WEB BASED PBL TRAINING TO IMPROVE HEADMASTERS SKILLS AND PROMOTE AN ‘INNOVATIVE SCHOOL’
Consorzio For.Com. - Formazione per la Comunicazione (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:As a result of the school autonomy and increased financing chances, the headmasters' workload has expanded (OECD Improving School Leadership-08). Notably, EU secondary schools have enhanced their research/innovation actions and increased their participation in networks among schools. In this context AHEAD project seeks to offer to EU headmasters the opportunity to access practical training by developing and testing an e-learning path focusing on the skills needed to carry out research and innovative initiatives at school.
In detail, the course covers the skills necessary to build a team able to carry out research and innovation, as well as to promote the cooperation among different European countries encouraging the creation of schools networks.
The course designed for headmasters comprises both didactic modules to increase theoretical knowledge and Problem-Based Learning (PBL) cases to develop practical skills. In addition further case study/scenarios produced as a project work by the attending headmasters will be uploaded on the PBL repository.
The innovative aspect of the AHEAD didactic model is the combination of three learning approaches, the web based PBL, the peer training and the self-learning, by merging them into an integrated training model supported by use of the ICT tools. In detail the didactic model intends to apply three methodologies, as follows:
- Problem-Based Learning: to increase headmasters’ practical skills by delivering online contents and promoting virtual PBL sessions through the communication tools hosted by the e-learning platform.
- Peer-to-peer learning: to increase headmasters’ lifelong learning opportunities by creating a community of practice through the PBL Repository, which is an on line environment where headmasters can upload cases based on their own experiences and jointly discuss and solve problems.
- Self-direct learning: to promote headmasters’ self learning by providing them with the Self-learning toolkit which includes the necessary instructions and tools to apply the AHEAD didactic model, develop cases/scenarios and arrange further PBL sessions.
The PBL methodology will foster a greater cooperation among headmasters allowing them to share their professional experiences through the study and analysis of real cases and the peer training opportunity. PBL basic motivation is rooted in the fact that participants can develop the ability to use fact (their knowledge) to solve problems. Knowledge is considered as a mean, but not as a final achievement. Specifically, they do not learn about problems but they are challenged by them in order to agree on a solution. What is changing in a PBL approach is the “angle”, the assumptions of the teaching activity: neither a pure lecture based training activity or a practical on the job training, nor a work based training but a learning strategy which exploits cognitive and metacognitive approach.
The AHEAD project was designed to help schools grow in the changing environment where they operate. Over the last two decades schools were confronted with the necessity to become professional and self-directed organizations seeking regularity in managing skills of public funding for education and looking for quality of teaching. Schools face increasing urgency to provide their headmasters with new managerial skills in order to successfully participate in international exchanges and projects thus allowing teachers and students to teach and learn from mutual experiences.
Keywords: Problem Based Learning, Peer to Peer learning, Self-directed Learning, School Management.