Intro to the role of pedagogues
Pedagogues, social workers, and teachers play an important role in digital peer-to-peer learning. The role requires: implementing methods for peer learning in the digital realm, facilitating/moderating the process, cultural mediation and translation skills, and some digital competencies (Chandra & Palvia, 2021). Each activity might require various and different preparation for a digital learning process. Nevertheless, as a digital pedagogue, social worker, and teacher, there are some principles you might find useful to follow:
Lesson 1: Digital context
Developing your digital competencies, and building technical skills will help you to feel more confident in the digital realm. Nowadays, basic knowledge is generally known and absorbed through our everyday online activities. Nevertheless, it will provide you with experience and might bring some new ideas and tools on how to make digital peer learning more interesting and accessible.
Gaining knowledge and practice on digital tools:
- Find resources/courses/tutorials that you can use for preparing yourself for digital work:
- explore and learn tools for online meetings and connections (learn how to use video communicators - e.g. Zoom, Google Meet; social media platforms – e.g. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok; online working boards - e.g. Miro, online video, audio, and image editors - e.g. Canva, Twistedwave) – see Module 3 (link)
- get the knowledge on technical requirements for the activities you are planning (e.g. camera, microphone, Wi-Fi connection, computer, mobile phone)
- Involve your students in the decision-making process about the technology and tools they want to use (they may choose the tools they already know, use and have access to).
Lesson 2: Facilitation
Digital methods and activities for peer-to-peer learning might be unknown and confusing for the participants. We need to remember that not everybody has the same digital competencies and technological access. Thus, providing digital peer learning requires moderation and facilitation of the process adequate and adjusted to the participants and digital realm. As a facilitator you can:
- Provide support and design peer learning around the needs of the students who have limited digital access. Remain open-minded and ready to adapt your plans and activities to unexpected needs that can arise during the process.
- Make sure that the students know what equipment and digital tools they need. To bring all participants to the same level of digital competencies, you can provide easy tutorials or guidelines on how to use either tools or equipment you are planning for the activities.
- Provide online group-building activities or/and (group) rituals, tasks that the students can fulfill either digitally or/and offline.
- Use role-play games.
- Provide students the opportunity to teach a part of a lesson to their peers.
- Create “study bodies”, pairs of students who work together.
- To foster positive interaction within the group, create a common (group) agreement taking into account digital interactions. You can tackle questions like “How can I feel motivated and active in our digital process and communication?”.
- Present the schedule of a meeting, or a process (don’t forget about free time as well and give the space to try things out – online and offline).
- Invite participants to some responsibilities of setting up and facilitating activities, so they can share their knowledge and abilities. During the digital process, you might learn that some of the participants have already developed technical skills, or have unique digital experiences, so they can support others, or share their knowledge. However, be prepared to support and encourage them. If you involve participants in decision-making, take them seriously. Use their ideas to improve activities, and if something is not possible, be transparent and explain why.
Lesson 3: Support
To support students in digital activities is to understand their needs and problems, especially in the communication and technological aspects.
- Ask questions about their needs, and difficulties concerning digital activities and engagement. Try to work commonly on the solutions.
- Listen carefully and most importantly show participants that their ideas matter by implementing them, if possible.
- Be present, witness their actions, and help participants overcome language barriers and boost communication and cooperation (bring strategies and digital tools to improve non-verbal communication or/and use translation and visual digital tools).
- Help students to understand digital learning processes and reflect on them – conducting an evaluation.
Lesson 4: Evaluation
A good practice to end every learning process is to evaluate it. Digital tools give us the opportunity to make it interactive and individual at the same time.
- Summarise activities or learning processes and provide guiding questions, which help participants reflect on their experiences. You can use some digital tools like Google forms and questionnaires or other digital possibilities (also visual) to support your evaluation process.
- Ensure there is a protected space where participants can talk about their concerns and needs.
- Enable students to provide feedback to their peers.
- Remain open-minded. Listening not judging is always a good approach.
Be open to giving and receiving feedback. Feedback should always be clear, relevant, constructive, solution-focused, and positive. It should give positive affirmation and motivate the person to look at situations from a different angle and thus initiate change processes.