THE INITIATIVE PROMOTER’S PERSPECTIVE
The information for the Case Study was collected during an interview with Simonetta Leonardi,
teacher at the “Istituto Comprensivo Assisi 3”, Italy. Simonetta Leonardi represents the promoting institution of the “Amelis” project.
The background of the “Amelis” project is represented by the national programme “Innovascuola”, whose aim was to introduce the interactive blackboard in the practice of teaching and learning foreign languages. The “Istituto Comprensivo Assisi 3” developed the Amelis project in close cooperation with other 9 schools and participated to the “Innovascuola” Programme. The AMELIS project aims to approach Italian language as second language (L2) and English language as foreign language (LS), creating a synergy among Italian and foreign students. The process of learning is realized through an interactive blackboard which offers recreational activities with a strong linguistic impact.
The project target groups are Italian and foreign students of primary school.
The project target languages are Italian, English and in some case also Chinese.
The Amelis project aims to approach Italian language as second language (L2) and English language as foreign language (LS), creating a synergy among Italian and foreign students. In addition, the Amelis project intends to develop the competences of the teachers.
The process of learning is realized through an interactive blackboard which offers recreational activities with a strong linguistic impact. Each school has chosen to develop different contents of the curriculum . For each topic has been created some Learnig Object, 10 for each school taking part, for a total of 100 L.O. A selection of these L.O. composed by 8 digital resources is available on http://lte-unifi.net/innova/ . The section is related to 8 different conceptual areas: colours, space, time and seasons, social relations, reading, fairies and tales, holidays. Each unit develops exercises and interactive activities for the students and a methodological dossier for the teachers. All the schools involved participated in a circular modality and the contents produced have been uploaded on the online platform. A methodological guide, resulting from the practical experience, has been uploaded too. 10 different schools participated in the project, involving 865 students and 75 teachers. Those activities were realised under the supervision of the Laboratory of Educative Technologies that has drawn the project, provided training for teachers and managed the Moodle eLearning platform.
The “Amelis” project has followed different steps: the training of the teachers, the production of interactive materials (also called “learning objects”), the upload of the produced material on the project portal and the sharing with other schools, the testing phase of the learning objects, the class trial at the presence of two teachers, the production of online tutorial about the use of the interactive blackboard, the creation of a Wiki.
More than 100 learning objects have been produced and uploaded on the project web site and on the “Innovascuola” platform. Those materials are now managed by the Minister of Education and shared among different schools and teachers. In addition, the project participated to a national award for the best learning objects receiving a special mention by the judging Commission.
“Istituto Comprensivo Assisi 3”, the “Amelis” project promoter, decided to submit the application for the European Language Label because it strongly believed in such an innovative project.
Results confirmed the impressions linked to the candidature. First of all, teachers were positively impressed by this award, which officially certified their work. Some of these teachers already won the European Language Label in 2007 with the “More English, more computer science” project (http://ec.europa.eu/education/language/label/index.cfm?fuseaction=ProjDetail&ID=6684&lang=EN&awardtype=P). The Label received in 2009 was an additional confirmation of their activities. Also, the project obtained a great visibility, as the learning objects were chosen by the Ministry of Education.
The institution put the Label logo on its portal as an added value for its activities. This symbolic recognition, whose effects are more qualitative than quantitative, constituted the best “visible face” to be shown to old and new partners.
Thanks to the award, the project obtained a better national and international visibility and guaranteed a greater participation by teachers who did not take part into the project. Also, the project had an effect on the innovative equipment of the school, which passed from 3 to 17 interactive blackboards: another evident sign of the success of Amelis. Finally, the European Language Label represented the best way to present the activities carried out by the school.
In order to develop a quality project in the field of Language learning, the “Istituto Comprensivo Assisi 3” advices to start from a clear idea which should be set into the concreteness of the activities of the school. Then, it is necessary to have a deep sensibility about foreign languages and their role in modern reality.
According to the project promoter, to disseminate the European Language Label (local and national communication, exploitation of the logo, participation to celebrative events) is the best way to exploit it, because the background of a successful initiative may represent the first step towards further awards.
THE NELLIP NETWORK’S PERSPECTIVE
The NELLIP Network selected the “Amelis” project for its consistency with the political priorities of the European Commission in the field of language learning. In particular, the Amelis” project focuses on teacher training, getting them accustomed with the interactive blackboards and the learning objects. Also the projects promotes a new approach to language teaching and learning using modern technologies as an alternative tool to classroom based teaching activities.
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