On Tuesday and Wednesday, September 10th and 11th 2019, the INTELed multiplier events took place at CESIE (https://cesie.org/), in Palermo, Italy, aiming to disseminate the theoretical and pedagogical framework of INTELed, as well as to spread the best practices collected in each school and related to the use of multisensory games in education.
The event was attended by 40 pre-service and in-service teachers from general education (working with SEN children in mixed classrooms), who were interested in finding out more about embodied learning, educational robotics and STEM lab.
A presentation of the Teacher Professional Development Programme (INTELed TPD) took place, followed by the test of the embodied learning games: Angle Game, Math Mage and Word Mage, by Kinect.
Laura La Scala (Project manager, CESIE) presented an overview of the project and led a brainstorming activity with the participants. Posing them questions, teachers openly discuss about:
- The importance of movement in teaching and learning;
- Best practices in the use of technology at school;
- How such activities (with or without the use of technology) promote inclusive education.
The main findings are resumed here below:
1) The importance of movement in teaching and learning: movement is very important especially for those pupils whose studies are based on static ways of learning. In some of the participant schools, students use software and internet applications to manage their daily activities. The result is a lower sensitivity of the pupils to external inputs, a lower ability to receive inputs, so lower sensory abilities in general. It would therefore be necessary to re-adapt these students to the use of the body as a tool for learning, so as to improve their sensory abilities.
2) Best practices in the use of technology at school: many Italian schools don’t have so much technologies, and they still work using Erickon lessons plans. As for the use of technology, the technological board (LIM) is preferred as well as the touch screen and the use of tablets. Some of the technological and game-based platform currently used by Italian teachers are: Kahoot (for middle school); Socrative (for high school); Edmondo (for both teachers and students). In most cases, students lead these activities in a peer-to-peer approach where SEN students are assisted and help by their classmates. The Italian Ministry of Education (MIUR) has also launched a plan for integrating “Service Learning” into schools, in order to combine learning and services. As consequence, the participants are trained in engaging with real problems and how to solve those.
3) How such activities (with or without the use of technology) promote inclusive education: Kinect games allow students to play in pairs, so to improve interaction between students and involve SEN students in a peer-to-peer approach, helped by their classmates.
At the end of the reflective activity, all the participants agreed on the importance of movement for learning and would like to test the embodied games in their classrooms from September 2019, as well as introduce robotics in their lesson plans (beebots and ozobots).