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ICT for minimizing dropout

Background of the project

Schools that decided to join the project are the second chance schools (including secondary schools and vocational schools). All schools have a challenge to find out how to give support for those students who have started their learning process after a long gap or have come from social risk families, or have had different problems in previous educational organizations. Giving students optimal support could minimize the amount of dropout students. Taking into account youth interest in technologies and necessity of their use in work, one of the approaches for minimizing dropouts could be meaningful use of ICT for promoting youth interest in learning and cooperation. According to the latest research of ASEM (ASEM LLL HUB) "Identifying and analysis of new challenges and opportunities of their solution" about life-long learning in an international perspective that influences involving adults (18-24 years old) into the long-life learning process, there is no a unit reason for early school leaving (dropout). Dropouts are often connected with different learning necessities or "not successful" learning. According to the ASEM research one of the most important reasons of dropouts in education, is the lack of life long learning skills in the field of ICT. Improving these ICT skills is a good ground for a good support in the learning process and also a necessity in work). Also the need of essential e-learning experience for implementing the process "learning in the working place" is important. We consider that project activities will help to gather information about good practice of partner schools in solving the above mentioned problems and to be aware of new possibilities of pedagogical cooperation.


Description of the project:

In Latvia there are 21 evening schools that provide the second education functions. There is no special courses for teachers' professional development. Therefore in Latvia the evening schools under their own iniciative cooperate mutually and popularize their good practice examples. The previous positive experience shows that involving into international projects is the possibility to get acquainted with experience of different countries and solve the problem situations. 
Evaluating the foreign experience and taking into account context of every country, it is possible to change learning and teaching approaches in every school, to implement innovative solutions in promoting cooperation. Also it is essential to aware what kind of problems partners from other countries have to face. Minimizing dropouts is one of priorities proposed by EU. 
he ways of minimizing dropouts are different, although one of the project goals  is  recognizing possibilities of ICT in solving the problem due to the fact that technologies not only fascinate, but also are necessary in the working environment and career development. Meaningful and successful use of technologies could give possibility not only to perfect students' learning and cooperation skills, but also to make easier and more productive teachers' work, as well as provide more appropriate support systems  for students' individual needs.
Offering cooperation in the project, first those partnerschools that we had worked together in previous projects, were asked to join. In partner selection the information about the second chance or vocational schools were gathered because in such schools we have the greatest amount of dropout students at risk.
Partners agreed to cooperate when got acquainted with project topics. 

Responsibility and contribution of Ventspils Secondary evening school in the project:

1) to responsible about the project in general, about the quality of the project content;
2) development and updating of project web-page (activity A1);
3) Communication among partners through ICT (A12);
4) Short-term joint staff training events in Latvia (C1)
5) to be responsible for both transnational meetings, especially about the closing event  (M1, M2)
6) common project documentation. 

Responsibility of each partner: 

1) budget control;
2) providing information in time; 
3) regular communication, using ICT tools; 
4) implementation of commonly set goals, tasks and activities;
5) result dissemination activities.

Responsibility of Lithuanian's partner: 

1) organize Short-term joint staff training event (C5);
2) gather and summarize the results of discussions after watching the video interviews (A4, A5, C3).

Responsibility of Turkey's partner: 

1) organize Blended mobility of school learners (C3);
2) make and coordinate the project group on Facebook (A13);
3) gather and summarize the results of discussions after watching video films  (A3, C3).

Responsibility of Romania's partner :

1) organize Short-term joint staff training event (C4);
2) organize activity  -  on-line course production "Carrier Education and guidance in the context of the European Single Market" (A8)

Responsibility of Italian's partner:

1) organize transnational meeting (M1)
2) summarize results after Seminars and/ or brainstorm for students and/ or parents organized in every partner school (A6)
3) work out the questionnaires and summarize the results (A7).

As the main communication instrument the Internet will be used (webinar, Skype, MS Lync, e-mails, home pages). Partner school coordinators will have a responsibility for regular information providing to the project coordinator in electronic way about activities taken place at schools and summarized results. The calendar of project activities disposed in the project homepage at the same time can help as a reminder about project activities for all project partners. 
Research work done in different European countries and their methodology are different. Therefore information about identifying dropouts in other partner organizations could be useful. Also offered solutions and their actualizing and implementation at different environments as well as work with particular students at partner organizations could be essential, taking into account typical national, regional and local context of every school. Such kind of shared experience among partner schools could make a focus on dropouts from different aspects, searching for common and distinctive situations. 
During the project there are two transnational project meetings planned. First one will take place in the beginning of the project but the second will take place in the end phase of the project. In those projects one -two participants will participate from each school.
M1 – Transnational Project Meeting in Italy, 2016/10. Content: Each partner prepares information about dropout situation in his/her school and country to conclude, what kind of effective events should be implemented  (maybe there is a good practice concerning this issue in any country, then the other schools do not think of a new thing). Which technologies we will use during our project (for communication, dissemination of the results, discussions, planning). It is necessary to precise calendar plan; discuss the content and sense of nearest activities and budget issues. Agree on the content of the web page of the project. Goal: To coordinate tasks with each school’s coordinators, and reach an agreement on communication, planning, budget control, evaluation and dissemination issues. 
M2 – Transnational Project Meeting in Latvia, 2019/08. Content: Evaluation of the project. Work on preparation of reports. Goal: To get a common evaluation and the point of view about the goals achieved during the project, about sustainability in every country. Prepare project reports, report on budget use.
A special project home page will have been worked out for reflection of project activities, events and results. The reasons of dropouts in partner schools have been established.  Questionnaires of teachers and students have been developed, and as a result - it is clear, how students would like to learn, what could be useful for them, and how the teacher sees his/her role in cooperation with the student, also what kind of support activities  students need. Surveys should be done on-line. Suggestions from students and teachers in using ICT for promoting cooperation and learning in order to minimize the amount of students who decide to leave the school prematurely will be summed up in the project homepage. Five Learning teaching training activities and two Transnational Project Meetings have been held. 
Teachers will have the comprehension about dropout problem and opportunities to change their pedagogical approach for minimizing risk of dropouts. Students and teachers who are involved in  project activities directly and indirectly, will gain new knowledge, develop competences in the field of ICT, also in use of foreign languages, and will be aware of the sense of education in developing the career. 
In the end of project every partner provides the event of dissemination of project results. In Latvia the closing meeting will be organized for second chance schools and other interested parties, also for educational policy makers.