1 Pegaso Online University (ITALY)
2 University of Rome "Foro Italico" (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 7996-8001
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.1614
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
In Italy, the training of special education teachers in 2020 had to face some specific issues due to the spread of the COVID 19. One of the major concerns was the internship of these teachers, which could not be performed in classrooms and school centres due to schools and universities remaining closed for lockdown of all activities.
The training of support teachers in Italy takes place in specific master courses held by individual universities. In the period of COVID-19, in these courses, the most diverse methodologies have been used to make trainee teachers carry out the training activities. Because of the difficulty of adopting a system of tutoring in presence, some universities have adopted solutions based on the use of virtual and distance learning platforms.

This study aims to deepen the problem of distance learning platforms for tutoring and the internship of special education teachers training by comparing them and highlighting their advantages and disadvantages compared to face-to-face/in presence tutoring. The study aims to understand not only whether these platforms are effective and meet the approval of teachers but also to identify an effective model for their distance tutoring.

In deepening these issues, we will analyze the results of a case study conducted at the University of Rome Foro Italico, Italy, in which some virtual platforms (mainly Flipgrid) were used for tutoring and the internship of special education teachers. The data were collected through three main phases. In the first phase, a survey questionnaire online containing also items based on the Likert scale was administered to a sample of 287 support teachers attending the specific master course at Foro Italico University. In the second phase, we have conducted 4 focus groups, and in the third one, 20 trainee teachers from the course with specific characteristics were in-depth interviewed. The data were then statistically processed with the Stata software for data analysis. Also, a textual and frequency analysis was conducted through the Voyant Tools software.

The data were then interpreted and compared. The results from data allowed to obtain some concept maps and information pieces useful to understand the effectiveness of the virtual training platforms for special education teachers used to conduct the case study. Through the data collected, at the end of the study, a possible technically effective e-tutoring model for special education teachers was sketched, and the pedagogical principles on which this model should be based were also identified.
e-tutorship, special education teachers, e-learning, COVID-19.