DescriptionThe SchoolWeavers Project: weaving social capital for change and improvement.
Summary: School achievement is a major challenge for the European Union and especially for Spain, with a 17.9% dropout rate (European Commission, 2010; OECD, 2013; Eurostat, 2019). This problem has been increased and become more visible regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that has aggravated the lack of educational investment in recent years (Azorín, 2020). Schools in our country are called to respond to this challenge, and specially build the post-pandemic educational scenery, under multiple societal pressures (Díaz-Gibson et al, 2020; Kelly & Downey 2017; UNESCO, 2020) that affect their general performance: 1- budgetary cutbacks and austerity made over the last decade that decrease the school resources and capacities; 2- an overly focused pressure around test scores where schools are narrowing their work to a range of assessment tools; and 3- the need to provide an updated and post pandemic education model that rethinks classroom paradigms and traditional schooling, in a specific time where we find existing evidences of educational innovation across the whole Spanish context. Thus, school performance is in the center of a global debate that poses a key question around how we can empowerschools to better respond to the interconnected and complex educational challenges in our changing societies. Social capital has emerged as an effective approach to rethink schools to better respond to present and future educational challenges(Civís, Díaz-Gibson and López, 2019; Clayton, 2016; Azorín, 2020). Social capital is generally defined as the sum of the actual and potential resources embedded within, available through, and derived from the network of relationships possessed by an individual -as a teacher or student- or social unit -as a school- (Borgatti & Foster, 2003). Hence, studies bring some evidences on how school leaders can potentially reach greater educational outcomes by increasing its social capital: the quantity and the quality of the relationships between actors involved, bringing new actors and resources into the network and nurturing the content that is exchanged between actors through the social ties, such as knowledge, trust, information or expertise. Besides, this research suggests that while there are many guidelines and tools that support leaders to measure achievement, there is a global lack of assessment tools that focus on documenting schools ability to empower social relationships within school actors and across the wider community to lift local educational challenges.Thus, the SchoolWeavers Project claims to build a research based online resource that supports school leaders to assess and improve their schools social capital, in order to achieve greater resilient and learning climates for the community and greater educational outcomes. This project wants to combine the specificity of the educational challenge in our country with the enrichment and contrast that can provide the international and cross countries point of view, with a total of 4 countries involved. The research team consisting of 5 researchers will coordinate the whole international research project, will develop the research process in Spain and will lead the tool development. Also, the work team is formed by 3 international scholars from 3 different countries with a relevant expertise in the project topic, by 2 expert technologists who will be in charge of the web tool development and by 1 PhD student who will develop her thesis within the project.
Impact: Considering the scientific-technical impact we count with four main sources:1.- NetEdu Project (https://www.neteduproject.org/), the already existing web where the SchoolWeavers Tool will be located. Through this platform we will upload project results and short news about the project development. Thus, the main process outcomes and outputs will be free accessed by the professional and scientific community, allowing knowledge to advance, so as favouring further analysis.2.- Papers published in WOS journals about: 1) the theoretical model validation, 2) the statistical validity of the tool, 3) answering the first and second hypothesis, 4) answering the third hypothesis 5) a qualitative research with leadership interviews across context, and 5) a case study on the longitudinal study on the Spanish school. Those papers will help to demonstrate social capital impact on educational and post pandemic performance, contributing to what literature stands out to be an issue that needs more deepening and attaining the 6th challenge this project is focused on.3. - Book publication in an international editorial: From the 4 case studies from each country we will gather the collective experience, and a general discussion around schools, social capital and educational achievement in our globalized and post pandemic world.4.- Conferences and symposiums: Results and progresses of the SchoolWeavers Project will be explained in the next editions of AERA, WELS, WERA and ICSEI. Besides, we will organize two internal symposiums in Barcelona and Southampton.5.- The final SchoolWeavers tool will be an open access and free research based tool that will be available for schools and school leaders from Spain, the UK, Denmark and the US. Thus, this tangible tool will provide an opportunity for researchers and leaders to connect research and practice for school improvement and provide local and global scientific, technical and social impact.On the other hand, and regarding the social-economic impact, there will be 5 main areas of impact in light of the 6th challenge this project is focusing on. The 5 expected areas of impact are: Professional Social Capital, School Success, Innovation Climates, Professional Effectiveness and Professional Wellbeing. Besides, it will be also an impact on leadership capacities for school leaders, research opportunities for researchers, and levels of engaging scholarship and research-practice collaboration. Concerning these areas of impact the ScholWeaver Tool will have a direct impact on all the participants using the tool and on all the future users that encompass school actors but also politicians and other organizations supporting school performance. In terms of the level of impact, the local level will be the first in gathering most of the impacts from the SchoolWeavers Tool in Spain, Denmark, USA, and UK. Likewise, and due to the fact that the tool is located in a digital platform, being an open access technological tool, the diffusion potential of the tool increases, as well as the accessibility to it. Finally, we want to highlight that the project will end with the validation of the OpenSchool Tool, a resource that we expect of great usefulness for the educational sector, being itself a clear output and impact of the project. At this point, our foresight are to turn it into a patented tool/utility model and present it to school clusters and educational politicians in each country involved.
|Degree of Recognition||International|
- Educational netværos
- Open schooling
- Education, ecosystem
- Social capital
- School achievement