School staffs’ digital training and competencies, multidisciplinary competencies, and needs related to the use of inclusive facilitator technology in Cyprus, Finland, and Spain: Results from phase I of the SHIFT project

Tutkimustuotos: Kirja/lehti/raporttiTutkimusraporttiTieteellinen

Abstrakti

This report is part of the co-funded Erasmus+ project SHIFT (Schools Harnessing Inclusive Facilitator Technology). The main aim of the project is to develop methods and learning paths for school staffs’ evaluation of the transfer of digital training into the inclusive classroom. The first phase of the project included the identification of ICT standards, digital competencies derived from training, multidisciplinary competencies of both teaching staff and educational support staff, along with the identification of inclusion needs. In order to accomplish these goals, a questionnaire study was conducted in February and March 2020. A total of 583 school staff members including principals, teaching staff, and educational support staff responded to the questionnaire in the three participating countries Cyprus (n = 318), Finland (n = 146), and Spain (n = 119). The results of the study linked to each of the four goals for this phase of the project are presented below. Identified digital competencies derived from training The majority of the respondents across the three countries had received training in the use of the internet and general software (79 %), whereas 48 % had received training in the equipment-specific use of general technology such as laptops and computers. Training in the use of apps and games in the current context had been received by about one third of the respondents (31 %), whereas training in the use of multimedia production tools was lower (21 %). The majority of respondents (37 % often to very often and 34 % sometimes) reported that they apply the skills and knowledge gained from training in order to facilitate inclusion in the classroom, however, 39 % considered the training and competencies derived from it to be insufficient for applying digital tools for inclusion facilitative purposes. Furthermore, only an average of 10 % had received training in the use of new technology and 9 % in assistive technology. Regarding training received related to the use of digital tools to facilitate inclusion in the classroom, about one third of school staff members reported that they had received training in the pedagogical use of digital tools (34 %) and 18 % reported that they had received training in the use of digital tools to facilitate assessment and diagnosis. With regard to students with different characteristics and needs, 9 % of the school staff members had received training in the use of digital tools to facilitate inclusion of students with special educational needs and 6 % had received training in the inclusion of immigrant students. Only 3 % of the respondents had received training in using digital tools to facilitate inclusion of students with problematic school absence and 2 % reported that they had received training in the inclusion of students with low-socio economic background Furthermore, the respondents reported encountering barriers to participation in training, such as time limitations (53 %), the fact that this kind of training is rarely offered (31 %) and the training being too expensive (22 %). The lack of incentives (21 %), lack of employer support (18 %), and conflicts with the work schedule (16 %) were further barriers, which the school staff had encountered. Identified ICT standards and digital competencies The majority of respondents reported using general technology (88 %) and multimedia software (such as power point and different editing programs) (64 %). The use of other digital tools reported by about half of the respondents included online resources, digital games, apps, and mobile technology. The use of digital books, social media, and multimedia technology were reported by about 30-40 % of the respondents and less than 17 % reported using assistive features of general technology, assistive or supportive technology or new technology. However, the availability of these kinds of technologies in schools was low (5 %) compared to that of general technology (> 90 %), which might partly explain the low level of application. Using digital tools to foster social aspects of inclusion (such as communication and collaboration) on a general level was quite common. However, the results indicate a need for support and training in the use of digital tools to facilitate academic inclusion as well as in facilitating emotional wellbeing, positive behaviour, empathy, and openness to diversity. Only a minority of respondents across the three countries reported that they use digital tools to facilitate inclusion of students with different characteristics, particularly students with problematic school absence and students with different cultural and linguistic background compared to the mainstream. Identified multidisciplinary inclusive work and competencies Across the three countries, 51 % of the respondents reported that their school utilizes multidisciplinary teams in order to facilitate inclusion of students in the classroom. About 25 % (n = 147) of the respondents were part of multidisciplinary teams at the time of the study. According to the majority of these respondents (over 80 %), multidisciplinary teams were composed of principals, special education teachers, school psychologists and school counselors. Parents, students and class teachers were also involved according to more than 50% of the 147 respondents. Less than 9 % reported the involvement of other professionals, such as school assistants, special educational support staff, social workers and social integration facilitators, speech therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, the school nurse, tutor teacher or school coaches. Of the main functions of the multidisciplinary teams, diagnosis and assessment of students constituted 25 %, the evaluation of student progress in relation to the individual student plan constituted 22 %, and the development of students’ plans constituted 21 %. Less than 17 % (100 respondents) of the multidisciplinary functions constituted of the implementation of student program (17 %) and monitoring the student in the program (14 %). Furthermore, 34% of the multidisciplinary teamwork for facilitating inclusion of students with different characteristics were with students with special educational needs, whereas 23% of the multidisciplinary teamwork focused on students with problematic school absence and low socio-economic background respectively. Only 18% focused on inclusion of students with different linguistic and cultural background. Inclusion needs Several inclusion needs related to the digital training and the digital and multidisciplinary competencies were also identified. These may be shortly summarized as needs for more frequent, focused and directed digital training explicitly targeting the inclusion of a diversity of students in the classroom; training in and use of new technology for inclusive purposes; a paradigm shift from uncritically following the curriculum to Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning (CLRT). Further needs identified were training in and use of digital tools to foster diversity awareness, reduce bullying, support mental health and to facilitate academic aspects of inclusion (such as transversal skills, math, science, language, and literacy). The results also indicated a need for increasing peer discussion regarding the use of digital tools to facilitate inclusion in the classroom.
AlkuperäiskieliEnglanti
Sivumäärä28
TilaJulkaistu - 30 kesäkuuta 2020
OKM-julkaisutyyppiO2 Other

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