S4-CT5-2 - Educational Pyramid Scheme – A Sustainable Way Of Bringing Innovation To Schools

1. Innovative Practice Full Paper
Heike Demarle-Meusel1 , Marina Rottenhofer1, Birgit Albaner2, Barbara Sabitzer1
1 Johannes Kepler Universität Linz
2 Pädagogische Hochschule Kärnten

Full Paper. One of the biggest challenges in education is the transfer of innovations and new didactic approaches into the school system. To ensure a high standard of teaching, it is essential that the teachers’ expertise, pedagogical content knowledge as well as digital competences are continuously improved by further training.  In-service training for teachers is offered in different settings (short-, middle- and long term), with advantages and disadvantages. Two aspects that correlate positively are the costs and the sustainable outcome of these trainings. With these aspects in mind the Educational Pyramid Scheme (EPS) is currently being developed and implemented as part of an Erasmus Plus project. It is an innovative concept that aims at spreading new learning contents and methods in relatively short time within the school system, with low costs and high effect. It is inspired by the economical pyramid scheme, which is designed to create value through the exploitation of business opportunities. The transaction content of the Educational Pyramid Scheme refers to methods or strategies that are being exchanged, and to the resources and capabilities that are required to enable the exchange. According to a train-the-trainer principle, teachers and students will be qualified to be trainers, who then spread their knowledge and skills to people in their school and beyond. The EPS contains three different functions or roles: multipliers (teachers and scientists), mentors (teachers) and tutors (students). The motivation to participate is maintained with a benefit system adapted for each target group. The training of target groups follows high qualitative standards and therefore present different phases: input, practical phase and reflection. This paper describes the development of the EPS and its first implementation in the framework of the Austrian mandatory curriculum “Basic Digital Education” including computational thinking and programming. It presents some qualitative results gained so far from interviews and observation, which are satisfactory and deliver good arguments for the further implementation of the EPS.