Open Classes on the Net in small schools
In rural, inland and island areas, which are the typical settings of “small schools” characterized by a small number of students, isolation and multi-age classes, there are potentially advantageous conditions to transform educational environments in places of inclusion and collaboration, also through a pedagogical use of communication and information technologies (ICT).
International literature highlights the importance of technologies for schools that find themselves in conditions of geographic isolation. Working through the internet in remote connection with similar school realities represents an effective way, for example, to share useful materials for teaching in multi-age classes or to enhance external differentiation strategies for class groups. In small schools, information technologies can be tools of primary importance for enriching, opening and extending the classroom even in situations of isolation. Using information technology, teachers and learners of multi-age classes can collaborate with teachers and learners of other schools, creating, for example, common didactic units through organizational forms typical of shared didactics.
The project aims to answer to the following research questions:
Q1: Does the Classes on the Net model favor processes of educational inclusion in terms of opportunities for small schools to overcome social and cultural isolation?
Q2: Does the Classes on the Net model facilitate thematic teaching planning by pushing schools to reflect on transversal curricula and working in a transdisciplinary and skills-based way?
Q3: Does the Online Classes model represent an opportunity for teachers to rethink teaching activities by favoring working in groups of heterogeneous ages and levels? (multi-classes and class work organized in open but homogeneous classes)
Q4: Does the application of the Classes on the Net model require rethinking the organizational management of the school (in terms of school-time, spaces, staff management)?
The research project has an impact on the quality of the educational experience of small isolated and multi-age class schools. The analysis of the design of the shared teaching practice and the use of “delocalized” classes allow to detect processes of educational inclusion and bring added value in the field of national and international research that deals with remote teaching. The research work also has an impact on the definition of school scenarios considering that some objectives are aimed at detecting the facilitation of didactic planning by “themes” (working in a transdisciplinary way and by competence), the possibility of rethinking didactic activities by proposing activities for multilevel classes, the emergence of indications to rethink the organizational management of the classroom environment. The path also has a potential impact on teacher training in small schools, in order to build widespread competences to improve the educational offer.
- Direct: Italian schools (group to be identified), EER researchers
- Indirect: small schools of the Movement (about 500), network of small EER schools
- Relevant stakeholders for Italy: ministries, regional school offices, territorial school offices