
EPODS will focus on two objectives:
- To promote European integration of professional development of teachers/trainers in second chance education
- To set up an organic / growing database connecting tools, schools, teachers/trainers and beneficiaries
EPODS will be a European wide sustainable offer for teachers/trainers in second chance education. Local/national developments and networks will be integrated on a European scale offering innovation/digitalizing in further education of trainers/teachers working with NEET. EPODS will have as output and activities:
- Development of a European professional development service:
- Vitalise the online teacher/trainer community via providing e-content for teacher/trainers and webinars.
- Development of at least 10 e-learning courses for the current professional development offers on secondeducation.eu.
- Development of a tool to create your own e-learning course
EPODS & Europe2020
EPODS targets three out of five objectives of the Europe2020-strategy:
- EU2020: 75% of the 20-64 year-olds to be employed (now youth unemployment over 25%): EPODS increases employment opportunities for youngsters at risk by offering e-learning tools and connecting experiences to their trainers/teachers.
- EU2020: Reducing school drop-out rates below 10% (now 15,3%) and at least 40% of 30-34–year-olds completing third level education: EPODS invests, indirectly via teachers/trainers, in a vulnerable target group, who is at the highest risk of drop out and has the lowest chances in completing third level education.
- EU2020: at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion: EPODS offers concrete opportunities and develops tools for teaching and training in a community and network based integrated environment to avoid exclusion and to promote chances in the European society and labour market for NEETs.