Supporting teachers in acquiring knowledge and skills about the use of interactive and multi-sensory techniques for addressing the needs of Special Education (SEN) children

According to the European policy agenda ‘Changes in education and society place new demands on the teaching profession […], classrooms now contain a more heterogeneous mix of young people from different backgrounds and with different levels of ability and disability […]. These changes require teachers not only to acquire new knowledge and skills, but also to develop them continuously’.

 

 

Initial teacher training (teacher preparation programmes) rarely prepares teachers for working in the diverse classroom with SEN students. Teachers lack knowledge and skills on the use of innovative technology available today, which can create new learning opportunities for all. INTELed aims to advance teachers’ professional development, supporting teachers in delivering high quality teaching within complex classroom realities.

Objectives

INTELed aims to support special and general education teachers in acquiring knowledge and skills about the use of multi-sensory technology for embodied learning and assessment, for addressing the needs of SEN children in inclusive education contexts.

• This will be obtained through an innovative training method, driven by theories of embodied cognition, research on embodied learning, and the premise of multi-sensory technologies.

• The partners will work on presenting the pedagogical framework, the training model and instructional materials, and the procedures for implementation and evaluation.

• The method will be accompanied by evidence of its effectiveness through pilot studies in schools at the four partner-countries.

• The project aims to form a sustainable Community of Practice (CoP) around the INTELed method.

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Pedagogy

The pedagogical foundations of INTELed stem from the theories of embodiment and their confluence with pedagogical theories of learning, that have resulted in the ideas of embodied learning.

 

Embodied learning is a contemporary pedagogical theory of learning which emphasizes the use of the body in the educational practice. Put simply, the idea behind the pedagogical theory of embodied learning is that the body plays a significant role in shaping the mind.

 

Embodied learning as a pedagogical approach is gaining momentum due to the appearance of innovative and affordable interactive technological interfaces that enable new forms of interaction between humans and computers. At the same time, embodied learning has been largely embraced in special and inclusive educational settings, given that the characteristics of technological embodied interfaces fit well with the needs of children in such as motor impairments, Autistic Syndrome Disorder, ADHD, and other mental disabilities.

Teachers' training

The aim of the INTELed training is to advance the knowledge of in-service SEN teachers, on the use of multi-sensory and embodied technologies in terms of learning and assessment. This will be achieved by building on practical experience rather than on theoretical knowledge.

The INTELed training of in-service SEN teachers will combine modern ICT learning methods and assessment techniques with multi-sensory practices. The major concept is to provide teachers with the necessary skills that will help them integrate the multisensory and embodied technologies in their educational practices.

The INTELed Teachers’ Professional Development (TPD) model will be grounded on spiral curriculum in order to expand the teachers’ knowledge and improve their skill level.

Community of Practice

One of the main aims of the project is to establish and help sustain a CoP around INTELed in all languages of the consortium. The community platform will facilitate the communication and collaboration among SEN teachers and other interested stakeholders, hence supporting teachers’ ongoing professional development

 

This effort will also contribute to the dissemination of relevant educational materials and resources beyond what is offered on the INTELed website (i.e., training materials etc.), of reflections and experiences from the INTELed implementations and school pilots.

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Our team

The INovative Training via Embodied Learning and multi-sensory techniques for inclusive Education (INTELed) consortium is composed by four partners (Cyprus University of Technology via the Social Computing Research Center, University of Piraeus Research Center, CESIE, University of Valladolid) to facilitate professional development and research activities with the involvement of special and general education teachers, educational technologists and educational researchers in four countries (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain). The consortium members have extensive expertise on innovative pedagogical approaches in inclusive education, which are based on interactive technologies and multi-sensory techniques and are driven by research on embodied learning.

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