FIRST PROJECT MEETING IN ROME

The first international meeting of the Escalade project was held in Rome in October 2015, based in a unique location with wonderful views of the Vatican.
It was the first contact with fellow participants in the project where the most basic aspects that characterize Escalade as a European project were discussed. With the coordination and direction of IAL from Italian and the collaboration of companies representing Italy, Latvia and Poland gave way to what today is Escalade.
We had the opportunity to present our companies and our respective countries and we were able to learn more about the objectives and expectations that create Escalade.
Besides the unique and beautiful project location, we were able to enjoy a city full of magic and try its gastronomy thanks to the perfect organization carried out by the hosts. A unique experience, which we are confident will occur again and that will lead to a success project

SECOND PROJECT MEETING IN ATHENS

On the 18 and 19 April, the Escalade project team gathered in the Greek capital on the occasion of the second international meeting of the project.
At the meeting, various issues were discussed to advance our idea. The experiment was based primarily on the provision of training courses based on common themes for adults over age 50 which require this knowledge.
The foundation of the project is: to ensure that adults who need to work or while working want to increase their chances of success, have access to free training courses that consist of two different parts: one that is based on education "face to face" ie in the education classrooms physically qualified staff and a second base is made so get online and create an educational collaboration and student interaction.
The basis of our project was definitely sitting in this meeting and speaking on behalf of all participants can say that will go forward with the effort that is being put. Such projects give us hope and motivate us to move forward to today to employment of adults is a reality and that not all attention is focused only on youth because adults are also the future and the present.
Next to work, the Greek partners helped us to enjoy and to learn more the Greek capital and each of its corners full of charm and history.
Next November the third meeting will be held in Poland, we are willing to work and make the project a success and drive many more companies to collaborate and to become aware of the current situation.

THIRD MEETING IN CZESTOCHOWA

The third meeting for the Escalade project took place in Czestochowa, Poland  during December 8 and 9. The partners from Greece, Spain, Latvia, Italy and Poland have continued working to provide the tools necessary for the successful completion of the project. The two days focused on tweaking the details of the collaborative platform, Pbworks, as well as the preparation of the training course for our future trainers. The material was prepared, keeping in mind that our students are elderly (50- 64), low skilled persons who are at risk of losing employment. Preparing the information in 6 different languages was not an easy task and the meetings held in Poland were fruitful in preparing the core of the training. The material about new media, e-mail, messengers and web research is ready and uploaded on our collaborative learning platform and the teams are now working on the presentation of this material so that the trainers can easily share it with future students. We will keep you posted of the evolution of the project and you will be the first to know when the platform becomes available to all.

PBWORKS
The platform that we have been working on, Pbworks, is a collaborative tool that can be used by both teachers and students to build and share knowledge. Four essential courses have been prepared by the Escalade team, in order to provide our target market with the tools necessary to develop new competences and reintegrate the job maket. We believe that this work is important in helping everyone to grow from an economical but also from a well-being and learning perspective. Our four courses are available in Italian, Spanish, Greek, Polish, Latvian and English.  The quality of the content and course management system will be tested by our trainers in Rome. You can find more
information about the platform at http://www.escalade.pbworks.com

TRAINING COURSE FOR TRAINERS
During the third ESCALADE meeting, the partners decided the final format of the training course for trainers, which will take place in Rome between 23 and 27 of January 2017.
Five experienced trainers from each country will participate and test the viability of the course, which will be divided in two main parts. The first part will include the presentation of the basic tools of collaborative learning. ICT tools such as power point and Pbworks will be communicated to the participants. The second part will focus on  the practical side of the course and the educational material that has been developed will be presented, analysed and explained. The training will resume with an evaluation test for all the trainers and a certificate will be awarded to the participants who will have completed the course.

FOURTH MEETING IN JURMALA (LATVIA)

Jurmala is a small city in Latvia, which you can get to by taking a train from Riga. On the way from the beautiful capital to the Gulf of Riga, you can admire old traditional houses, each one with their guardian dog, dusty railway stations and pink blossomed trees dancing in the wind. You can feel the calm of the city long before arriving and the calm set the mood of the last partner meeting for the Escalade project.
In a beautiful setting, with the work almost entirely finished and just a few weeks before the end, we focused most of the time speaking about our multiplier events and how we will present our project to the world. The Escalade website will also be a great support to synthetize all the work that we have accomplished, and we will soon share the link with all our followers.
We are happy to announce that we have finished experimenting the course in all countries: Latvia, Spain, Italy, Poland and Greece and that the responses of the participants were touching. In Spain, we were thanked multiple times and our students manifested their will to participate in future courses. Our experts worked hard to produce
materials of the highest quality and the smiles of our students confirmed, once again, that every effort was worth it.
The impact of our project is growing every day and as it is approaching its final dates, we are proud of the work we have accomplished, and we can’t wait to share it with you!
Education is not only about learning and about an experience but also about how knowledge is a seed of confidence in any one of us. At IPF we will never stop planting these seeds, as they will always be the foundations of a beautiful world.

ESCALADE held 6 multiplier events during the two year project delivery with 325 attendees. The multipliers were excellent dissemination and valorization events and generated valuable feedback to improve the products and future pathways for the products use.

Each multiplier was focused on the ESCALADE methodology and course and how it can be used practically in the local context. All Intellectual outputs of the project were presented to the stakeholders in order to promote their use among them. The main stakeholders who attended the multiplier event were Ministry of Education and other government institutions, adult educational institution, training institutes, public institutes responsible of the public funding for the lifelong learning.

The EScAlADE short term joint staff training event

A trainers training test has been conducted before running the participatory training experiment. It was organised to train the trainers, using the same methodology as the partcipatory training experiment itself. The trainees’ group comprised 21 participants (Table 6).

Country Professional Researcher Other
Italy 4
Latvia 4 1
Spain 1 1
Poland 4 1 1
Greek 5

Table  6. The composition of the trainees’ group

We decided to use in the short training event three tools: SlideShare, PBWorks, and CamStudio. We also devised to introduce some social learning activities to verify their effectiveness in facilitating the participatory and collaborative teaching/learning process.

The training course was run by three trainers/facilitators (from Italy, Latvia, and Poland) with experience in teaching professionals. The language used was English, although participants shared other languages (Spanish, Italian, French, and Russian) that they used to communicate in informal conversations.

The training room was equipped with computers, one computer for each participant, connected to the internet.

Participants were divided into 4 groups, each group formed of people from different countries in order to mitigate fussy interpretations and misunderstandings.

We started our training by submitting a test consisting of ten questions concerning SladeShare and PBworks. This test had the aim of giving participants the opportunity to self-evaluate their existing knowledge on the above products.

Then, we introduced SlideShare, underlining how a collaborative approach takes place and how SlideShare can support it. Many examples were presented highlighting the importance of the context, e.g. demonstrating how a very good presentation in a face-to-face context was not effective in an e-learning environment, and vice versa. Participants were involved in discussions about the integration of the various software tools in order to create effective online learning modules. YouTube videos were used to present basic concepts, choosing the most accredited references. The use of external materials and the involvement in a free discussion very quickly created a chatty atmosphere among participants (Roseth, Akcaoglu, & Zellner, 2013).

Our goal was to put participants at ease, and at the same time to verify the effectiveness of using materials taken from the Web. We anticipated that either the direct involvement of learners in technical activities, such as searching the Web and using freeware software, or the opportunity to express their opinions through wiki would contribute to the success of the training (Zheng, Niiya, & Warschauer, 2015).

The principal points that were noted during the training event were as follows:

  • No subject is important in itself, but its importance depends on the context;
  • A good presentation in an academic context cannot have the same effect in a context of adult learners;
  • Terms such as low-skilled and unskilled assumed different meanings among participants;
  • Integrating different tools can enhance the learning results;
  • Different tools can facilitate the learning goals;
  • To achieve e-learning goals it can be useful to co-operate;
  • Colleagues’ experience and knowledge is a precious resource;
  • Nobody should be afraid of making mistakes;
  • Resources available on the Web can be useful but need to be used carefully.

The above elements were observed by facilitators according to a grid that also included.

  • Questions posed to the trainer
  • Questions posed to other learners
  • Questions asked
  • Messages sent to the trainer
  • Messages sent to other learners
  • Knowledge shared (content and links)
  • Internet searches
  • Time spent online

 

 

The training course for trainers completely achieved its objective. The ability to search for additional information on the internet was strongly accepted (80% of respondents), whilst Pbworks was positively evaluated for its effectiveness in updating content, posting comments, making changes, and saving time. The majority of respondents (80%) agreed that using Pbworks for learning and group collaboration via the internet represents a very good solution (Fig. 7).