Multicultural Interdisciplinary Handbook: Tools for Learning History and Geography in a Multicultural Perspective
The aim of this Project is to build and share a set of tools that includes a HandBook, Digital Modules and a Teacher Training Course. They will offer a structured path through European Contemporary History and Geography where the countries concerned will be those of the Project partners.
- University of Salamanca - GRIAL (Spain).
- Pädagogische Höchschule Tirol (Austria).
- Hafelekar Unternehmensberatung Schober GmbH – Innsbruck (Austria).
- Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres – Créteil (France).
- Universität Augsburg (Germany).
- Universität Siegen (Germany).
- Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia (Italy).
- Społeczna Wyższa Szkoła Przedsiębiorczości i Zarządzania (Poland).
Despite official educational guidelines, improved linguistic skills have been limited in all partner countries due to cuts in their national budgets. As a consequence CLIL experiences have been lessened, to the sole benefit of those involving English.
Another reason for this project resides in the difficulty in modifying the guidelines of national programmes, that are often short-sighted as far as other cultures are concerned.
Finally, all European reports point out the shortage of materials and ICT-based contests suitable for interdisciplinary and multicultural education in school.
The MIH (Multicultural Interdisciplinary HandBook) Project meets these needs by providing new tools that help teachers and pupils to plunge deeper into the culture and the language of another nation via its memorials, its history and its landscape/geography. Moreover, it intends to promote the common European identity, as it introduces a European perspective in the schools’ History and Geography programmes, which are usually confined to national borders.
The aim of this Project is to build and share a set of tools that includes a HandBook, Digital Modules and a Teacher Training Course. They will offer a structured path through European contemporary History and Geography where the countries concerned will be those of the Project partners.
Today, it is generally national guidelines that determine school programmes; school HandBooks and Didactics are based upon them. Going beyond the limits of the national programmes, and furthering the understanding amongst young people and their educators of the diversity of European culture, languages and values –the principal objective of the Comenius– we plan to operate at the level of the HandBooks and Didactics. The main purpose of the entire MIH project is to offer a tool for studying events through an approach that is both comparative and interdisciplinary: historical content will be organised based on underlying geographical realities dealing with such topics as borders, migrations, landscape and resources.
The cooperative work of selecting and drawing up the key topics, a major activity of the project’s core members, will provide the materials for designing a training course addressing current and future teachers that will emphasize the European dimension in teacher training.
The HandBook, available in the five languages of the partnership plus in English, can be used both by teachers interested in multicultural learning as well as by those involved in CLIL projects. In the latter case, teachers will have at their disposal the consistent path, the original documents and a general methodology that recent reports have shown to be missing. They will promote language learning.
The Digital Modules will be the final tool of the project. The modules will be available as free video podcasts, web-based contents (HTML) and standard-packaged Learning Objects (SCORM – IMS) in order to use them in any Virtual Learning Environment, so in class or for independent study by pupils; they will motivate pupils by supporting listening comprehension and oral production and represent an important contribution to the development of digital educational content.
The Project life is from October 2009 to September 2011. We expect to release the first beta products by September 2010.
MIH aims to:
- Further the development of a common European identity by having schools participate in the culture of other countries using their languages and their collective symbolic imagery.
- Contribute to the creation of a new generation of school HandBook and ICT-based contents that can support teachers involved in CLIL experiences, or who are simply interested in them.
- Implement digital educational contents in schools.
The results will be:
- A HandBook and Digital Materials, which deal with a choice of historical and geographical topics, selected among those that have had an important impact in the national imagery in the last two centuries. The final version of HandBook and Digital Modules will be available in all the languages of the partner countries.
- A Teacher Training Course addressed to both future and in-service teachers. The training develops the topics dealt by the HandBook and explains its methodology and issues.
In the recent years, several semantic-based educational projects have been carried out, focusing on improving content retrieval within digital object repositories. Usually these projects are founded on the use of ontologies and semantic markup to represent the knowledge domain, as well as technical and pedagogical content features.
However, from a literature analysis, learning objects (LOs) ontologies appear frequently to be designed more on the basis of the pragmatic convenience of the specific application frame and the developers’ personal intuition than on a rigorous ontological analysis.
This approach has as main disadvantage the development of incongruous models which cannot support logical reasoning processes and cannot be easily reused in a different context from that in which they have been designed. Therefore a preliminary analysis on the ontological identity of learning objects is here proposed in order to support the formulation of a well-founded LO definition, which should be provided before any LO ontology engineering process