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The newsletter includes news from the Future Classroom Lab and three EC-funded projects: CPDLab, Living Schools Lab and Creative Classrooms Lab.

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Regional hubs for collaborative schools
Italian Summer School at Brindisi
School principals interview on mainstreaming best practices
School principals address the issue of mainstreaming technology in Europe
The LSL French school L'Orange Bleue is on the news
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Example from Ireland - engaging the entire school community
Since the foundation of Scoil na gCeithre Máistrí (Ireland) in 1990, the integration of ICT into teaching and learning has played a central role in the school policy. The construction of new school buildings in 2007 provided the opportunity to radically upgrade the school’s ICT stock, and to embed the use of ICT throughout the school.
 
Read more in our latest  "Spotlight on practice" article how this primary school is continuously developing and expanding its use of ICT and engaging the entire school community – teachers, pupils, and parents – in this work.
 
‘Spotlight on practice’ is a series of articles presenting the schools participating in the Living Schools Lab network. We are learning in every article how the Living Schools Lab schools are enhancing their teaching and learning through integrating use of technology into their classroom practice.
 

Read the full article here

ICT audit of Living Schools Lab network

An early task for the Living Schools Lab schools and teachers was to complete a short online survey about their ICT vision, access to ICT, attitudes to technology in schools, use of ICT and professional development. The aim was to benchmark the schools  against other schools nationally and in Europe using also indicators of a pan-European study "Survey of Schools: ICT in Education". 

First results show that, unsurprisingly, participants are heavy users of ICT, very positive about its value, and involved in innovation, for example 1:1 computing, online communication with parents, and assessment. On the other hand, they felt that more laptops and tablet computers are needed (and this in schools already relatively well equipped) and that building-design and classroom layout inhibit innovation. 

Areas that seem to be under-developed include BYOD, online professional development and peer-networking. Interestingly, compared to the average EU practitioner, LSL teachers felt less strongly that radical changes are needed for schools to fully exploit ICT, suggesting the LSL schools may well be already engaged in radical change? Time - and a series of interviews and case studies - will tell. The survey is to be repeated at intervals during the project.

The presentation below shows the main highlights of the ICT audit, compiled by Roger Blamire, Senior Manager Policies and Practice at European Schoolnet.

Second set of Living Schools Lab best practice videos just launched

The second set of Living Schools Lab “good practice” videos, provided by the Advanced Schools, has been just published. Five schools from Portugal, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy and Lithuania show on the videos their practices on successful embedding of ICT in teaching and learning. 

The videos have been created by the schools themselves to demonstrate how they are using ICT in the school and classroom level.

You can watch them here.

Living Schools Lab hubs - Sharing good practices in the first meeting of Flemish schools

The Living Schools Lab regional hubs help schools to interact and benefit from mutual support. One of the countries that organised its first hub meetings recently is Flanders, Belgium.

The LSL regional hubs comprise Advanced Schools (AS) and Advanced Practitioner schools (AP), and they are divided into primary and secondary school hubs. In the first meeting of the Flemish primary schools, the De Klare Bron school (AS) showcased a project developed by initial teacher training students highlighting the need of continuing training for teachers on how to use iPads efficiently in the classroom. The school presented also their theme: each school in the LSL network selects a theme to work with and to develop along the project. For De Klare Bron the theme is students’ project-based learning through ICT. The two Advanced Practitioner schools attending the meeting, De Loep (Diepenbeek) and Dé School (Kessel-Lo), explained their experiences and best practices about using iPads and other ICT devices in their lessons.

The participating teachers considered that there is a need for more free educational applications and they expected to have help and support through the Living Schools Lab network in this respect. As a positive sign, the teachers from the De Klare Bron school had already appreciated the tips and resources presented in the first pan-European workshop for Advanced Schools. Also, the teachers wished to have more support for continuing professional development (CPD), on a structural and regular base.  

The National Coordinator in Flanders, Veerle De Troyer, took also part in the primary school hub meeting, and affirmed that the meeting was very enriching and the teachers expressed their wish to meet again soon.

For more information on the Living Schools Lab network, click here.

Picture credit: Veerle De Troyer

Spotlight on practice - a new series of articles launched

‘Spotlight on practice’ is a series of articles presenting the schools participating in the Living Schools Lab network. We will learn how the project schools are enhancing their teaching and learning through integrating use of technology into their classroom practice, with new articles being published every month.

The first article will introduce us to ITIS Majorana School, located in Brindisi, a town in the heel of Italy. The school is one of the state’s technical colleges (Istituto Tecnico Industriale Statale), and can truly be said to have embraced technology. Thanks to its strategic investment in technology, the school has incorporated the use of technology across the school curriculum. The school, which has 110 teachers and 1,200 students, is also leading a successful e-textbooks project.

Read the full article here

The first set of Living Schools Lab best practice videos available

As one of its objectives, the Living Schools Lab project aims to showcase and demonstrate good practices from schools that are successfully embedding ICT in teaching and learning. One part of this practice sharing are videos provided by schools. The first set of “best practice” videos, provided by the Advanced Schools, is now published and it includes examples of ICT implemented on school level.

See all the videos here

Implementing Living Schools Lab in Portuguese schools

José Moura Carvalho, coordinator of the team for educational resources and technology at Portugal's Direcção-Geral da Educação, speaks on how the Living Schools Lab project will drive innovation and change in Portuguese schools.

Growing the Living Schools Lab network

Many schools are using ICT in teaching and learning, but some may not use technology systematically, or may not have a strong vision on how to develop it further. The Living Schools Lab project provides a meeting point for schools that have embedded technology effectively across the whole school (Advanced Schools), and schools where technology is used only partially (Advanced Practitioner Schools). In the project, these schools will form regional clusters to share good practices, and provide opportunities for closer mentoring and collaboration between schools.

The Living Schools Lab network was started earlier this year with 24 Advanced Schools (AS) from 12 European countries (one primary and one secondary school from each). Now, the network is growing with the entry of 60 Advanced Practitioner Schools (AP), an additional five schools from each country (two primary and three secondary schools). Through the regional clusters, the Advanced Schools will help the Advanced Practitioner Schools with their plans to scale-up innovative use of ICT across the whole school.

One of the Advanced Practitioners Schools, Copland school in UK, told that they are very excited about being part of the project. With the support they will receive within the project, they expect to introduce mobile technology as part of a school improvement strategy and to increase their knowledge in using iPod touch to enhance learning in classroom for risk-learners.

Furthermore, at the pan-European level, the project offers to the schools collaborative school development model built around a strong community of practice, with supporting continuous professional development opportunities.

The Living Schools Lab network will be open to new schools later in the project. The call for schools will be announced on this website.

Sharing practice for a collaborative school development

To develop a sustainable, growing network of primary and secondary schools, the Living School Lab project needs schools where technology is embedded in teaching and learning across the whole school. In the project we call them Advanced Schools, and they will showcase and share practice with other schools.

In the following interview you can meet two teachers working in Advanced Schools and hear their thoughts on the project.  For more information on the Living Schools Lab school network, click here.

Interviewing the Advanced Schools

The interviews among the Living Schools Lab Advanced Schools will try to find answer to the question of how the schools have developed a whole school approach to ICT deployment and use of technologies for learning and teaching. The interviews are part of the "Observation and documentation of innovative practice" task coordinated by the University of Wolverhampton.

A total of 12 interviews (one interview per country) are foreseen in February. The interview topics will be linked to the school selection criteria; however, the project is also keen to learn about any national/local initiatives in the last decade in every country which have impacted on how learning technologies have been used for learning and teaching in schools.

Areas that will be covered during the interview

  1. National Projects
  2. Local Leadership for ICT
  3. School Leadership
  4. Personalisation of Student Learning
  5. Integration of ICT across the curriculum
  6. Digital Competence of teachers across the schools/CPD for ICT
  7. Partnerships and Networks (including Commercial Partners)
  8. Resources
  9. Learning Spaces
  10. Other areas of interest to the project
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