The current situation caused by COVID-19 has revealed many problems when schools have tried to carry out distance education. If this is true for almost all schools, it is especially problematic in European multicultural schools (educational centers with high rates of migrants, refugees or minorities). Children in these schools have few digital devices at home (computers, tablets, etc.), their Internet connections are very basic or non-existent, their parents often do not have basic knowledge to help them with e-learning tasks, and their teachers are overloaded with work and have to deal with extra problems such as basic communication when children and families do no speak the local language.
All this has led to great inequalities in distance education during lockdowns between schools with resources and local students, and multicultural schools with less resources and newly arrived migrant children. This gap is totally unfair and may lead to serious problems in Europe in the coming years.
This project aims to help European multicultural schools improve both distance and face-to-face education, through an innovative learning model based on maker education and talent promotion. The main targets will be elementary schools and their teachers.
The project is based on a good practice of a Catalan multicultural school that is promoting active and creative learning through activities that the children themselves choose, taking advantage of the talents of the school’s teachers, and using those talents as motivating pillars (robotics, cooking, sewing, gardening, photography, DIY, biking, etc.).
For example, one of the talents they are promoting is DIY (Do it yourself). In that space children learn skills such as painting a wall, building a small wooden house, designing a work table for robotics, etc. To do all these things, previous knowledge of mathematics, languages, arts, etc. is needed. So, with this initiative, children learn concepts as they build things. This is a clear example of learning by doing.
The objective of TalentMaker is to combine this already existing experience with cutting-edge maker education methodologies. The result will be a new methodology, designed to be transferable to other multicultural schools. The project also aims to train teachers to become trainers, who then can train more teachers from other schools. In addition to the design of the methodology, the project will also develop an online catalogue of digital capsules (short creative learning activities) that can be used in distance education in case of lockdowns. All the materials needed to carry out the activities will be adapted so that they are low cost and affordable, taking into account the contexts and situations of this kind of schools and families.
The designed activities, linked to the proposed new methodology, will first be tested in the partner schools, adapted to the different contexts of the participating European countries (Spain, Greece and Romania), and some of their teachers will be trained to become trainers, and so, at a later stage, they will be in charge of bringing these methodologies to other schools.
The main results of the project will be the new methodology, the catalogue of digital capsules, a teacher’s guide that shows how to implement the methodology with examples and lesson plans, and a participatory system that will allow trained teachers to create, share and upload their own digital capsules to the Internet.
The consortium for this project is composed of schools, universities and non-profit organizations that already have previous experience in similar projects, some of them being leaders in educational innovation and inclusive education in their countries. In addition, the project will be supported by some associated partners such as municipalities and schools, which will help to multiply the beneficiaries. As one of the outputs are online capsules for distance learning, that will be translated into different languages, the project may also be expanded to other countries.