Learning ecologies could be defined as the set of context configurations composed of activities, materials, resources and relationships that are generated in physical or virtual spaces and that provide learning opportunities, and allow us to study the mechanisms of development and professional updating of different types of professionals.
Following this concept, the Edul@b group participates in the European project Eco4Learn in which we have studied the mechanisms for professional updating of a large sample of primary school teachers in Catalonia (N = 1253), whose learning ecologies have been contrasted later with a another group of teachers who frequently use ICT for their professional updating.
The results of the Eco4Learn project
The findings and conclusions that have emerged from the project are several and relevant. In the first place, we have identified three main components in which primary school teachers in Catalonia structured their learning ecologies: activities, interactions and resources.
The project investigated the ecologies of “exemplary” teachers -those who frequently use ICT- through semi-structured interviews. In these cases, self-education through ICT is valued highly positively, and the the ease of upgrading, interconnection, the increase in peer relationships beyond school and become more digitally competent are the main benefits of using learning ecologies. It has been observed, however, that most primary school teachers in Catalonia tend to form in person without intensive use of ICT: for them, their teaching institution remains the fulcrum of their learning ecologies.
For this reason, many of the recommendations developed under the project are aimed at schools. For example, it’s important that the formative role of TAC coordinators be encouraged, because they can take into account the specificities of the centre, they can encourage the applied training and they can facilitate the transfer much more than external trainers.
If you want to know more about the project, you can visualize the talk by Albert Sangrà on the seminar “New contexts, multiple mechanisms: Learning Ecologies” clicking in the next link: