The European Commission maintains that the first key factor that contributes to an improved education is the quality of teachers and of teaching. Teachers play a central role in the process of imparting skills, competences and knowledge. The better the teacher, the better the outcome. Educators and trainers are facing new challenges every day in their classes. Innovation and digital technologies are some of the barriers they encounter. The European Commission defines innovative technologies as new and creative possibilities for teaching and learning approaches. Nevertheless, Europe is lagging behind in making use of these new technologies. This is greatly due to the low number of teachers, trainers and educators in Europe with funded digital competences.
There is an urgent need to promote educators‘ digital competences. Shaping Digital Classes mainly focuses on raising awareness of the need to reflect on advantages of digital pedagogy in classes. Further, it emphasizes the need to visualize existing digital gaps in educators’ competences. The project focuses on the development of educators’ digital competences to utilize innovative digital trainings in their language classes. Research has revealed a high proliferation of the digital materials, online applications and materials available for trainers. Even so, the offer of trainings, manuals or instructions for proper usage is very limited. Shaping Digital Classes combats this contradictory tendency. It deliberately combines experiences and feedback from previous projects related to the creation, adaptation or description of digital materials for language learning. It achieves this through the promotion and understanding of the guidelines and frameworks newly published under the DigCompEdu Framework. Additionally the project builds on experiences gained through different face-to-face workshops offered to language teachers and trainers for improvement of their digital skills. It’s goal is to respond to the urgent need for trainer coaching opportunities in the area of digital skills. This project creates free, open and easy-to-follow tutorials for language trainers. It provides the possibility for trainers with both limited digital competences and intermediate competences to participate in tutorials. These interactive courses cover topics of searching, selecting, using and creating own digital materials independent of one’s previous digital skills, location and available time. Alongside this, Shaping Digital Classes offers badges and certificates for acquired skills improving not just their digital skills, but also offering them the possibility of professional development.