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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,...

Collaborating more - with less individual devices, and making time for the plenary.

The second visit in Portugal is ESCOLA BÁSICA PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES School. Built in 2010, the school stemmed from the Expo 1998 and is very much part of the changing landscape and growing...

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
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Collaborating more - with less individual devices, and making time for the plenary.

The second visit in Portugal is ESCOLA BÁSICA PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES School. Built in 2010, the school stemmed from the Expo 1998 and is very much part of the changing landscape and growing population of new families in the area. However, it was originally intended that the school would cater for students up to the age of 14, but at the moment the second part of the planned new build has not even been started due to lack of funding. Fortunately, this does not affect the students as the building that has been finished so far is just for students up to the age of 11.

Sandra de Silva joined the LSL project in September 2013 and she is clearly focussed on how to demonstrate effective use of technology in her classroom. The students of her class are 9-10 year olds. Each student has their own Magellan computer. Although they potentially have access to this 24/7, currently they only bring it to school 2 days a week for 90 minutes literacy and 90 minutes ICT. It is intriguing that some countries are desperate for students to get their hands on an individual device yet in this class the students have them but still only use them at certain times. (But after today’s lesson, I think that might change!)

Today is literacy and the students are learning about the author José Eduardo Agualusa. The teacher has emailed each student a worksheet with tasks about the book “The Giraffe who ate all the Stars.”  The teacher asks the students to access a website of e-books. This is a national platform in Portugal that makes ebooks freely accessible. The students work as a whole class and take it turns to read aloud sections of the book. The teacher helps the students to identify particular elements of the story. 
  • Do your students have their own email address?
  • What e-books are available in your school?
  • Can you recommend any good links for e-books? #lsl_eu
At the moment, each of these tasks is still led by the teacher and this demonstrates how the teacher has begun to use the technology to replace some of the tasks that the students would once have done using books and paper. However, the next stage is to consider how the tasks would be organised in order to transform the student learning. In this lesson, the students complete the same task at the same time. The students also do some research about the giraffes.  In the visits to the first six countries, this was identified as one of the biggest issues for schools using 1:1 technologies. It is important to consider how you can provide activities which enable the students to demonstrate their individual knowledge and creativity. (It’s not easy when you have a class of 25+)
The students enjoy the opportunity to read the eBook and access the internet and search information, but it also becomes apparent that the students would benefit from having the opportunity to collaborate too. Although the students have their own device, it would have been good to see how the students shared access to the technology to allow more opportunities for paired discussion. 
  • What would happen if the students worked in small groups and did investigations or different tasks in rotating groups?
  • Do the students need an individual device or should we make more time for dialogue in the classroom by encouraging them to share resources?
  • If students have their own device – do we expect them to use it in every lesson?
  • Should devices be allowed to go home?
The teacher takes time at the end of the lesson to bring the students back together to ask them what they thought of the lesson. The students have enjoyed working with the computer and like being able to use the internet. The plenary of the lesson is extremely important and I think it can be a real chance to do a small task to enable the students to reflect on their learning. 
  • What do you do in the plenary of your lesson? #lsl_eu
  • How can you use technology in the plenary?
  • How can the students lead the plenary activity?
During the walk around this school, I get the opportunity to see the students out at playtime. There is an area that is covered over to enable the students to shelter during playtimes. There is also a garden where the students plant vegetables and flowers.
Although this is a brand new school, it is not dripping with state of the art technologies. However, one of the key points is that the school aims to get consistent use of the resources. The teachers are trying to consider opportunities of how technology can be used across the curriculum to make a difference to student learning. Having access to the internet in the classrooms is crucial and enables the students to connect different areas of learning.
So, as I leave Portugal, I can see the benefits of encouraging schools across the sector to be led by a joint management board. 
  • Do you collaborate with other local schools in your area?
  • Have you thought about working with other schools on a joint project? (Do contact us – we are looking for teachers who would like to collaborate!)
Joint staffing, resources and opportunities for professional development provide just a few reasons why it might be worth looking for the chance to collaborate with some of your neighbours even informally in the first instance.
P.S. Finally, I must mention that I got asked a great question by one of the younger students in this school. “If you are visiting so many countries, how do you know what language to speak when you wake up in the morning?” What a thoughtful question! (Unfortunately, I couldn’t respond in Portuguese – only English, but it is a welcome reminder to give your students to the chance to ask questions because they can surprise you with what they are thinking!)
If you want to read further about other 1:1 projects try here.