The use of digital technologies in higher education has recently had its most significant boost due to a bad cause, the existence of a pandemic that has forced schools to offer their learning distance or in a hybrid system. However, there is a significant gap in teachers, students, and other staff in digital pedagogy. Thus, it is necessary that HEIs invest in digital education, in the development of skills and competencies, in the digital infrastructure, essential tools in this new paradigm.
The large-scale shift to distance and online learning during Covid-19 was complex. Some facts are that 1) 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries were out of school; 2) 100 million employees of educational institutions attended the closing of the schools where they worked; 3) There was an unprecedented use of technologies for learning, which revealed many opportunities for students and educators. However, there is a widespread view that there are significant challenges for digital education. They are above all those related to the need 1) to profoundly reduce inequality when opting for distance learning. There are deep disparities in the levels of digital skills of different actors in educational processes – from essential to advanced levels; 2) to deal with and reduce the socioeconomic inequalities of the various actors in the educational process; 3) to train and provide pedagogical guidance to teachers; 4) draw up plans and develop a vision for the integration of digital technologies in education and training; 5) to support teacher training and the development of innovative pedagogies; 6) strategically investing in middleware tools, platforms, and services - computer programs that provide services for application software in addition to those available through the operating system - educational technology; 7) developing high-quality online learning content 8) to eliminate inequalities in infrastructure, connectivity and digital equipment for education and training.
The pandemic reality caught everyone off guard. However, it is necessary to recognize that two fundamental elements of digital education are that teachers must have relevant digital skills and a sharp vision and strategy for the use of digital technologies. Digital skills and competencies are crucial for today's life and for all students who attend school today and in the future.
Responding to this scenario requires a more significant investment, cooperation, and consistency at various levels: schools, governments, and the European Union. An action plan for digital education must be created to foster the development of a high-performance digital education ecosystem to accelerate innovation in digital education and improve digital skills and competencies for digital transformation. It must have as its principles the quality, inclusion, and learning throughout the life of all people.
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