A series of activities planned for achieving the project purpose includes the systematic introduction of information and communication technology into the teaching and learning process and the creation of digital educational content. In accordance with the purpose of the e-Schools project, the aim of this result is to integrate the contemporary teaching and learning methods into the educational process.
The integration plan includes the following:
- Creation of digital educational content (DEC) which accompanies the subject curriculum
- Creation of learning scenarios – a type of lesson preparation through which the teachers will acquire the skills of integrating digital educational materials, digital tools and contemporary teaching and learning methods into their educational practices
- Improvement and redesign of the e-Laboratory as a central place for the research, testing and selection of digital tools
- Improvement and expansion of the required reading and other digital literary material on the e-Lektire website.
Target beneficiaries of the results are teachers and students of natural science subjects (chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics) in the 7th and 8th grades of primary school and 1st and 2nd grades of grammar school.
Developed and available digital educational content
In order to encourage the application of the ICT which would improve the teaching and learning process, suitable digital educational content for students and science teachers (chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics) in the 7th and 8th grades of primary school and 1st and 2nd grades of grammar school will be developed within the pilot project.
The use of digital educational content will enable the teachers to prepare and organise classes in a flexible, creative and innovative way, and in accordance with the needs and abilities of their students. Used in combination with education technologies, equipment and software, digital educational content will enable the application of contemporary teaching and learning methods, student-centred learning, teacher autonomy in the selection of methods and strategies for achieving the learning outcomes and a more flexible lesson structure.
The preparation and creation of DEC and the application of ICT in education will be in coordination with the development phases of the new Croatian primary and secondary school curriculum, and the created content will comply with the learning and teaching, as well as evaluation, approaches and methods, which will be defined within the curriculum and the curricular documents.
Digital educational content will be offered to its users through a central national repository, which will be independent of the content creator, thus becoming the single point of access to such content, whether it be from schools or from homes.
In the framework of digital educational content development activities, the Working Group for Digital Educational Content Criteria has developed a document called Proposal of Criteria and Recommendations for the Creation of High-quality Digital Educational Content. To additionally raise the level of quality of the criteria proposal, a public consultation was organised through an online form which was available until 17 January 2016.
The public consultation was opened by a webinar in which Ms. Sonja Lušić Radošević, Head of the Working Group, presented the document creation process, that is, the work of the Working Group, as well as the Proposal of Criteria document. A video and a presentation from the webinar held on 17 December 2015 are available via the link.
For the purposes of promotion and implementation of an innovative ICT-supported pedagogical approach which, contrary to the previous classic methods of knowledge transfer, base on an interactive educational strategy, teachers should be systematically empowered, both for the basics of using a particular technology and digital educational content, and for the effective integration of technology into the existing teaching and learning curricula, through the mastering and application of educational methods and teaching and learning trends of the 21st century.
Learning scenarios will be created as an encouragement for teachers to use technology and digital educational content in classes. A learning scenario is a document developed in accordance with the provided model form, representing an educational activity whose objective is to achieve the previously determined educational goals and including innovative, ICT-supported teaching and learning methods.
The learning scenarios will thoroughly cover specific curricular topics, with teachers receiving suggestions as to which technology, digital teaching materials or digital tools would most effectively support the particular educational method, all with the aim of successfully achieving the defined learning outcomes.
A total of 240 learning scenarios for chemistry, biology, mathematics and physics for the 7th and 8th grades of primary school and the 1st and 2nd grades of grammar school will be designed, created, tested, revised and corrected. Learning scenarios will include three levels (beginner, medium and advanced) and will thus be adjusted to all teachers, regardless of their level of digital competence. Since one of the objectives is to encourage teachers to create their own learning scenarios, a template learning scenario document will be prepared.
In order to ensure the best possible quality of the scenarios and their better applicability in the teaching and learning process, a part of the scenarios will be evaluated and revised during their creation in accordance with the feedback information from teachers which will apply the scenarios in classes.
The created learning scenarios will be gathered in a digital teachers’ guide, which will be offered to teachers through the central national repository together with the learning scenario document template.
e-Laboratory – the central place for the research, testing and selection of digital tools
Systematic teacher education and training represent the basis for implementing ICT in education. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure clear and simple access to information concerning digital tools, as specified in the learning scenarios, as well as access to information concerning all other current digital tools, systems and applications for use in the field of e-learning, which can be integrated in the teaching and learning process.
This was precisely the purpose of improving the e-Laboratory, the central website for publishing the mapped and tested current digital tools that are available on the Internet. Through frequent communication with the end users, their applicability in the teaching and learning process will be examined, the most effective and most functional tools will be selected, they will be reviewed and guides for using them will be created.
In addition to this, the e-Laboratory will include recommendations and good practice examples for the use of particular tools prepared by experienced teachers.
The e-Laboratory will also be used to regularly follow news in connection with digital tools and to timely provide its users with current and useful information; as necessary, particular tools would be localized into the Croatian language.
Within the pilot project, the teachers will also have access to interactive measuring instruments (sensors) as uniform solutions for school laboratories. The use of interactive measuring instruments raises learning to the level of research, and encourages the collaboration between the participants of the educational process, as well as the cross-curricular correlation.
The pilot project will include the web publishing of the numerous complete works of Croatian and foreign authors from the required reading list for primary and secondary schools.