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Small Schools can do IT with Open Learning and Personalisation

VS Gutenberg an der Raabklamm has just 66 students, but with two floors and a bright and spacious building, it doesn’t feel small. With just 14-18 students per class, and only 5 teachers...

Decision, Precision and Transparency across the School for Systemic Change Using ICT

Tourismusschulen, Bad Hofgastein , Salzburg has approximately 320 students aged 14-19 years. Whilst this school is different to many “mainstream” schools, it is a private school,...

Transforming Curriculum Change with Collaborative Live Links in Mathematics and Italian.

Coláiste Bríde Presentation Secondary school is an all-girls school just 20 minutes by car from Dublin City Centre in Clondalkin.    On entering the school what immediately...

Involving your students and making the most of learning beyond the lesson time.

Eça de Queirós has been identified as the Advanced Secondary School in Portugal for the LSL Project. Set in an area surrounded by high rise apartments and largely lower socio-economic status; this...

Active Learning in Ieper Across the Curriculum is Building Opportunities for Whole School Innovation and Change.

MS Ieper school is ten minutes walk from the main town square of Ieper where the Menin Gate is situated. This is a middle school with approximately 189 students aged 12-14...

Mathematical Movies, Stop-motion and a Countdown to the Finale in Space.

My journey begins with a train from Brussels Central Station to Leuven.  De Klare Bron and De Grasmus is a federation of two schools led by one headteacher, Begga Willems. I begin the...

Libraries, learning spaces and a mobile curriculum.

Istituto Comprensivo di Cadeo is a federation of two schools that are within two towns near Piacenza with a 10-15 minute drive between. In each of the two towns of Pontenure and ...

Collaborating through E-Twinning; Animated Fairy-Tales and the Lego Challenge.

My second visit in Norway is to Skjelnan School , a primary school for approximately 250 students aged 6-13 years. The school day is 8.30am – 12:30pm for the students in lower...

Letting technology replace tradition?

My first visit in France is to a small, village school Eppu Ingrandes sur Loire with only 200 students. The leading teacher for this Advanced School is also the exceedingly busy headteacher....

Innovation - Where will you invest next?

Puropelto School has undergone significant transformation over the last five years to improve the learning environment for staff and students. The change in the environment is not visible from...

Take One Finland - Lights, Camera, Action

My first visit in Finland was to Wäinö Aaltonen School on the island of Hirvensalo, near Turku. This is a primary school and provides education for approximately 450 students from 7-13...

Getting Mobile and Making Cartoons for Language Learning.

As we walk up the stairs to the classroom, the first observation is Petra climbing the stairs to her lesson carrying what looks like a large blue reusable supermarket shopping bag. (And it probably...

How Are You Interconnecting Learning Spaces and Technology? A School with a Zoo and Three Kangaroos

A tour of Gymnazium Teplice in the Czech Republic leaves me slightly stunned; there seems to be something different around every corner. I am greeted by two students who are keen to show me...

"Buchty" or Learning Snacks?

  Dr E Beneṧe School is my first visit in the Czech Republic. Set in the suburbs of Prague in an area called Zscakovice, the school has 751 pupils from 6-15 years and is classified as a...

Inspiring design ideas in different learning spaces

  At Broadclyst Academy , one of the other dominant features was the different types of classroom space available and it soon became apparent that over the years, the head teacher and the team...

Observation visits Observation visits

Link observation visits schedule 2013

  • UK: 12 June and 27 June
  • Czech Republic: 16 September
  • Finland: 23 September
  • France: 30 September
  • Norway: 14 October
  • Italy: 21 October
  • Cyprus: 11 November
  • Belgium: 18 November
  • Portugal: 13 January 2014
  • Ireland: 20 January 2014
  • Austria: 27 January 2014
  • Lithuania: 10 February 2014
Journal: Observation visits Journal: Observation visits
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Active Learning in Ieper Across the Curriculum is Building Opportunities for Whole School Innovation and Change.

MS Ieper school is ten minutes walk from the main town square of Ieper where the Menin Gate is situated. This is a middle school with approximately 189 students aged 12-14 years, but the campus has large grounds that are shared with a total of 600 students across four main schools with different headteachers. There are also other schools in the nearby vicinity.

My morning begins in the school gym and behind the curtains on a raised platform are a set of 24 exercise bikes. The kit belongs to a local group who allow the school to use them in the daytime and then they use them at night time for the local community. (Unfortunately, I’ve missed the ‘FIT’ class on the bikes this week!) This is a ‘public-private partnership’ and a great opportunity for a local business to make use of the school facilities and share resources.
  • What facilities are open to the public in your school?
  • Can you work with a local business to share equipment and resources?
During the tour of the school, we go to a Mathematics class and the students are doing a multiple choice activity on the SMART interactive whiteboard, but the students indicate their responses using a paper vote A, B, C or D. The teacher takes the visual response to make a quick assessment of the student understanding of the simultaneous equations.
In the computer lab, each of the 20 students has access to a computer facing an interactive whiteboard and they are working on Geogebra. The students like this as they are able to do the tasks independently, but they can follow the teacher step-by step.
In Woodwork, a small group of nine students are going through the design of their next masterpiece and several of them go to the interactive whiteboard to show how to calculate the measurements of three ‘assembled’ equilateral triangles in a block of wood. 
In one further classroom, there are a group of 15-16 year olds from Atheneum school next door which is part of the same campus and the two schools are interconnected. They are studying Accountancy and this week they are working out employment and salary costs. The students have to do the calculations on the iPad using a spreadsheet, but a great idea here is that the solution is behind the QR code displayed in the top left hand corner of the IWB. This means that the students can work at their own pace and check their results. This lesson is delivered by Emely Laheye who is a LSL Advanced Practitioner and now works regularly with Philip and Sabine at MS Ieper and it demonstrates how LSL has encouraged these schools to collaborate further.
  • Do you know what happens at one of the schools near to yours?
  • Have you ever been to observe a teacher and share ideas?
  • How do the students use technology in the younger years and what skills have they already got?
  • Can you share equipment with the school next door? Or even swap classrooms?
Philip Everaerts is one of the lead teachers for LSL at MS Ieper. He has developed a whole new curriculum area in school called Active Learning with ICT. The aim is to enable the students to undertake tasks to increase their ICT skills. In today’s lesson, the students will look at the safety of their own passwords and consider and test what are the key requirements for a good password.  The students use the iPads to access the website and they are soon keen to see how it works.
The teacher begins by giving the students a QR code to scan with an ipad. This allows them to access SMART Extreme Collaboration. The students have to text in examples of what they know about Facebook privacy. (Regardless of their age, it is perhaps not surprising to see just how confident the students are with using social media.) 
In the main part of the lesson, the teacher asks the students to test the safety of their passwords using a website; the students begin to see just how vulnerable their online information and identity can be. The students have to upload their examples to the school VLE (Belgium’s Smartschool). By the end of the lesson, the students understand that they need to create new unknown passwords with a mixture of eight numbers and letters including letters and numbers.    (but, Password1234 is still too obvious!) 
  • How often do you discuss e-safety with your students?
  • Who takes responsibility for e-safety in school?
  • Do you deliver e-safety as a specific lesson or is it integrated into other subjects?
  • How do you keep parents informed?
In the second part of the morning, Sabine Buseyne who is the second LSL teacher in this Advanced school introduces the students to using the SMART Clicker learner response system for the first time in History. Sabine has prepared a single slide to demonstrate to the students how to use the technology, and this helps to focus the students on which buttons they will use in the lesson. In this lesson, the students simply have agree with the statements “True” (WAAR) or “False.” (ONWAAR)
One of the most important factors of the learner response system is the immediate feedback and it is not long before the teacher can look at the results with the students. This helps the teacher to make a quick assessment of the students’ understanding.
The purpose of the lesson is to learn about prehistorical tools and the evolution of stone processing. 
In the main part of the lesson, the teacher divides the class into a carousel of groups using the random name generator. The students work through the activities with just 3 minutes on each task. (It is good to see just what the students can achieve in a very focussed time!)
There are 5 tasks:
1.       Who was Otzi? The students open the app Morfo and listen to the story of Otzi the ice mummy. (This content has been created by older ICT students.)
2.       Situating in Time – Open the app 3D Timeline and analyse the timeline
3.       Learn about the different tools from the Prezi
4.       Evolution of Stone Processing – Open the app “Scan” and scan the QR codes. Put them in the correct order
5.       Testing Skills – Do the short computer based test to show your understanding
  • How do you demonstrate new equipment with your students for the first time?
  • What opportunities do you give older students to create the lesson content for younger students?
  • How many carousel activities work best within your lesson time?
MS Ieper is able to showcase how technology is being used across the school and it is really encouraging to see how they are looking closely across the curriculum to understand which technologies and applications can be embedded in different aspects of learning. Making time to explore the different uses of technologies within learning and teaching is helping to enable whole school change. The school also offers face to face training for others and this offers great potential as a resource for the LSL Regional Hub and maybe some online learning snacks!
P.S. I left Leuven by train and made the journey across Belgium via Brussels to Ieper. (I knew that I needed to get off at the penultimate stop on the train – but it can be incredibly difficult to calculate how long it will take between stops when the train slows down – therein lies another story which I will save for now!)