Thursday, 26 February 2015

Final conclusions and ending the project

DIP -project has come to its end and it is time to write the last post to this blog. Last autumn was a very busy time for the project and unfortunately there aren't too many blog posts from that time. The autumn was spent running the Participatory Learning and Teaching -online module and developing and disseminating the checklist for inclusive learning environments. I will try to make some conclusions from these last two activities to this blog now.

Participatory Learning and Teaching online module was organised 29.9.-21.11.2014 and there were 12 participants who completed the whole module. The feedback we got during our closing chat session was encouraging and participants seemed to have learned the ideas and principals of participatory learning and teaching and other themes within that area. Some feedback from the participants:

General feeling and interesting themes:
"This has been an interesting experiment as a course. I learned quite much not only because of the contents and material you provided but also to see how can this participatory teaching can be improved"

"The idea about communities of practice was very interesting and also to think about this can be included as a teaching tool or a motivator process"

"Though I have not been a teacher yet, so everything in this course have been new to me in that sense"

"Thank you, from my perspective this was something so different to what I normally do, I found it really enlightening. "

"… the stories were fantastic. This was a very big plus point that we trusted each other enough to share these experiences."

Do you think multicultural learning group added value to the module?
"I think from the multicultural point of view there is not so much difference. I have been this week in Ireland observing teaching, and the ways delivering the message would not differ so much as such"

"I think it's a relative viewpoint whether it (multiculturalism) really existed in this group or not. From my viewpoint I'd say yes. But it was heartening to see people coming from different disciplines and backgrounds and having similar experiences"

The module included both individual and group assignments.
"Both of the group assignments were a disaster from my side. I would suggest that these group assignments could be done right in the beginning as they are more "demanding" than creating a linkedin profile"

How to improve the module in the future:
"I think the videoconferences could be a nice addition."

"It was a good experience in general, but the information was shattered in too many different places, that it would be good to look into for the next time"

In general we can be quite satisfied with this pilot module and we are definitely going to offer that module again. Of course we are going to develop the module on the basis of the feedback we received and also based on our own reflection and analysis. All in all it was an interesting pilot and we were able to perform it in the given timetable and framework. In addition the feedback from the participants was encouraging, as already mentioned.

 The other main activity during last autumn was the development and dissemination of the checklist for inclusive learning environments. The project actors from TAMK School of Vocational Education did the dissemination of the checklist mainly to the vocational teacher students and students of vocational special needs education teacher -programme. These students got the introduction to the use of the checklist and the students applied the checklist in their work as a teacher. After the piloting time feedback and comments were gathered from these teacher and special needs teacher students.

The feedback from the use of the checklist was encouraging and promising. The themes and statements described in the checklist were considered practical and they raised questions and discussion among school communities. The checklist was considered useful when teachers, teacher teams, school communities and networks evaluate and aim to improve their inclusive practices. The first part (student / commitment to studies) was perceived as the most useful part of the checklist. The other parts were perceived useful as well but the other two parts require more comprehensive analysis. As a summary, the checklist for inclusive learning environment can be utilised in developing inclusive learning and teaching practices and in fostering participatory learning and teaching. The overall results about disseminating the checklist can later be read from an article (will be published in spring 2015 in Finnish).

In conclusion, DIP-project has now officially ended, but the themes and their development still goes on. I would like to thank all the parties involved in this project, you made it work!

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