O1: Design Thinking Requirements

This output implements a reflective design methodology that addresses targeted end-users and the contexts of the overall curriculum content, in which relevant tools and methodologies will be deployed. The idea of design thinking adopted, consitutes a pragmatic approach to wicked problem solving in multiple domains stemmed out of the contentless nature of design and its capacity to provide a common language of creativity and innovation to multi-disciplinary teams. The method is described as a sequence of phases linking discovery through to ideation and then prototyping. The design thinking framework goes beyond the mainstream directions of ICT use with the aid of Music and Dance to being able to apply skills and competencies in learning contexts after school. It also identifies and adopts mature technologies that provide opportunities of engaging learners in active explorations within the context of meaningful projects where they learn by creating digital artefacts. In such a setting, the project target group members could effectively pursue meaningful personal inquiries to develop rich media
artifacts and use powerful blended learning ideas such as:

  • Organisational communication: as to use digital technologies to enhance organisational communication with learners, parents and third parties.
  • Professional collaboration: to engage in collaboration with other teachers sharing and exchanging knowledge and experience and innovative pedagogical practices.
  • Reflective practice: to individually and collectively reflect on own teaching practice and that of the learning community.
  • Digital Continuous Professional Development: To use digital sources and resources for continuous professional development.

However, if knowledge is to be constructed, an appropriate reflection phase combined with explanations of the inner workings of their creations should be offered. This is the critical moment where the formal education system can enter in the scene as a catalyst to bring the tacit knowledge constructed during the creative process into the foreground. The moment for the teachers to act as facilitators to enable critical reflection. For the other peers to share with the conceptual model built during the creative process. If this stage is not present, the creative act is very difficult to go beyond an engaging tinkering. And this is where our innovative curriculum / training program with its groundbreaking techniques in music and dance blends with teachers’ digital competencies and psycho-pedagogical skills assessment for offering a novel learning experience to students.
This output will further identify teachers' new and existing digital skill competencies and psycho-pedagogical skills and also the needs for enabling music and dance-based interactions. It also surveys results of other research projects and networks, selects the most relevant ones and identifies the necessary
adaptations necessary for the rhythm4Inclusion project.

O2: Digital Competencies Assessment Framework

The aim of this output is to design and develop a model for assessing digital competencies skills and capabilities. Findings from A1.3 will be used to understand users; existing and new digital competencies skills deemed to be aligned to the art and musing training particularities. It will use the DigCompEdu framework as a guide for finding the necessary components and metrics that will enable to create a robust system for measuring and scoring the digital competencies teachers currently hold or meant to develop by identifying variation within the overarching elements already constructed as part of the DigiCompEdu.

The element of innovation is that the Framework that will be developed further extends the digital competency elements already analysed and presented in the DigiCompEdu. The key innovation however will be the realisation of as set of realistic sub-metrics necessary for assessing those digital skills and capabilities in a way that it can be used in different levels of learning and teaching. Essentially, the framework will provide a system that measures the ability to use digital technologies not only to enhance teaching but also to assess the entire spectrum of the six different areas with a total of 22 competencies complemented by any new area and competence identified beyond. This is indeed a ground-breaking innovation as it will provide the basis of using DigiCompEdu for the purpose it has been created: Evaluating teachers’ skills. 

Another innovation is that the framework is going to be integrated into the Digital Competencies dashboard to offer an anytime - anywhere visualisation and storing of the identified competencies for teachers to compare and identify areas of further improvement over future-desired educational activity.

The transferability potential will be achieved through the generalised architecture and structure of the DigiComp assessment framework which would entail assessment metrics that would be easily transferred to different educational levels and possibly to the working environment. Its scalability and compatibility with different existing skill-sets will make it an all-around Digital Skills Assessment System that could be used either online or offline. The framework could also be transferred to educational policy initiatives and especially for informing the research agenda of the EU science Hub as a tool for assessing teachers’ 21st Century Skills and Competencies.

O3: Development of Rhythm-Based Inclusion Curriculum, Piloting and Evaluation

This output leverages a growing body of research on innovating art-based interventions within schools targeting students with special educational needs. This research shows that artful strategies can be very effective if implemented by well trained teachers or professionals with the support and collaboration of school psychologists that work in an inclusive and systemic psychodynamic perspective. Positive and favorable classroom climate seems to facilitate the inclusion of students that run the danger of exclusion in a traditional classroom and enhance effective learning and a supportive teaching environment. These research results form the baseline of this output that will first of all produce a rhythm-based inclusion curriculum that will be refined and perfected after thorough piloting in the participating countries to finally inform the design and delivery of the project’s online training programme.

Starting from this output the project seeks to promote “democratization” of the learning process in inclusive education by:

  1. Distributing responsibility and control of the learning process among students, teachers and instructors in order to break traditional hierarchies in the learning process, improve learner satisfaction and enhance the impact on learner skills.
  2. Involving new actors in inclusive education - academics and artists. The guidelines on artists’ and teachers’ co-creation should at mitigating power inequalities (favoring academics) in education while enabling cross fertilization of educational and artistic domains.
  3. Facilitating the exposure of teachers and students to innovative artful practices through partnership with artists and effective communication with remote peers, which in particular will aim at improving teachers’ pedagogical knowledge on the integration of arts into their classes towards the vision of an inclusive educational framework.
  4. Integration of oral and written technical communication tasks into training, in view of fact that technical communication is a skill valued in industry.
  5. Focusing on teamwork and collaboration between students and between students and teachers, in view of the rising importance of teamwork skills in industrial and interdisciplinary innovation contexts employing also digital technologies to foster rich interactions that enrich the traditional face-to-face communication.

O4: Rythm4inclusion Online Training Programme

The online training programme will combine innovative learning and teaching techniques with interaction with the project tutors and trainees from across Europe. It will be structured in a way that will enable teachers across Europe to embed rhythm-based approaches integrating music and dance into schools to foster inclusion of students with special education needs and offering and engaging environment for creative learning experiences.

Teachers with no artistic training will be enabled to use the arts and overcome obstacles deriving from inhibitions and sense of inadequacy towards their own artistic abilities. They will gain knowledge of a method with pioneering and successful practices to use with their students.

The distance learning nature of the online training programme will expand the potential number of users from virtually any geographical area and there is already a consistent number of teachers with great expectation for the this programme from previous successful projects (such as e-ARTinED and MultiLib) that have used the same underlying platform (Coursevo) thus facilitating the inclusion of the previously developed materials (in order to be reused and extended) and participating teachers (in order to bootstrap the project’s Community of Practice).

The online training programme will be delivered by the staff of the partner institutions and tested with teachers recruited by the partners. These will be not only the trainees of the programme, but will act as evaluators and will contribute to co-create the final shape of the offered courses towards the further exploitation of project results and their reuse to support teachers even after the end of the project. Note also that the underlying platform that will be developed in Intellectual Output O5 will also offer services for live collaboration and discussions (webinars, video chat rooms) that will also enable synchronous interactions among the participating teachers as well as with teachers and psycho-pedagogical experts to evaluate the success of adopted teaching practices and provide valuable feedback and guidance to the teachers in their efforts to use music and dance for inclusion in their classrooms.

The training programme with contain 2 art-related courses (covering music and dance), a course that will address psycho-pedagogical aspects, a course on the use of digital tools to document and share teaching practices and a course on the effective design, implementation and evaluation of playful learning interventions . In total 5 courses will be designed implemented and finally evaluated with a total duration of 5 months. Finally, the participating teachers will be asked to implement the knowledge and skills acquired during these courses to design, implement and document learning interventions targeting integration of arts to promote inclusive creative learning experiences for their students. They will also apply the knowledge and skills acquired with respect to the use of digital tools for documenting their teaching practices to deliver their final reports in digital format that will be subsequently evaluated to provide final feedback for fine-tuning their practices. At the same time, this process will help in evaluating to what extend and under which circumstances it is possible to support remote teachers with psycho-pedagogical guidance on their need to address children with special needs effectively within an inclusive learning framework. This is one of the major challenges that this project tries to address so that teachers without direct contact with psycho-pedagogical experts (e.g. those working in remote schools and rural areas) can overcome these barriers and be supported effectively.

O5: Platform

This output establishes and maintains an ICT infrastructure that enables all interested parties to share, find, exchange and adapt digital learning resources related to the projects’ online training programme as well as resources that will be be developed by the participating teachers themselves during the training and beyond, thus supporting the documentation and sharing of teaching practices within the projects Community of Practice that will be supported even after the end of the project. The infrastructure provides access to digital repositories of learning resources to enable wider sharing and networking of the projects’ communities with other networks and initiatives.

It will integrate a Repository (OER) and web 2.0 communication services to enable the online training activities of the projecta and the establishment of community of practice that will enable teachers apply the methodologies of the project, exchange experiences and practices, share contents developed with their students etc.

Materials will be further elaborated to become Open Educational Resources, that will be freely accessible through the portal by storing them in its underlying repository. To ensure proper accessibility and interoperability, Open Educational Resources will conform to certain norms and will be described with appropriate metadata. The repository of Open Educational Resources will also offer a reference point to other platforms and networks interested inexploiting project results to enrich current curricula and learning activities related with the
project’s themes.

To enable the wider possible dissemination and reuse of the collected Open Educational Resources, the project will adopt Creative Commons licenses (CC) to provide certainty and clarity in the digital access and use of educational or research outputs of the project. CC simplifies enormously the administrative proceedings relative to the transaction of author copyrights. They grant to the author the possibility of designing a customized system of usage rights cession on the generated resources, allowing, for example, to establish a double system, in terms of economic rights: Free use of the resource for educative or without intention of profit uses, and at the same time, payment for use rights if the work is used with commercial aims. CC is the most spread at the present time, and centring the analysis in the educational field. It allows the design of six licenses by means of the combination of four variables. The different possible combinations allow the author to personalize the license content to regulate the use of its work.

In the framework of community building activities, particular emphasis will be given to promoting the development of communities of practice among the project's target groups. To this end, a Web2.0–enhanced community will be launched to involve all users participating in the project into a continuous process of experience exchange and of continuous collaborative learning process.