Ellinogermaniki Agogi team is excited to be partner in the “Blended Learning in Schools: A Universal Design Approach” (UDL-BOE) project under the Erasmus+ programme that was only recently approved with coordinator the Trinity College Dublin.
In Spring 2020, schools around Europe closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Research reports published during this time identified several issues experienced by teachers during the rapid move to online teaching. Rsearch across the EU, highlights the increased risk of disengagement in schools that serve underrepresented communities, in which existing socio-economic disadvantage is further exacerbated by “digital poverty” among students. Stemming from these research findings, the purpose of this project is to empower teachers to develop pedagogical competences for establishing effective and engaging learning experiences in a digital space, whether as part of a blended experience or wholly online. The project aims to address two key areas: inclusion and digital pedagogical competences, with the main target group being second-level teachers. The approach will be based on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework (Cast.org), an inclusive approach to teaching and learning that offers all students an equal opportunity to fulfil their potential. This framework offers students different options for accessing, building and internalising learning. It guides teachers to provide multiple means for students to:
- engage with;
- represent; and
- action/express their learning.
A key output of this project is to provide a digital overlay to the UDL framework to scaffold teachers’ implementation of UDL principles in remote/blended contexts, such as during school closures. The other project outputs will flow from the development of this digital overlay, to provide further layers of supports for teachers to adopt digital learning principles of UDL. These include: a self-evaluation tool for teachers to identify aspects of the digital UDL framework with which they require support; an associated learning model to support teachers’ creation of digital, UDL activities that include a focus on key skills and competences; Open Educational Resources to scaffold implementation of the framework; and a professional development module which will focus on Area 5 of the DigCompEdu Framework: empowering learners through accessibility and inclusion, differentiation and personalisation. These tools will aim to support teachers and schools to develop inclusive strategies for the digital provision of teaching and learning in their own educational context, with an overarching goal of ensuring high levels of student engagement notwithstanding the mode of content delivery. The project will create a consortium of partners from Ireland, Greece, Belgium and Spain, representing a mixture of second-level teachers and education researchers, with the common aim of harnessing UDL to achieve ‘an EU-wide common understanding of how to make distance, online & blended learning effective, inclusive & engaging’ (a strategic priority of the EC Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027).
Looking forward to starting working on UDL-BOE!
Stay tuned for updates and upcoming opportunities to take part in this fascinating project and sign up for the ESIA newsletter to stay informed!