Digital facilities in education: assisting SDG’s implementation

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The education providers around the world are experimenting with learning and teaching the newly needed skills and “going out” of conventional classrooms by providing virtual-learning possibilities and technologies.. The problem is actually doubled: it is about global challenges and reforming national education policy to make the process of acquiring new skills more efficient. In most states, the issue is still at an experimental stage; although the new methods have been already recognized by international education organizations as powerful instruments in perspective system of learning.  

Active inclusion of numerous digital technology and communication systems in modern socio-economic development has slowly but persistently transforming education policies. Introduction of the so-called “service-learning”, SL represents technologically and digitally based system in a modernized national education policies.

Background

The SL has been already recognized by UNESCO as an innovative educational tool to address modern socio-economic challenges. Besides, the sustainable development goals, SDGs approved by the global community at the end of 2015, require the national governance to take active actions in “structuring” the SL system in order to prepare the workforce with the skills needed to implement SDGs in national development.

The universities’ role in assisting national SDG’s process requires both incorporating the sustainability priorities in growth patterns and supplementing the process with an adequate adaptation of education providers to new realities. Hence, several aspects are presently under review in the universities’ agenda: a) including SDGs into the SL structures; b) specifying optimal educational practice to national workforce needs, c) envisaging necessary changes in the education process, as well as into existing curricular and teachers’ qualification.

More on SL in: Service-learning and digital empowerment: the potential for the digital education transition in higher education. In: Sustainability 2024, 16(6), 2448; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16062448

= On UNESCO’s recommendation in: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. Report from the International Commission on the Futures of Education: Re-imagining Our Futures Together: A New Social Contract for Education; UNESCO: Paris, France, 2021.

Digital education in action

Full inclusion of digital service-learning means opening an optimal interactive cooperation at the policy level and in universities an efficient relationship between technology, education and national priorities. The most vital idea in this regard is to explore the perspectives of students’ involvement, university faculties and national governance on an optimal combination of SL and available digital technologies. All that shall be based on sustainability development projection and modernized education policies. Beside, a qualitative approach is necessary as well to assess the opportunities for innovation, the expected impacts and education providers’ qualifications. These are regarded as the most vital preliminary conditions for making digital education and SDGs’ implementation a successful engagement.

However, this double-type transformation requires fundamental reformation of the existing age-old education practices with the undesirable outcomes: the modernized sustainability requirements and educational reforms are not expected to be easy; but the transformative potentials of education providers and national SDG priorities have to be in strategic national governance.

Digital education has all the potentials to significantly enrich SL by providing new opportunities for the learning process and the required impact on the workforce. By including the SDGs aspects in teaching and training, students in high education and colleagues can acquire the knowledge and develop competencies they need to be prepared for a successful and long-term employment.

However, it is important to remember that while the new forms of digital education do offer numerous benefits to sustainability education, they are having their own sets of challenges and considerations. To address these challenges, higher institutions should both prioritize digital learning and offer students the opportunity to participate in the SL-projects using digital tools in closer cooperation with the national priority goals. In this regard, both the higher education in general and the SL in particular, would ensure a holistic approach to sustainability education combining digital and traditional learning.

Modern digital facilities and perspectives

The digital education concept, DEC is being increasingly linked to artificial intelligence, AI; some researchers have pointed out to three new challenges for education associated with the AI: a) general education on artificial intelligence, b) using AI in education process, and c) teaching/educating the artificial intelligence. It could serve as an important basis for future reforms in quality education, digital development and effective forms of sustainable growth.

More in: Panciroli C. , Rivoltella P.R. Pedagogia Algoritmica. Per Una Riflessione Educativa Sull’intelligenza Artificiale; Scholé: Brescia, Italy, 2023. [Google Scholar]

There are presently several concerns regarding the current trajectories of higher education and the process of incorporating of digital technologies in education: exacerbating existing socio-economic problems, conceptualizing teaching as a modernized “transmission” of information, constrained “pedagogical design” that shall be sensitive to students’ individual perceptions of “prestigious” jobs in the contexts of modern global challenges, national transformative policies and evolving “consumer-oriented” structure of training and education.

Still much to be investigated with respect to innovative potentials and risks in relation to the digital education; moreover, it is interesting to see the perspectives of an “optimal” combination of SL and the digital technologies: both in terms of the requirements for education providers and modern digital facilities.

Modern “social response” to the complicated process of combining SDGs and digital technologies in education and training is still far from clear evidence. Several different opinion exist concerning the SL and DE involvement in view of needs, innovation, potential to transfer best practices, expected impact and limitations. These aspects shall be explored and analyzed by the national governance systems through the combination of modern challenges, sustainability and education at all levels.

General reference to: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/16/6/2448.

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