My Company in an e-Book
An interdisciplinary learning path developed by an Italian High School for 9th grade students which involves the production of an e-book based on extensive research into a local company. The company acts as the client for each student group.
Purpose and process
This approach is intended to fully immerse students into the life of a local company. The stages of the project are as follows:
1) Students first acquire some basic knowledge of economics, business administration and law, needed to stimulate their curiosity and their ability to learn. In groups, they draw up a questionnaire to be used during their company visit and organise the logistical aspects of the visit by involving their parents if needed.
2) The company visit, which takes 2-3 hours, helps them gain an understanding of how the business is organised and managed, its history and its future prospects. The students collect information by interviewing the entrepreneur and by taking photos/recording videos in the offices, the warehouse and in the production premises.
3) Later on, the collected information is elaborated according to an index and translated into an e-book. The groups use suitable applications or the website www.myebook.com. Pupils collaborate online (using Skype, Google Docs, Facebook, email) and to a lesser extent in face-to-face meetings.
4) The path culminates in a public event where students present their e-books to their peers, teachers, parents, to the entrepreneurs (the clients) and to the press. While making their e-book, students reproduce the environment of the organisation they have closely observed. It is a is highly target-oriented activity, where the students have to decide how to structure the e-book, what contents to include and how to present it.
The path focuses on skills-based learning techniques and involves the students carrying out a complex task, working both individually and in teams.
- Develop self-organisation and coordination skills, the ability to cope with new situations and solve problems that are not easy to foresee
- Gain in-depth knowledge of a local company which is fully operational, by breathing its atmosphere and observing the dedication, the effort and the determination with which the adults who work there carry out their job in dynamic markets where the ability to predict and a proactive attitude are often the key to success
- Understand from first-hand experience how companies have to set themselves clear goals, that workers need to take different roles and must be able to achieve their specified responsibliities as well as refer to others regarding the task they have to carry out
- Recognise the importance of using safe procedures to file, store and easily retrieve the material they produce
- Enhance their presentation skills in the final event when their product is delivered to the client.
Curricular or thematic relevance
The project is in line with the advice contained in the 'Guidelines for secondary school reform' (Italy, 2010). Both documents refer to the Recommendation of the European Parliament and the European Council on the 'Key competences for lifelong learning'. It can also effectively contribute to achievement of one of the most significant competences to be acquired in the first 2 years of a business high school: 'Getting to know the essential features of the socio-economic system, in order to be able to understand the local economic context'. It contributes to subjects such as Business, Economics and Career Education.
How to organise:
The project takes place on an extra-curricular basis but could be partly delivered during timetabled lessons.
Assessment and evaluation approaches
Assessment processes are fully integrated throughout this project, including self- and peer-reviews, teacher assessment and feedback and the evaluation by entrepreneurs of the final e-books which can be published online.
The willingness of local companies to host visits and to provide extensive information is crucial to the success of this project. In addition, there is need for entrepreneurs to attend the final presentation event and offer feedback to the students.
'My company in an e-book' has been recognised as a best practice example by the Italian Ministry of Education and is included in the 'Indire GOLD' database. The learning path is documented in a website which shows the experience; this has been visited by several teachers who have in turn used it with their own students. In addition, it has been selected as a finalist for the Global Junior Challenge 2012 (under 15 category).
For more information, see: http://www.lamiaimpresainunebook.jimdo.com. Also: http://gold.indire.it/nuovo/gen/show-s.php?ObjectID=BDP-GOLD00000000002A3151 and http://www.gjc.it/2012/it/progetti-finalisti
Profile of the tool and method