Sapienza University and the research on Salvemini pilot courses

What’s done so far

In the past few months, Sapienza University supported Salvemini School in realizing 4 pilot courses, which involved 6 teachers and about 80 students. In the first step, the researchers have dealt with the teachers’ training, which included some meetings devoted to the illustration of the trialogical approach and the drafting of pedagogical scenarios, some others to the guidance on tools and online environments to be used. More details about the courses will be delivered from the teachers themselves in the next week. Here we want to summarize the research side, by describing data collected and some preliminary results.

During the trial, data were collected through: 1. a semi-structured questionnaire for teachers and students aimed at promoting their self-evaluation about the trial and the effect of technology; 2. researchers’ field notes written during the classroom activities 3. video-observations of the classroom activities 4. online diaries filled in by teachers and students.

Some Results

From teachers’ questionnaire, it emerged that technologies are conceived as an essential tool to promote collaboration, create new knowledge and support effective work with a considerable saving of time; nevertheless, they are seen as a distraction for students with already existing motivational issues. Main difficulties are experienced regarding time-management and internet connection, as well as to – what teachers called – an unexpected low students’ technological literacy.  However, technologies are globally seen as a positive innovation, with a particular enthusiasm for tools like Google Drive because it allows to support students in a targeted manner and in real time.

At the end of the trial, a semi-structured questionnaire for students and teachers has been administrated. From the analysis we found:

  • Teachers believe they all implemented the model successfully, promoting the type of collaboration they had in mind and well exploiting technology opportunities. They especially appreciated the full collaboration between all involved actors, exceeding expectations (given the structural and personal technological limits); the importance of continuous feedback; the value of a discreet and not-conditioning observation. They think about the next implementation “with optimism and a desire to learn more about some tools, considering them as a mean to stimulate attention and interest of the less motivated and ‘difficult’ students
  • Students are also satisfied. The majority of them thinks many skills and competencies have been enhanced , particularly group working around a specific goal, ability to collaboratively create products, learning how to use technology during group work in ways that they had not thought of before, knowing how to seek and find information useful to the work group. Generally, the positive aspects identified from students are mainly related to the possibility to know and learn how to use new tools, to study in an innovative and engaging way, to have constant support from researchers and teachers.

Field notes, diaries and videos are now being analyzed through applying a quali-quantitative analysis, based on the creation of specific codebook, which the researchers finalized starting from the data observed and guided by the principles of the trialogical approach. Findings from each data analysis will be triangulated in order to grasp the complexity of the observed phenomena and to provide specific feedback to the teachers willing to apply the approach again.

Next, we aim to find a way to look to all data in an integrated way, thus recomposing the trialogical approach. Indeed, we consider each type of data as coming from a specific point of view, all together representing the trialogicality, in particular:

  1. Questionnaires and diaries > individual subject, personal perception and reflection about the activities;
  2. Field notes > learning community, observed in terms of interaction, collaboration, roles, etc.;
  3. Video-observations > the mediating tools and how they support the developing of shared objects;
  4. Pedagogical scenario and shared objects > representing the authentic use of the object.

What’s next

At the moment, we are negotiating a date to re-start the activity at the Salvemini and to eventually illustrate the overall results we have just shortly reported here.

Furthermore, we have just begun some new trials with:

  • Sapienza University courses on Pedagogy and Educational Psychology,
  • University of Bari,
  • 2 new high schools in Rome,
  • 1 in Bari. 

One thought on “Sapienza University and the research on Salvemini pilot courses

  1. The Salvemini School began to collaborate with the transnational project Promoting Knowledge Work Practices in Education in February 2014 through, at first, a training phase on the trialogical approach, followed by the creation of an “object” to propose to the class that has to be used in an “authentical” way.
    The four project ideas, in four different class councils, have been supported by some phases of implementation:
    • preparation of a planning sheet
    • discussions and debates with the representatives of the University after the observation of the teaching/learning process into the classroom
    • preparation of a draft of the pedagogical scenary
    • beginning of the classroom activities through the techniques of progressive inquiry in support of interaction/discussion between peers and Jigsaw (Puzzle), in support of teamwork, with the drafting of a logbook (pupils and teachers)
    • compilation of the monitoring questionnaire on its activity in June (pupils and teachers)

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