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As the digital world changes, so do competence needs. The first version of these descriptions was published in February 2021. Competence descriptions 2.0 were published in June 2022. The purpose of the modifications is to improve the quality of the descriptions and, in particular, make them easier to read and keep them up to date. Something has been deleted and something added. An effort has been made to take into account users’ diverse digital services and devices.

Digital competence and ICT competence as a whole consist of four main areas:

  1. Practical skills and personal production
  2. Security and responsibility
  3. Information management and inquiry-based and creative work
  4. Interaction.

The main areas were named in accordance with the National core curriculum for basic education (2014). Following an update of the National core curriculum for early childhood education and care (2022), the heading Digital competence has been introduced in the descriptions concerning early childhood education and care (ECEC) and pre-primary education.

We would like to encourage diverse use of digital environments! New technologies enable learners of different ages to assume the role of an active agent, producer and explorer.

The education and ECEC provider is responsible for ensuring that the services to be introduced are compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and national legislation. Teachers, contact the education and ECEC provider that employs you for more information!

You will also find the descriptions of digital competence and ICT competence at the end of this page.

Early childhood education

“Digitalisation is part of the society in which the child grows up. Digital competence is needed in interaction between people, participation in society and learning. Strengthening digital competence promotes children’s educational equality. The task of ECEC is, together with the home, to support the child’s understanding of digitalisation.

The role of digitalisation in everyday life is explored and observed with the children. Digital tools, applications and environments are used in documentation, play, interaction, games, exploration, physical activity and artistic experience and production. Possibilities for practising, experimenting and personally and collaboratively producing content with the help of digital tools promote creative thinking, teamwork skills and multiliteracy in children. The personnel guide children in versatile, responsible, and safe use of digital environments.”

National Core Curriculum for Early Childhood Education and Care (2022)

Pre-primary education

“Competence in information and communication technology (ICT) is an important civic skill. It is re-quired in the everyday lives of children and families, interaction between people and participation in the society.  It is a part of multiliteracy and media and studying skills, which are required in studies and working life. The mission of pre-primary education is to promote children’s ICT-competence alongside the children’s homes.

The instruction includes familiarisation with different ICT devices, services and games. Information and communication technology is used to support children’s interactive skills, learning skills, and the grad-ually developing writing and reading skills.  Opportunities for experimenting and personally producing things promote creative thinking and team work skills in children. Children are taught to adopt safe and ergonomic ICT use.”

National Core Curriculum for Pre-primary Education (2014)

Grades 1–2

“The teaching and learning make use of the information and communication technology (ICT) skills the pupils have acquired during pre-primary education and outside of school. Play-based working methods are still important. The pupils practice basic ICT skills and learn to use them in their studies. At the same time, they also learn related key concepts. The pupils also learn about different applications and uses of ICT in their surroundings and the importance of ICT in daily life.

Practical skills and personal production: In school work, pupils practise using devices, software, and services and learn their key use and operating principles. They also practice keyboard skills and other basic text production and processing skills. The pupils gain and share experiences of working with digital media and age-appropriate programming tasks. Gamification is used to promote learning.

Responsible and safe use of ICT: Together with the teacher, the pupils search for safe ways of using ICT and the related etiquette. Attention is paid to a good working posture and the appropriate duration of working periods and their effects on well-being.

Information management and inquiry-based and creative work: The pupils are guided to use key search engines, try different tools, and complete small assignments of acquiring information on different topics and matters of personal interest. They are encouraged to use ICT to realise their ideas independently and together with other pupils.

Interaction and networking: Pupils gain experience in using social networking services that support learning as well as practise using ICT in different interactive situations.”

National Core Curriculum for Basic Education (2014)

Grades 3–6

“Information and communication technology (ICT) is utilised diversely in various subjects and other school work, reinforcing collaborative learning. At the same time, opportunities are created for the pupils to seek, explore and use the working practices and tools that are best suited for their personal way of learning and working. The pupils examine the impacts of ICT on their daily lives and find ways of using it sustainably.

Practical skills and personal production: The pupils learn to use different devices, software, and services and to understand the logic of their use and operation. They practise producing and processing texts fluently using different tools and learn about working with image, sound, video, and animation. The pupils are encouraged to use ICT to implement their ideas independently and together with others. When trying programming, the pupils learn to understand how decisions made by people affect the way technology works.

Responsible and safe use of ICT: The pupils are guided in responsible and safe use of ICT, good manners, and knowing basic copyright principles. In their school work, they practise using various communication systems and educational social media services. The pupils obtain knowledge and experience of the health impacts of good working postures and working periods of a suitable length.

Information management and inquiry-based and creative work: The pupils practise finding information in several different sources by using search engines. They are guided in using sources to produce information and to practise evaluating information critically. The pupils are encouraged to seek modes of expression that are suitable for them as well as to use ICT in documenting and assessing their working process and products.

Interaction and networking: The pupils are guided to act according to their roles and the characteristics of the device they are using as well as to take responsibility for their communication. They are invited to discuss and assess the role of ICT as a means of involvement. The pupils obtain experiences of using information and communication technology in interaction with actors outside the school, also in international contexts.”

National Core Curriculum for Basic Education (2014)

Grades 7–9

“The use of information and communication technology (ICT) is an integral part of the learning of the pupils’ and the school community’s learning. In their learning, the pupils advance their knowledge and skills and utilise skills learned outside of school. They learn to understand how information and communication technology can be utilised in studying different subjects, in their later studies and working life, and in societal activities and involvement. While working on different learning tasks, the significance of ICT in the society and its effects on sustainable development are reflected on.

Practical skills and personal production: The pupils are encouraged to utilise information and communication technology independently in different learning assignments and guided in the selection of working approaches and devices appropriate for different tasks. They deepen their understanding of the use and operating principles of different devices, software, and services. They practise systematising, organising, and sharing files and producing different digital products independently and together with others. Programming is practised as a part of the studies of different subjects.

Responsible and safe use of ICT: The pupils are guided to use ICT in way that is safe and ethically sustainable. They learn how to protect themselves from possible information security risks and how to avoid losing data. They are guided towards responsible activities by reflecting on, for example, the meaning of the concepts of information protection and copyrights and the potential repercussions of irresponsible and illegal activities. The pupils are instructed to adopt working approaches that promote healthy and ergonomic ICT use.

Information management and inquiry-based and creative work: The pupils are guided to seek and produce information diversely and to use sources of information in versatile ways as a foundation for exploratory and creative work. At the same time, the pupils practise source criticism and evaluate the way they and others, as well as different search engines and databases, work and produce information.

Interaction and networking: The teaching and learning includes using social media services and experiencing the importance of cooperation and interaction for learning, exploratory work, and creativity. The pupils are guided to find suitable communication channels and styles for different uses. The pupils also practise utilising information and communication technology in international interaction and learn to perceive its significance, potential, and risks in the global world.”

National Core Curriculum for Basic Education (2014)

Vocabulary used in the descriptions

The digital services referred to in the descriptions mean applications and software used in teaching and early childhood education and care. More extensively, a digital environment refers to all digital solutions, services, hardware and devices used in teaching and early childhood education and care.

A text refers to texts that, according to the broad definition of text, may be information expressed with systems of verbal, visual, auditive, numeric and kinaesthetic symbols and their combinations. Where reference is made to a digital service and environment, the education and ECEC provider can in many cases identify more specifically the service and device they recommend that their staff and learners use.

How to read the descriptions

The descriptions have been built as a continuum in which competence cumulates.

Competence descriptions

Other competences