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Ricerca per l'innovazione della scuola italiana

The effectiveness of ICT

This research aims to study modifications to learning environments thanks to the use of new technology. An in-depth investigation is currently in progress to monitor the spread of mobile technologies used by students, (e.g. netbooks, notebooks, tablets, smartphones or e-readers) in certain upper secondary schools. “The effectiveness of ICT” is born from the collaboration between the assessment and improvement processes area and the innovation area, within the framework of the project Educational Avant-garde, a movement of schools which are significant examples of transformation of the organisational and educational model.
The first phase of research has been carried out from May to December 2014 and it sets itself the objective to investigate both the processes related to the quality of life within the 22 Schools, founders of  Educational Avant-garde, in terms of users’ satisfaction, and students’ learning results.
The research was carried out as a multiple case-study, this methodology allowed us to deepen the knowledge of the process and the whole context. Online questionnaires were administered and visits were also carried out to the schools to arrange individual interviews, focus groups and organise observation of classroom activities.

The results showed that the schools in the sample have a score higher than the national average in the tests of Italian language and, in almost all cases, also in those of mathematic subjects. If compared with schools which did not take part in the Educational Avant-garde project and were attended by students with similar family backgrounds, drop-out rates were lower in schools that were part of the innovation movement.

With regard to the educational processes, in the schools taken into examination was detected, overall, a good perception of internal sharing and school atmosphere, and a centrality – at all organisational levels – of the role of the headmaster. The research revealed a lack of homogeneity, within the schools taken as samples, regarding the degree of diffusion of new technologies and innovation of the learning environments. This heterogeneity made it difficult to generalise the results.
In the final phase, a report was returned to every single school. This offered a picture of what had emerged and of what could become a useful tool in the processes of self-assessment and improvement in the framework of the national system of evaluation.

In the context of the research into the effectiveness of ICT in education, a survey was also conducted in order to detect the use of mobile technologies among students in secondary high schools. The study was addressed to secondary high school students, who use every day educational laptops or other mobile devices (at least 80% of technology on desks). The survey on these schools was focused on outcomes (intended as learning results, drop-out rates, and distance learning results) and on the processes characterising the efficient schools. These good practices were also promoted within La Buona Scuola“: sharing, innovation, time for learning, structuring of learning environments, territorial integration and the training of teachers.

The schools participating to the study were those taking part in “Educational Avant-garde” and those that had received the funding of schools 2.0 and classes 2.0.


The entire research was carried out by the area of assessment and improvement processes (design and development of research: Raffaella Carro and Sara Mori). Data analysis was carried out by Carlo Beni (Technological Area).