15 November 2007

SMILE project

1. What are the concrete aims of the Partnership?

  • To promote European cooperation between schools by:
    • comparison among school systems and curricula and exchange of didactic experiences; the differences between partner schools allow us to deal with same themes and issues from different points of view, related to different curricula and pupils’ age.
    • cooperative gathering and making of material (such as models that enable students to visualise mathematical rules, students’ worksheets, ICT tools, exhibits for exploring scientific phenomena, schemes for environmental inquiries…); trialling and evaluating the effectiveness of these materials.
    • involvement of students in the production and exchange of materials and other common activities
  • To experiment and evaluate methods of teaching based on the informal approach as a facilitator for understanding mathematic and scientific rules and concepts and for acquiring inquiry skills.
  • To build learning environments suitable for motivating pupils, especially the less gifted ones and those at risk of social exclusion, in order to overcome their lack of interest toward mathematics and scientic
  • To encourage self-guided an d cooperative learning and peer teaching; in this way we aim to prepare pupils towards lifelong learning
  • To enable pupils to identify the relationships between mathematics, science, other subjects and everyday life by working on interdisciplinary issues.
  • To assess the role of ICT in enhancing the learning process and in fostering the cooperative work.
  • To lead pupils toward a cultural (multi-field) approach of science by promoting a debate about relevant contemporaneous scientific-technological issues, locally and internationally.

2. What impact is the Partnership expected to have on the participants and other interested parties (on the pupils, teachers, institutions, local community, wider educational community)?

Impact on the teachers

  • increased knowledge of successful strategies for the teaching of Mathematics and Science
  • enhanced awarness of the positive outcomes of working in a team
  • more enthusiam in doing their job, thanks to the opportunity to come out of the routine (particularly stimulating will be, from this perspective, the teacher exchanges).
  • widening of their perspective, getting over language barriers and increase of the sense of European belonging
  • improvement of the English knowledge
  • improvement of ICT competencies
  • opportunity to work with a variety of stimulations and to bridge the gap between school and real world
  • development of a scientific thinking and of a critical reasoning; pupils should be prepared to critically evaluate the received information and to make conscious decisions; they should be led to appreciate what science and technology can reasonably contribute to society and what they cannot do (new technologies for example often will decrease some risks and increase others)
  • improved ability to work independently, with the minimum of support from the teacher positive effect on the attitudes for mathematics and science
  • enhancement of curiosity, awe, interest to know more
  • enhancement of collaboration between pupils, development of self-control, self-confidence and sense of responsibility
  • perception of the unifying nature of the scientific language, that teaches tolerance by refusing stereotypes and gives the mental tools to critically evaluate facts and information;
  • improvement of the linguistic ability in general and of the English knowledge in particular; doing experiences like team work and peer teaching pupils will discover the real importance of studying foreign languages as a means of communicating ideas
  • acquisition of new communication skills by using ICT

Impact on the school and local community

  • introduction of new ideas that are helpful for school development
  • widening of the activities offered by the school
  • tightening of relationships inside school parties (teachers/students/parents) and between them and the local community (involvement of neighbouring schools in the presentation of experiences and material, contact with local health and environmental agencies for collecting information…)

3. How do you intend to evaluate the progress of the Partnership and its impact on the participating pupils and teachers, the participating institutions and, where relevant, on the local community?

Results and impact will be evaluated in different ways depending on the type of resource developed and on the aims. The participating schools will prepare a workplan with a deadline for each activity and a description on how to evaluate it. The participating teachers will present a progress report on the project at meetings in their schools/departments to inform and involve other teachers.

We intend to evaluate:

  • the pupils’ and teachers’ feelings about the project and its outcomes by carrying out surveys at different times (beginning, end of the first year, end of the second year of the project)
  • the cognitive impact on the pupils’ by observing them when activities are in progress and by testing their knowledge and inquiry skills when the activities are concluded
  • the quality of lesson plans and material produced and its impact on the school by measuring the flexibility and frequency of their use not only in the classes directly involved in the project.
  • the impact on the pupils’ motivation and attitude toward mathematics and science by observing if there are changes in their behaviour during the compulsory lessons; a more long term assessment will be done by registering the number of students who choose to continue their studies in a scientific field.
  • The development of skills for working in groups, of self-confidence, as well as performance in communication by observing how pupils are able to undertake new tasks independently and as a team.

These evaluations will form the basis of discussion at project team meetings. At these meetings the work-plan will be reviewed in order to ensure progress towards the objectives is being made.

4. How do you intend to disseminate and use the results, experience and end products amongst the participating institutions, other institutions and the local community?

  • We will create a website that presents teaching methods, collaborative activities and tools experimented and produced by the participating institutions. Students, parents and other interested parties will be encouraged to use the website to learn about the structure of the project and to adapt the resources for their own specific needs. The common website will be translated into the local languages of the partner schools.
  • CD-roms and videos from the different countries will be shown and discussed with the participating students,
  • an article in an educational magazine for maths and science will be published
  • the local newspapers will publish in the press those activities of public note that are done in the project
  • At a local level some of the schools will make exhibitions (school-based) when they have developed and evaluated sufficient material. This may coincide with events when schools invite parents or pupils from other schools to show how teaching and learning is taking place in a positive environment.
  • The different partners will have links on their school websites as a means of communicating with parents and the wider community.

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