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G. Chiappini, G. Cozzani

Istituto per le Tecnologie Didattiche - CNR (ITALY)
In the Italian educational system, as in many other educational system, a relevant percentage of students show difficulties in math at any school level, and in particular in secondary education (see for example the results of PISA 2012). The poor results registered in math learning require deep changes in the way in which math is taught in school. To improve the quality of education and to bring out the better of the mathematical potentiality in every student, recent documents and guideline of UNESCO states that it is necessary to make math education more ‘inclusive’ (see for example, UNESCO, 2009, Policy Guidelines on Inclusion in Education,

In Italian school context the term inclusion is often associated with student who have special educational needs (impairments, social and cultural disadvantage, specific learning disorder). However, students with difficulties in mathematics are much more numerous than those with special educational needs. In a much more appropriate way, in the UNESCO document the notion of inclusion is about the education of all students and is aimed at recognizing, accepting and valorizing the differences that exist among students (different background, learning stile, abilities…)
Talk about education for all in the place of special educational needs determines a real reversal of paradigm.

For a teacher this means to move from a conception that consider the causes of the difficulty in math learning as due to something that is lacking in the students to a conception that consider the causes of the difficulties as due to barriers to learning and participation characterizing the actual didactical practice.

This entails that the teacher takes upon him/herself the responsibility of inclusion and operates to elaborate a didactical practice based on principals of the Universal Instructional Design (UID) with the aim to minimize the barriers to learning and participation in mathematics. UID offers principals to design a curriculum (courses, materials, activities, environments) that is accessible and applicable to students with different learning styles, abilities and background maximizing learning for all students and minimizing the need for individual accommodation. Principals of UID are expressed in general terms and have to be declined in relation to the necessity of the discipline to be taught.

In this work we present the methodology that we have developed to apply the principles of UID and to realize an inclusive teaching of mathematics through the use of digital technology.

This methodology is based on the analysis of:
• the characteristics of students’ cognitive and metacognitive functioning in the use of numbers, calculation and mathematical symbols;
• the obstacles (epistemological, cognitive and didactical) that may arise in relation to the learning objectives to be pursued;
• the potential that digital technology offers on the rehabilitative, compensatory, conceptual and communicative plan with respect to the mathematical knowledge to be taught;
• the forms of assistance(modeling, contingency management, feeding-back, questioning, instructing, cognitive structuring) that can be used to support the students' performance and mediate their learning processes.