Sapo Campus Schools: Network Learning, Teaching and People

Fátima Pais, Carlos Santos, Luís Pedro

Abstract


Sapo Campus is an integrated web 2.0 service platform designed to be used in Higher Education (Santos & Pedro, 2009). Having implemented it some years ago, the team responsible for developing the platform decided it was time to face a new challenge: to redesign the platform in a way it could be used in other school levels, thus creating Sapo Campus Schools (SCS).  In this setting, and despite the fact that some of the demands and problems are the same as those found in Higher Education institutions, the adoption of web 2.0 technologies raises new questions and challenges. The institutional adoption of SCS, a platform that is defined by its openness and is all about sharing, integration, innovation and personalization, is expected to prompt changes in schools. This is the background for the current research project that aims at:

Monitor the schools that take part in the Sapo Campus Schools project and analyse the impact it has on the teaching and learning process, as well as on the way students/teachers relate to this technology.

Bearing this in mind, two research questions were drawn up, one focusing on the impact in three key areas: institution, teachers and students, and the other on the interactions taking place within SCS. The on-going literary review directly includes subjects related to Personal Learning Environments (Attwell, 2007Downes, 2010;Hongyu et al., 2010Kompen et al., 2009Qian, 2010),  web 2.0 (O'Reilly, 2007Richardson, 2006), learning networks and all the related conceptual body. Also important, stemming from the impact studies, are the issues concerning innovation processes and knowledge (Christensen et al., 2010Drucker, 2002Nonaka & Takehuchi, 1991Nonaka & Von Krogh, 2009). Two groups of schools, chosen for specific and distinctive reasons, will take part in the study. In the first group (G1), which is made up by two schools with different surroundings (urban and rural setting), the research will be more interventional. As for the second group (G2), schools are yet to be chosen and will be selected from those that decide to join SCE. Methodologically, this research stands on extremes, assuming both a positivist and a critical paradigm. This approach, that sets out to combine two apparently opposing issues: depth and width, intersects two different methodological procedures: action research and survey.  Regarding G1, action research will make it possible to understand the process more broadly, ranging from the administration and management levels to the classrooms. In G2 the focus will be on the adoption contexts, understanding the processes behind them, relating them amongst themselves and to the situation in G1, using the same research techniques and tools. Because it involves more schools, in this group research will be more longitudinal through the application of a longitudinal survey. Methodologically, it is important to point out that the data collect in both settings will be crossed taking into account the role and presence of the researchers, different in each group. As for the nature of the study it will be mixed, combining qualitative and quantitative methods.  The techniques and data collection tools are also varied and were chosen keeping in mind the research questions: surveys (questionnaires and interviews), documental analysis (SCS’s access data e literature review), as well as the researcher’s diary. Insofar, the data collected makes it possible to draw a first profile of SCE’s users, noting that these are all preliminary results based on the experimental use of the platform. Impact wise it is expected that this project will add on to the skills related to digital and information literacy, key 21st century skills. On the other hand, the project is in line with what Attwell (2007) entitles new content ecology, being that all SCS users are potential prosumers. From a product development’s standpoint, this project can provide information that reflects the schools’ opinions and helps redesign the platform, creating constructive synergies between users and developers.


Full Text:

PDF