Teacher digital competence

Digital competence involves the confident and critical use of information society technology (IST) and thus basic skills in information and communication technology (ICT).   (European Commission)

Which areas of digital competences are important for a teacher?

“Krumsvik (2008) emphasized that specific competence besides the “ordinary” technology competence is required from teachers because the focus of their work is in education and instruction. He defined teachers’ digital competence as “the teacher’s proficiency in using ICT in a professional context with good pedagogic-didactic judgment and his or her awareness of its implications for learning strategies and the digital bildung of pupils” (Krumsvik, 2008). According to him, there is a double dimension in teachers’ competence: they are role models for pupils’ subject use of ICT and they must make educational decisions about how ICT may enhance their learning possibilities, in addition to using ICT for personal purposes.”

(Lakkala, M., Illomäki, L. and Kantosalo, A., 2011)


“Teacher training in all fields should include advanced digital
competence for teachers and their teaching, not concentrating only on ICT user skills of teachers. These topics should be part of both initial teacher training and in-service training. The training should consider aspects of using ICT both as a learning tool within subject teaching and as a tool used by learners for their coursework and learning-related activities outside school settings.”  http://ftp.jrc.es/EURdoc/JRC48708.TN.pdf

“Support informal learning in the emerging online communities. Social computing tools are developing fast and continuously creating new communities around them. These new communities and technological platforms are important places for learning ICT skills, as they gather the knowledge of different users and motivate new people to use ICT (AlaMutka et al, 2008; Punie & Ala-Mutka, 2007). There is a need to develop resources that promote awareness and emphasize the need for advanced digital competence for these learners and communities, such as sites for specific target groups that can easily be shared between informal learners.”


“Policies and research acknowledge teachers’ role in developing innovation in education and training practices. There is particularly a need to harness the transformative potential of ICT for innovative and effective teaching and learning approaches with the potential to equip both teachers and learners with new skills for jobs and lifelong learning. The assumption is that a Learning Network is a suitable support for competence development. Such networks can have a key role in supporting in-service teachers in their changing role, encouraging their professional development and sharing good practices. It is important to understand the dynamic and multidirectional flow of social influence within such networks” (TellNet).

Research has shown that the role of the teacher is one of the most vital parts of student academic outcomes (see e.g. Hattie, 2009). Simultaneously, the Norwegian school system prioritises information and communication technologies (ICT) high (Almås & Krumsvik, 2008). The role of digital competence is therefore an essential part of teacher education, as can be illustrated in the Digital literacy model (Krumsvik, 2008, 2009a).

Kabakçi (2009) proposed a framework for developing teachers’ ICT competence.  In the Framework of professional development for teachers’ ICT use presented by Kapakçi, four stages for supporting teachers’ professional development, the Emerging Stage, the Applying Stage, the Infusing Stage and the Transforming Stage.   Kapakçi proposed that the most important aspect in the framework is that teachers should participate in professional development programs according to the stages of technology use, and ICT related activities should be realized in accordance with each teacher’s current stage of technology use.

(Lakkala, M., Illomäki, L. and Kantosalo, A., 2011)

Sabaliauskas and colleagues (2006) made a review of several research publications modelling the ICT competency areas for teachers. Based on the review, they constructed a following list of areas included in teacher ICT competencies:

  • Basic ICT competencies,
  • Technological ICT competencies,
  • ICT policy competencies,
  • Competencies in the ethical area of ICT use,
  • Competencies of ICT integration into the teaching subject,
  • Competencies of didactical methods based on the use of ICT, and
  • Competencies of managing teaching/learning process working with ICT.
Aduwa-Ogiegbaen (2009) aggregated teachers’ levels of competence in ICT skills into seven key areas: Word processing skills, Spreadsheet skills, Database skills, Electronic presentation skills, Web/Internet navigation skills, Graphic tools skills, and Integration skills.

Lakkala, M., Illomäki, L. and Kantosalo, A. (2011) found in a review of articles that “All overarching frameworks depicting teachers’ digital skills and competence in research literature still seems to concentrate on the conventional usage of digital technology in teaching subject domains. They
they did not (yet) include viewpoints concerning the broader conceptualization of digital competence, except for the framework of Krumsvik and colleagues”  Similarly they found that “there was not much discussion or elaborated argumentation about the competence that teachers need for being able to educate their students for the future.” Lakkala, M., Illomäki, L. and Kantosalo, A., 2011


Aduwa-Ogiegbaen, S. (2009). Nigerian inservice teachers’ self-assessment in core technology competences and their professional development needs in ICT. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 26(1), 17-28.

Lakkala, M.,  Ilomäki, M. and  Kantosalo, A. (2011). Which areas of digital competence are important for a teacher? EUN: AISBL.

Kabakçi, I. (2009). A proposal of framework for professional development of Turkish teachers with respect to information and communication technologies. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education (TOJDE), 10(3), 204-216.

Krumsvik, R. (2008). Situated learning and teachers’ digital competence. Education & Information Technologies, 13, 279- 290.

Lakkala, M.,  Ilomäki, M. and  Kantosalo, A. (2011). Which areas of digital competence are important for a teacher? EUN: AISBL.

Sabaliauskas, T., Bukantaitė, D., & Pukelis, K. (2006). Designing teacher information and communication technology competencies’ areas. Vocational Education: Research & Reality, (12), 152-165.