Openness in Teachers’ Digital Competence Frameworks: Looking for the Open Educator

Tur, Gemma; Marin, Victoria; Havemann, Leo; Nascimbeni, Fabio and Marsh, J. Dawn (2020). Openness in Teachers’ Digital Competence Frameworks: Looking for the Open Educator. In: OER20: The care in openness, 1-2 Apr 2020, Online.



There has been a wide variety of definitions of digital competence, from early narrow and technology-focused explanations to more recent attempts , such as the one by Ferrari (2013), who describes it as a complex concept encompassing a wide set of skills, attitudes and knowledge when performing tasks with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

Furthermore, there have been various different attempts to describe teachers’ digital competence, as the literature review by McGarr and McDonagh (2019) demonstrates. These authors evidence that models either depict teachers’ digital competence in diverse taxonomies of areas and dimensions, or as a hierarchical and progressive evolution from low to high levels of awareness and ability. They observe that openness does not have a presence in most of the taxonomic models and thus they propose openness as a dimension of their four-part model, under the label of attitudes.

In this current work, we analyse international and national teachers’ digital competence frameworks and review whether openness has been included in them, and, if so, how it is described. In the case of frameworks that offer a model of increasing performance, we observe the levels at which open-related concepts appear.

An initial review of the frameworks by the European Commission, UNESCO, ISTE (US) and INTEF (Spain) indicates that ‘openness’ typically does not constitute a dimension in itself and tends to appear at intermediate and high levels of teachers’ digital competence, except from the UNESCO framework, where access to OER (Open Educational Resources) is present already at the lowest level.

In this paper we reflect on the need for international and national frameworks of teacher professional development to boost openness: in particular, for open educational practices to be included at lower levels of teachers’ pre-service and in-service professional education.

We argue that becoming an open educator requires both the development of the dispositions associated with reflective practice and the confidence to challenge neo-liberal educational assumptions in order to embrace participatory, equitable and open educational practices from the early stages of the development of teachers’ digital competence.

Ferrari, A. (2013) ‘DIGCOMP: A Framework for Developing and Understanding Digital Competence in Europe‘, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Available at:

McGarr, O. & McDonagh, A. (2019) ‘Digital Competence in Teacher Education‘, Output 1 of the Erasmus+ funded Developing Student Teachers’ Digital Competence (DICTE) project. Available at:

Tur, Gemma; Marín, Victoria I.; Havemann, Leo; Keefer, Jeffrey; Marsh, J. Dawn; Nascimbeni, Fabio; Crump, Helen; Baker, Nick and García Vallejo, Mari Cruz (2018). Open Education as a threshold concept in Teacher Education: a theoretical framework for further research. In: OER18: Open to All, 18-19 Apr 2018, Bristol.

Tur, G., Havemann, L., Marsh, D., Keefer, J. M., & Nascimbeni, F. (2020). Becoming an open educator: towards an open threshold framework. Research in Learning Technology, 28.

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