DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IN FINLAND – TEN YEARS OF DENIAL OR LEARNING FROM THE PANDEMIC?
Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland
In 2008 Clayton Christensen published the book Disrupting Class. The author of this article has been experimenting with this theory for now over ten years, in particular with the aim to create online courses and online programs and hence to disrupt class. Experimentation leads into focusing on the network position of the individual digital actor and on the fundamental character of what a digital service is. Gradually experimentation increases in size, collaboration in larger experimental networks starts and experimentation gains popularity on a practical implementation level achieving impressive practical results, However, institutional structures do not seem to change or adapt. Experimentation has only led into discovering the depth of resistance to change. Then the pandemic arrives on the scene. Will the pandemic be a big enough catalyst for change?
TEACHERS AS DRIVERS OF ICT-ENABLED BOTTOM-UP EDUCATION REFORM: LESSONS LEARNED FROM COVID-19 SCHOOL CLOSURES AND THE ROLE OF INNOVATIVE CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Fondazione per la Scuola, Italy
The autonomy granted to schools and teachers in the Italian education system is a great enabler of change: especially in terms of teaching methodologies and strategies, teachers are free to use virtually whatever approach they please in the classroom. Schools have autonomy over their timetable structure, use of school space, and even curricula. One of the principles behind this autonomy is that schools in high-performing education systems should be able to change their educational practices to better meet the needs of the communities they serve and, as a consequence, enhance student performance. This autonomy theoretically should also enable teachers to make the most of opportunities offered by methodological and technological innovation. Lastly, autonomy should also enable schools to react rapidly in response to emergencies, such as the school closures made necessary by COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.
Though teacher-driven and whole-school approaches to innovation have been applied successfully in the Italian system, several factors show that the system as a whole is failing both at making long-term changes necessary to teach students the skills they need to thrive in the future, and at making the rapid, short-term changes needed to face emergencies such as COVID-19.
According to the DESI index, Only 22% of Italians possess advanced digital skills (compared to the EU average of 33%). This can be seen two ways: firstly, it means that the Italian education system has not been able to make the adjustments necessary to equip citizens with the skills they will need to thrive in the future; secondly, this means that it is unlikely that teachers possess the digital skills they need to make the most of ICT-enabled innovation in the classroom, nor to adequately help their students develop digital skills of their own.
The Riconnessioni project, developed and delivered by Fondazione per la Scuola della Compagnia di San Paolo in Turin, has spent the last 3 years running a city-wide initiative around ICT-enabled bottom-up education reform which has engaged more than 1500 teachers in intensive CPD courses and connected more than 350 school buildings to fiber-optic broadband. Riconnessioni represents a model for building capacity around teacher agency and digital pedagogy which aims to help schools make the most of their autonomy: in the long turn, to enable bottom-up education reform, and in the short-term, to foster readiness and resilience in the system. The project’s results in Turin show how cutting-edge teacher training and infrastructure can enable schools to take giant leaps into the future.
THE CONTRIBUTION OF STUDENT DIFFERENT ICT EXPERTISE TO THEIR MATHEMATICS RESULTS IN 8TH-GRADE
In recent decades, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has radically transformed our daily lives, work, and social relationships. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has made the value of ICT-related skills even more salient, from school to work and even to services, including health-related services. Hence, trying to understand how today's young people are prepared for this new challenge is crucial. The IEA’s (International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement) ICILS (International Computer and Information Literacy Study) survey aims to collect data to provide the education systems with a better understanding of the phenomenon and thus develop programs in line with the changes taking place. The survey focuses on how students develop digital and information skills, i.e. the ability to collect, manage, evaluate and share digital information, as well as their understanding of issues related to the safe and responsible use of electronic information across different countries.
In the last decades, the Italian National Institute for Educational Evaluation (INVALSI) has implemented national standardized tests in various disciplines and grades. For this study, the mathematics test at the end of the 8th grade was used.
Method. The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between ICILS results at the beginning, and the national test results in mathematics at the end of the school year. 2,455 eighth-grade students participating in both ICILS and the national assessment in the school year 2018-2019 were considered.
Latent profile analysis (LPA) with one distal outcome, using MPLUS software, was used to create homogeneous groups of the level of expertise in using ICT: Students answered the CIL (Computer and Information Literacy) cognitive test and the international questionnaire that included questions about their experience and use of computers and ICT to complete a range of different tasks in school and out of school, and their use of ICT for different purposes. Three latent categorical variables were identified: students with 1) low, 2) medium, and 3) high expertise in using ICT.
The three categorical variables were then used as independent variables to predict the mathematics results. The student socio-economic and cultural index (SES) and the student gender were used as covariates.
Results. After taking into account the students’ SES and gender, the results evidenced that students with a higher level of expertise at the beginning of the school year 2018-2019 (October 2018) had better results in mathematics at the end of the school year (April 2019). Based on the analyses performed, some possible implications for the Italian school system are discussed, such as the importance of integrating the development of ICT skills in the school curriculum.
Fraillon, J., J. Ainley, W. Schulz, T. Friedman, and D. Duckworth. 2019. Preparing for Life in a Digital World: The IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study 2018 International Report. New York: Springer.
Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2009). Mplus. Statistical analysis with latent variables. User's guide, 7.
INVALSI (2019). Rapporto prove INVALSI 2019.
TOWARD INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE USE OF PARTICIPATORY PLATFORMS. RESEARCH EXPERIENCES PROMOTED BY FONDAZIONE REGGIO CHILDREN
1Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2Fondazione Reggio Children-Centro Loris Malaguzzi
The importance of taking clear steps in designing online learning, rethinking the roles of teachers and students in digital interactive experiences and the limitations and possibilities of online learning, have been debated in the scientific context (Verawardina et. al., 2020), given the sudden changes imposed by the COVID19 pandemic. This contribution aims at describing recent experimentations developed by the research project Scintillae, jointly promoted by the Fondazione Reggio Children-Centro Loris Malaguzzi and The LEGO Foundation, and discusses possible ways to design online workshops based on co-construction and children and adult’s engagement in hybridized practices. The experiences that will be described were intended to create and offer contexts where the creative power of play and digital tools generate ideas, connections and new knowledge. In particular, the digital dimension was intended as a new interpretative context of the Hundred languages theory (Malaguzzi,1987). Learning contexts were designed by referring to an idea of technology diffused and integrated, involving children in the active investigation and “movement” between digital, analogue tools and expressive languages, exploring new digital alphabets. The idea that learning contexts are diversified spaces open knowledge to complexity and contemporaneity. During the online workshops designed and proposed by the research team, the active role of the young students in the co-creation of learning processes through technologies was emphasized. In fact, the use of participatory and collaborative platforms was aimed at sustaining children and young students’ interconnected creative strategies as the element that defines learning processes. Participatory platforms became, sometimes by “streching" them, a larger space where collective progettazione could take place.
When using digital technologies in educational contexts, children often interact with them, but do not create with them (Resnick, 2017). In order to foster the authenticity of the experience in media environments, the research group considered, in particular, elements such as wonder, unpredictability, creative invention and the use of imaginative and aesthetic faculties. This inter-relational and interactive paradigm intends to promote a critical and diverse use of digital tools. The central value given to interrelation and empathy in cognitive processes places once again the theme of the human body and digital embodiment at the centre of the pedagogical debate. On these issues this research remains open.
More broadly, the contribution aims to share a framework sustaining the dimensions of curiosity, experimentation and interpretation in media environments that constitute the founding elements of the construction of meaning inside an ecological and holistic thinking.
Malaguzzi, L. (1987). The hundred languages of children. I cento linguaggi dei bambini: The hundred languages of children [Exhibition Catalogue] (1st ed.). City of Reggio Emilia Department of Education, 16-19.
Resnick, M. (2017). Lifelong Kindergarten. Cultivating creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers and Play. Cambridge Massachusetts, MIT Press.
Rinaldi, C. (2018). Prefazione. In A. Raffone (Ed.), La Città Educante. Metodologie e tecnologie innovative a servizio delle Smart Communities. Napoli: Liguori, 1-3.
Verawardina, U., Asnur, L., Lubis, A. L., Hendriyani, Y., Ramadhani, D., Dewi, I. P., & Sriwahyuni, T. (2020). Reviewing online learning facing the COVID-19 outbreak. Talent Development & Excellence, 12.