6. Virtual network meeting and conference
On November 6th, a pre-conference meeting in form of a webinar titled "The changing role of teachers - in the light of, amongst other factors, the Corona pandemic" was organized with Systime from Denmark and took place with an audience of 60 people.
Teachers from five different countries talked about how they faired during the first lockdown in the spring. Educators from Denmark, Norway and the UK also contributed videos with their perspective. Christian Dalsgaard, from Aarhus University gave a keynote on "Digital literacy as expanded disciplinarity". The materials can be be
found on the open website of EEPG
During the conference, a number of questions were asked to the participants about issues connected to the topic. Even though this was not representative, here are a few interesting insights:
- While the majority of participants thought that the support from the government for teachers and schools was fair, the majority also felt that the support for publishers was poor.
- Most publishers also concluded that more teachers are now prepared to use digital materials in the classroom, while some thought that there is still a group of teachers, who either cannot cope well or are resisting for other reasons. But everybody agreed that there is no return to "normal" teaching in the classroom.
- Converting teaching and learning materials into digital was a challenge to quite a few publishers but everybody agreed that the roll-out was successfully accomplished in a very short time. And the majority of publishers is confident that they will be able to face the new challenges posed by the pandemic.
- Reaching schools and teachers was difficult for some publishers because school visits had been their main means of contact, but in most cases other means of communication had already been in place.
- It seems that the image of the educational publishers has improved.
This pre-conference was a "trial run" for the EEPG conference planned for September 2021, when we will hopefully build up and discuss developments with the same (and some more) panelists and participants. Whether such a meeting can be a real meeting or will have to be virtual again is anybody's guess at present. However, the experience showed that even though virtual is not the same as meeting in person, there are still very valuable take-aways. It is important to stay in touch with developments happening outside one's country and learning from one's neighbours.