Textbooks that respect children’s learning rhythms and cost little, book in progress. Interview with Salvatore Giuliano

“It’s not the tablet that is changing schools. We’re out of the way if it has not been previously reflected how tools can change schools and learning.” Salvatore Giuliano is known as the teacher for the book in progress – the textbook that replaces that of the publisher, many years ago produced by the teachers of his school, the technical institute and the high school of applied sciences Ettore Majorana in Brindisi, and immediately afterwards by a network of teachers from many Italian institutions who shared the project – but also for the many innovations that followed. However, “it is necessary not to confuse change with innovation – specifies Giuliano, who was also Undersecretary of Education in the Conte I government – you realize innovation when you change the way people work” .

Manager Salvatore Giuliano, how did the idea of ​​the Book in progress?

“The idea was born a few years ago, with the intention of preparing teaching materials that took into account the learning rhythm of the children, so that they could be adapted throughout the year with materials that meet the needs of the students as much as possible. “The book in progress now covers all disciplines of the middle and those of the two years of high school. And it is both paper and digital. With the ability to be used on any device: PC, tablet, smartphone”.

Were the commonly used books that were adopted by teachers and publishers specializing in school texts not appropriate?

“In my opinion, the books that were in use are currently packaged for one year and did not take into account the individual needs and difficulties that commonly occur during the school year. Therefore, the need to create materials that formed a basis , but with the possibility to integrate them in the course of the year. The idea came up by reading some texts. And so the idea was to incorporate the teaching profession into those materials.

With a plus value, that means the obvious savings and expenses for families: 5 € is the price of one of your self-produced books.

“That was not the reason, but this then became an important reason. More: We asked families to invest their savings in technology. And through the further development that followed, an innovation tool was introduced. “the way to understand everyday learning practice has changed. Over the years, a national network has been created, which today counts hundreds of schools of all types and levels, in which our project actively shared.”

With you Book in progress Your daily learning practice has changed, but technological innovations have strongly influenced the process of relaunching the school.

“Look, the use of technology that we believe in – even if technology is and remains only a tool – allows us to promote three aspects: collaboration, cooperation, creativity, that of children and those of teachers. Book in progress it has become an important tool for rethinking learning activities that focus mainly on learning. Because that’s the point: if you do not use everyday practices that allow you to understand the three aspects mentioned, it often happens that you focus a lot on learning and little on learning “.

The problem exists

“I am convinced that school is a place of learning, where learning is one of the elements, but not the only one. It is necessary to implement all strategies that facilitate student learning. In this sense, the Book in progress it is an important tool for achieving these goals “.

But what happens in practice?

The teachers who are involved in the project meet periodically to conduct training, revision and improvement activities of the same content, and enrich it with content, including multimedia. and above all they are the result of a confrontational work between the teachers themselves, the materials are the result of the teaching profession.This is a work that improves the profession, with a return of satisfaction and with an openness and a comparison with colleagues from other realities “.

How do you rate the experience of these years?

“Dear. It was and is a great experience. An important network has been created between teachers and school managers from different Italian realities, which represents an opportunity to work and collaborate on other projects. For example, if by hypothesis a ban on STEM technologies “We already have schools with ongoing collaborative relationships. It’s also a way to foster discussion and growth.”

Did the publisher complain?

“They do their job. Our goal is not to create the best content in the world that does not exist anyway. Ours is a didactic innovation project made by those who experience school every day by going to class every day. “.

Has learning improved or not with these innovations?

“The Book in progress it generates a clear improvement in learning data and the relevant early school exchanges. “All of this is stimulating and there are many teachers who are fighting against these stimuli.”

The Book in progress what did he manage to pull off?

“It has driven investment in technology. Now children use technologies and above all we train children and teachers on the conscious use of technological tools. Technology, when not used with full knowledge of the facts, does not facilitate learning .And therefore we have made decisions about how this tool can improve learning and learning.

Give concrete examples

“I’m thinking about how content can be created, what aspects should be taken into account when creating content, how to use this technological tool to perform rapid training checks and thereby go on to personalize learning through the use of methodologies described below. also the active role of the student, for example in Peer education. Guys will be safe in a few moments, and if necessary, Teachers of their companions, of their colleagues. I am convinced that on the basis of learning there must be motivation and when we insist on motivation, consolidating it, we have very important, important, positive results. Through this project, a different way of setting up the school was created, where innovations and innovations meet. For example, we have intervened in the time and space of learning, with a new flexibility of work in the classroom: finally, when you Peer educationjust to give an example, you need to create groups.

Is all this really enough to give the boy an advantage?

“Absolutely yes. Students become protagonists of their learning path. You can see it from the eyes. Children, when you do this, come to school with joy. Just to say, the students with dsa, of this new way of working, who intervene in daily learning practice have great advantages, they have the ability to really activate the tools programmed in pdp, to enable an automatic reader., to read, take notes, share them directly with classmates And once again: to use the skills that are in their pages and to use them – pay attention – with awareness. Everything counts to improve learning. We have a big task: to teach them how to use that tool – that is and remains so – very useful for improving their learning “.

It is generally accepted that very young people have nothing to learn from adults about what is digital

“It is said that digital indigenous peoples have great confidence in the digital tool, but we have another task to understand how they use it to improve their learning, and what we have seen in these years is that we are self-material. produces and then activates – also with the use of technologies – all the envisaged methodological and didactic innovation processes “

Are your students’ families satisfied with the innovations that have been made?

“Absolutely yes, they permanently represent their trust in us. In 2010, there were 600 children in this school. Today, there are 1500 members.”

You have subtracted them in other schools …

“Let’s say the students chose us. In addition, many come from outside the province. In 2014, we also had a student from Mantua …”.

Vun Mantua? Did a student from Lombardy move to Puglia to attend high school?

“Exactly. She moved here and we got her accommodation. She obviously graduated in the meantime. She was the first, but today we have about fifty guys coming from outside. Some students come from Bari, others from Foggia, Lecce and other cities.

You have to expand the complex due to the arrival of so many students.

“We have prepared a property that has been entrusted to us by the province, and in a few months we have made it accessible to students in an excellent way.”

And you also had benches with wheels …

“In fact, I was the first in Italy to have wheels with wheels at school many years ago. In fact, they are sessions that allow you to work in a very different way today. If you need to arrange the class group in a different way or if you need to activate it Peer Education, we have been using them for ten years in a cost-effective way, for example for the class and children in a homogeneous or unequal way of arranging learning groups according to cases and needs. The benches are and are a tool you need to know how to use. You see, it’s not the tablet that’s changing the school. If there has been no reflection on how instruments can change schools and teaching, one is out of the way. Change should not be confused with innovation. You’re innovating when you change the way people work. “

Even among teachers who do not always agree on innovations, there will also be some resistance.

“In the beginning, it had to be explained. But if there is a clear desire for the way children improve schooling and learning, then things happen. It’s about sharing experiences and passions and motivating people to work in a different way. “

Let’s go back upstairs Book in progress. What’s the last hour’s news?

“From the current school year, we have set up a platform for downloading material. It consists of having an area of ​​the materials on the network and used by the individual schools to download the materials. Individual students come from school, home or from the bus, just to say download the material. All this has already been done, but not as well as now. We facilitated the work of distributing the material. Another novelty was that the materials produced were enriched with a lot of multimedia content, which could be used by dynamic QR codes and both available on the paper version, with which the student who framed with his code, the additional content download, as well as on the digital version by clicking on links. . They are videos, tests, in-depth documents, pictures, even serious games. Being dynamic QR codes, when there are innovations, this facilitates the updating of the content “.

Did the pandemic get you ready in March 2000?

“I would say yes. In pre-pandemic times, we were concerned about the way to understand the space and the time of learning. So, during this difficult time, the network made itself available to the other schools for free.”

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