1 University of Florence (ITALY)
2 Istituto Nazionale per la Valutazione del Sistema educativo di istruzione e di formazione (INVALSI) (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 4301-4307
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.1046
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Education systems all over the world are constantly pushed to adapt to society's changing needs. Initial teacher education is also a complex activity to design and manage, with an increasing number of stakeholders and numerous levels of government. Teachers' knowledge development is not an isolated phase that happens during university study, but it is rather part of a longer and more dynamic process along a lifelong learning continuum (Musset, 2010). Professional development programmes can impact positively on teaching and learning processes: teachers with greater preparation are more confident and successful with pupils than those who are not given sufficient tools and knowledge and this can make a substantial difference in what children learn (Darling-Hammond, 2000).

Since its launch in 2013 as part of the university training pathway for pre-service Italian teachers, the "eTwinning for Future Teachers - Initial Teachers Education (ITE)" initiative has grown significantly all over Europe. In this regard, Italy represents a good example of the initiative’s relevance as it occupies the first place in Europe both in terms of quantity and relevance of the experience, with more than 20 universities participating and over 12.000 university students involved (INDIRE, 2021). eTwinning in particular concerns increasingly important topics for teacher training recommended in European countries' educational and social policies (ET2020 Working Group on Schools Policy, 2015): from multilingualism to innovative didactics, the ethical use of digital devices for teaching and self-training and school collaboration. Previously, surveys on the teaching and digital competencies of eTwinners were undertaken (Fabbro, Ranieri & Imbimbo, 2021), as well as distance learning imposed by the Covid 19 pandemic (Fila et al., 2021).

The present study is part of a broader research project on the dissemination and implementation of ITE in Higher Education in Italy. The study aims to identify practices and organisational models in use in five universities, as well as potentials and lines of development accompanying the integration of eTwinning in initial teacher education. The specific objective guiding the research is to find out in different contexts what the benefits and criticalities of the eTwinning initiative are in terms of organising and managing Higher Education for future teachers. In this research study, data collected through 21 in-depth semi-structured interviews with various stakeholders and analytic procedures of the multiple evaluation case study (Yin, 2003) are the main source of evidence. From stakeholders’ perspective, the most significant advantage of joining ITE is the expansion of the collaboration network in the national and worldwide academic communities, as well as in the educational system. Collaboration between students, schools and universities takes various forms, adjusting to the needs and requirements of institutions and leveraging training or partnership possibilities to allow students to receive international exchange experiences as part of their degree programme.
Pre-service Teacher Experiences, Undergraduate Education, Multiple Case Study, Higher Education.