Contextualizing open educational resources to enhance teachers’ digital competencies in the Caribbean

The UNESCO Capacity Development Workshop brought together 63 participants of which 55 representatives were from 12 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) gathered around a common cause of addressing teachers’ digital competencies through the contextualization of ICT CFT using OER.

Strengthening the digital competencies of teachers has emerged as one of most important and urgent challenges, due to the rapid technological development, the exposure of teachers' related competency gaps during the pandemic and the increasing use of OER-based resources to meet the online learning and teaching challenges.

This workshop is a vital step to transit from theory to practice, towards digital in an effort of inclusion so as not to let the digital divide constitutes the new face of inequality, and a step contributing to designing a positive digital future.
Saadia Sanchez Vegas Director, UNESCO Kingston Office

The workshop introduced an online training model for policy makers and teacher education practitioners and shared insights on best practices in using the ICT CFT OER online platform from case studies of the ICT CFT Harnessing OER Project Network Experts Group.

The event was held in English, French and Spanish recognizing the linguistic diversity of the Caribbean region with participants representing governments, including National Commissions to UNESCO (Bahamas, Cuba, Curaçao, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin and Suriname), educational institutions and libraries.

The hub is a reservoir of rich resources that helped us to overcome the main impediment of online learning delivery in Jamaica which is the lack of basis computer skills of teachers specially on the learnings tools.
Audrey Crosdale Chief Executive Officer of Global Workforce Development, Jamaica

The snapshot of OER development in Latin America by Dr Tel Amiel, Professor, in Distance Education at the University of Brasilia, Brazil showed that despite the multitude of OER repositories available, disparities remain in OER penetration with a confusion between what is openly licensed materials which are OER and licensed materials which cannot be modified or contextualized.

The project is an innovative approach to the contextualization of the ICT CFT using OER in a multi-stakeholder approach, thus combining a theoretical framework with concrete results. It aims to facilitate Member States in contextualizing the ICT CFT to meet national and institutional needs through three actions: firstly, aligning the Framework’s components to national objectives related to ICT in education; secondly, developing teacher training materials based on an OER approach; and finally, implementing teacher training programmes, based on these materials.

This workshop, which included a training component, allowed participants to immerse themselves in the content of the two online tutorials detailing the specific processes of the ICT CFT Harnessing OER Hub framework. The first tutorial focused on identifying priority competencies to shape teacher training initiatives, and the second on using the ICT CFT Hub on OER Commons to identify units of study that can be adapted to support local teacher training.

This activity will be followed by several other joint activities that will support the implementation of the UNESCO OER Recommendation at national level with the participation of UNESCO National Commissions and in coordination with other partners in the region. It is also planned to extend the scope of the ICT CFT to instructors of youth in non-formal settings and teachers' trainer for coding, as well as to further develop the ICT CFT OER Hub in languages other than English more extensively.