04 SES 03 E, How Inclusive Is Your School? Comparing Teachers’ and Students’ Perspectives
One of the main characteristics of the XXI century is the rapid shift of its citizens to what we know as the Society of Information and Knowledge. We are surrounded by technology that impregnates our daily live, from entertainment to training and employment. This is why, since the 90’s reforms, all European countries made significant efforts to introduce ICT in the classroom.
Also, Spain has made such efforts over the last 15 years to improve the technological equipment in schools. Even if the ratio of computers per students has lowered to 8 students per computer, OECD (2011) shows that the use of computers in scientific subject is barely a 18% of the teaching hours for 15 years old students. In other related subjects such as maths, the number of hours is just 10%. The results get even worse in primary education.
But ubiquity does not mean use; there is a huge disconnection between social development and educational reality in our country (Cabero and Córdoba, 2009). Teaching methodology is the turning point, not only for inclusion in education, but also for the social advances that our contexts and students demand.
After years of attempts to achieve inclusion through the introduction of new tools and new aims for XXI century school, there is something we know by now: It is impossible any sort of social progress based on individualistic thoughts and actions (Calzadilla, 2002).
Strengthening the path towards inclusive education is the main objective for the research we propose. There are two essential keys for that: ICT and cooperative learning (CL).
The United Nations Convention for the Rights of Person with Disabilities held in 2005 (European Agency, 2013) recognized ICT as key tools for promoting equal opportunities in education. They are also a vital part to achieve the targets set by OECD as the “essential characteristics of the students of the XXI” on its DeSeCo project (OECD, 2005). These characteristics include the use of a wide range of tools, the interaction in heterogeneous groups and the individual responsibility of their own life. In Spain, ICT, both as a mean and as an end (González and Zariquiey, 2012) has been established as a right and the country is working hard on its development. But the use of CL as a leading methodology has shown important issues, being the most important one the need of its constant justification towards families and the educational community. Nevertheless, CL should be considered as a primary teaching methodology in order to optimize the use of digital media and to create the appropriate learning environment to promote the in the integral development of students and their multiple capacities (Basilotta and Herrada, 2013).
We introduce the second part of this research, focusing on the use of the key elements -defined in three main dimensions: technologies, didactic aspects and organization- that were identified during the work being done in the research led by Stefan Ting Graf "Inklusion og digitale læringsmiljøer undervisningsdifferentiering i"(IDDL) in Denmark. Basically, we propose the introduction of these elements in a spanish school through the training and assessment of the teachers. Beyond the training program, we are aiming at the monitoring of its efficiency, establishing metrics of change for both teachers and children throughout the process.
Based on its goal, we divided the research in two phases: the first one, done in Denmark, was focused on finding the “keys” of ICT and CL whereas the second one in Spain, is on- going. The second phase is also divided in two: we firstly implemented in a classroom the “keys” found in the first phase and, secondly, let the teachers participate in the problem diagnosis so that they can be convinced and introduce the changes required following the investigación-acción qualitative methodology (AR) (Elliot, 2009). Letting the teachers owning and implementing these tools is key to overcome one of the main barriers identified which is to convince children, families and the educational community of its beauties. By doing so, we seek to achieve the real inclusion in the classroom. The population sample for this study are part of the educational community of a school in the center of Madrid who agreed to take part in this research process during two academical years. The purpose of the school is to improve its status in the area of innovation. We, therefore, set three main categories in the analysis: 13 teachers (4th, 5th and 6th degree), the students of these degrees and the educational consultant with her work team (3 observers). Following the cycles of AR, we have started the research with five previous meetings: 3 with the school management team, and 2 with the teachers part of the research. In these meetings we set the topics of the training. After that, we conducted the implementation during six months in which we developed weekly cycles of training-implementation-monitoring, followed by participant observation by the consultant team. Eventually, we assessed the results prior to start the second cycle with the same teachers. We have used Pujolas´s test to analyze the CL in the classroom with a pre-post measure. The analyzes shows the changes in the student base groups. Besides, we also checked the changes in their educational performance as well as the field notebook and the observational quotes of the consultants. To analyze teachers changes, on top of the previous tools, we included focus groups where we discussed their professional development and their feedback with regards to the work done by the consultant team. To complete the triangulation of the data analysis, the consultant team also made their own focus groups.
After concluding the first AR cycle and having gone through the data related to these 3 units of analysis -teachers, students, consultants- we are now starting the second cycle of AR that will happen in the school year of 2017-2018. To present the data, we will focus on the three dimensions -technologies, didactic aspects and organization- that we established in Denmark. With regards to the educational organization, data shows an improvement in the perception of the families towards the school. With regards to renewal and innovative work done by the teachers, they have set time and space for the training of the teachers and they have established a collaborative culture that influences the development of the students and teachers and also the feedback of the families about the teacher´s activity. Related to the teacher´s proffesional development, data shows an important change on their attitudes and motivations towards their lifelong learning as well as a change in their praxis, improving the planning of their classes, an increase in their abilities to use ICTs and a change of role, becoming themselves guides of the teaching-learning process. Lastly, the students have improved their social skills, enlarging their social interaction which is helping us rooting inclusion in the culture of the school. On top of that, data shows a decrease in the disrupcion of the class, an improvement in the motivation towards the learning process and, in overall terms, a significant improvement in their performance. For the remaining work, we will deepen in CL method, prioritizing the participation of the students by implementing cooperative Project Based Learning (PBL) which will eventually replace traditional methods based on the exclusive use of a class book.
Basilotta, V. & Herrada, G. (2013). Aprendizaje a través de proyectos colaborativos con TIC. Análisis de dos experiencias en el contexto educativo. EDUTEC, Revista Electrónica de Tecnología Educativa, 44, 113. Cabero, J. & Córdoba, M. (2009). Inclusión educativa: inclusión digital. Revista Educación Inclusiva, 2(1), 6177. Calzadilla, M.E. (2002). Aprendizaje colaborativo y tecnologías de la información y la comunicación. Retrieved from http://www.rieoei.org/deloslectores/322Calzadilla.pdf Elliot, J. (2009). La investigación-acción en educación (4ª ed.). Madrid: Ediciones Morata S.L. European Agency (2013). Information and Communication Technology for Inclusion. Developments and Opportunities for European Countries. Retrieved from http://www.europeanagency.org/sites/default/files/ICT%20for%20InclusionEN.pdf González, E. and Zariquiey, F. (2012). Las TIC y el aprendizaje cooperativo. In J.C. Torrego y A. Negro (Coords.), Aprendizaje cooperativo en las aulas. Fundamentos y recursos para su implantación, (pp. 2145). Madrid: Alianza Editorial. OECD (2005). La definición y selección de competencias clave. Retrieved from http://www.deseco.admin.ch/bfs/deseco/en/index/03/02.parsys.78532.downloadList.94248.DownloadFile.tmp/2005.dscexecutivesummary.sp.pdf OECD (2011). PISA 2009 Results: Students On Line. Digital Technologies and Performance. Paris: OECD Publishing.
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