1 University of Thessaly (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 907-912
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
ET 2020 objectives include a renewed target of reducing ESL to less than 10% by 2020. While ESL causes may diverge from one community to another some key factors emerge as significant going well beyond learner school performance:socioeconomic issues, parental educational levels, attitudes towards education, social exclusion particularly for migrants, poor understanding of school curricula, insufficient training of teachers, quality of learner-parent-teacher communication and more. The above show that school is a community that involves not only teachers and learners, but also parents and extended families.

Addressing ESL requires a thorough understanding of the factors that contribute to leaving school in various contexts. It further requires strategies that address the life conditions, social web, educational background, perceptions, and resources available to learners, to their parents and families, and to their teachers. Based on the fact that ESL is a complex problem, LINC project explores the challenges faced by learners, teachers and parents and engages the all players involved in school education in specific community-building activities that fight early school leaving well before this becomes a visible risk.

The LINC project starts with the analysis of current status quo in ESL trends and existing practices for addressing or preventing early school leaving in Greece, France, Sweden and Czech Republic. In addition special focus is lied on the factors that influence drop-out behaviors in each country. Information to be analyzed includes also current practices on the use of communities for supporting educational procedures.This input leads to the development of a methodological framework for early and continuous interventions against early school leaving.

The LINC methodological framework draws upon principles for community building, experiential learning approaches, storytelling practices and blended learning design. The framework is validated in practice through the design of a set of activities and the development of a social networking community. The community aims at bringing teachers, parents and students together through inclusive activities that have been designed for joint participation. More precisely, a set of 10 blended-learning activities will be developed by the participant teachers with the support of the LINC work group. Through these activities, the participants (parents and students with teachers’ guidance) will have the opportunity to interact with intercultural content, to carry out tasks related to real life and to reflect upon the value of education. Activities aim in general to maximize parent involvement in school community, to foster positive attitudes towards intercultural communication and to improve teacher-parent-student interactions.

A variety of ICT services and tools will be integrated in the LINC community in order to promote communication and to enable interactions among the community members. The members of the community will be able to access resources in multimodal form (text, image, audio). Regular updates about scheduled meetings, workshops, seminars, cultural events, school activities will become public through the community calendar. The digital intervention for preventing ESL will be launched in June 2014. Evaluation activities will take place in an on-going manner involving teachers, parents and students in several educational sites in Greece, France, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
Digital community, Early School Leaving, parent involvement, experiential learning, activities for blended-learning, social networking tools.