TeachUP interview series : Almudena Vincente Franqueira

In the following months, a series of monthly interviews with project partner representatives will be conducted, collecting valuable insights from professionals in the fields of Initial Teacher Education and Continuous Professional Development.

The first interview features Almudena Vincente Franqueira, Unit manager of the Online Teacher Training and Digital Competence in Education in the National Institute for Educational Technologies and Teacher Training (INTEF), the Spanish Ministry of Education.

What are, in your view, the main challenges teachers have to face in their new roles?

In today's fast-changing world, we need to provide educators with all the available up-to-date means to guarantee that students get the best education possible no matter where they live or how long an educator has been involved in teaching. This, among other things, implies offering training to all educators on topics which have an impact on their daily practice- for in-service as well as student teachers -, i.e. how to best address the advantages of technology in school, new ways of assessment, or how to personalise a student's learning process among others. Furthermore, this training should be appealing enough and carry certification or credit to recognise the educators' effort. If not, educators may drop out and, therefore, no changes will happen at school level.

How can Teach-UP help to overcome these challenges?

TeachUP aims at diminishing the gap in teacher training by testing the role of a tutor in online training versus the community of learners and a moderator, on four engaging topics: collaborative teaching, formative assessment, personalised learning and creativity. This learners' community, which will develop, not only through the field trials but also through the Country Dialogue Labs, where all voices in education are heard and taken into account, will grow along the project and will be a priceless source of knowledge for policymakers in the future design of online teaching training experiences.

Could you tell us a few words about your work, and how your organisation's experience contributes to Teach-UP?

I work in the Online Teacher Training and Educational Digital Competence unit in INTEF, part of the Ministry of Education in Spain. We have been offering online training for teachers for over 20 years, but it was in 2014 when the first massive open online course was launched. Many things have happened since and, at the moment, there are more than 86 open courses in our catalogue. We offer a wide variety of learning experiences  as one can choose whether to invest from 5 minutes (EduPills), 3-4 hours (NOOC) to 30 hours of estimated effort (MOOC), either at the participants' own pace (SPOOC) or in a more traditional learning environment with tutors helping participants along the course.

In any of the learning experiences we offer, the focus is on the building of a community as social learning – this is the key in our instructional design. Furthermore, we aim at developing the digital competence of teachers and base our approach on the Digital Competence Framework for Teachers, developed by INTEF, which is clearly linked to TeachUP and the KA3. Besides, our experience in the Initial Design of open learning experiences as well as the recognition of the digital competence achieved by issuing open credential (badges) links for participants,  identifies with some of the other objectives of the TeachUP project.

And finally, three words that best describe you?

I think this is a question you should be asking someone else! I guess hard-working, trustworthy and talkative would be the adjectives most people would agree with.