ULEARN: building a european lifelong learning system on ICT in education for pioneer teachers

The ULEARN Project aims to contribute to the dissemination of school innovation, reinforcing the role of pioneer teachers in their institutions. Herein "pioneer teachers" are defined as those who are keen to use ICT in their classroom and professional activities and already have some experience; these are teachers who can be seen as the early adopters of ICT innovation in education. They play a key role in the diffusion of innovation since the majority of teachers learn about new ideas from peers via interpersonal channels.
The ULEARN Project has defined the identity of a pioneer teacher; this definition provides the basis both for a certification of their role as innovators and for the development of learning processes addressed to their professional development. To this purpose a European Syllabus has been defined which describes the competencies of a teacher who is an innovator in his institution.

ULEARN aims at creating a stable community of pioneer teachers in Europe that will be one of the major factors of dissemination of innovation both at national and at European level.
A powerful tool for this community to develop will be, a prototype system implemented in the context of ULEARN, which offers life long learning, cooperation and information services both at a European and national level.

The main outcomes of ULEARN project are:

- A European Syllabus for pioneer teachers as a tool to certify the competencies of pioneer teachers and to develop a core of learning activities which can be adapted and used throughout Europe. Up to now 7 blended courses and 2 workshops have been developed by the ULEARN partnership. In Italy, ITD the Regional School Directorates of Liguria and Lombardia and IRRE Lombardia have developed and delivered a course (AIR - Apprendere Insieme in Rete) with 240 participants. A pool of learning materials and details descriptions (in English) of the above cited learning activities is available on the portal Each partner (and in the future each Member State of the European Union) can freely translate and adapt these materials and use them in its own context.

-, a prototype system to support the community of pioneer teachers. It involves a portal and an infrastructure. The portal ( ) is the interface by means of which the community of pioneer teachers uses the available information, collaboration and learning services. The infrastructure is composed of a European coordination unit (at present the ULEARN partnership) and several national networks of bodies.

- Embryonic pioneer teacher communities at national and European level which can be enlarged and made sustainable by means of suitable national and European policies. The actions undertaken at European and national levels have created embryonic pioneer teacher communities. To study the conditions for enlarging these embryos and making them sustainable, several national seminars in each partner country and two European events have been organised. Some of these seminars involve national educational authorities, such as policy makers and stakeholders, who discuss with pioneer teachers how to generalize the system and help the community extend and develop.