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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,...

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...

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 ...

Addressing the innovation culture and learning with tablets.

  Leaving the small village of Ingrandes, we head almost 3 hours across France by car to the second destination, just outside Poitiers . Surrounded by a technical landscape of modern...

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....

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...

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...

What is new on your professional learning journey?

It always seems that we have to wait a long time for the summer holidays, counting off the days on the calendar, planning for all those things we are going to do, "when we have more time";...

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...

Lesson Observation Number One - Collaborative Learning with the Mr Men

In the afternoon at Shireland Collegiate Academy , I joined the leading teacher for the Living Schools Lab Project, Mr Moore and his year nine students for the Literacy for Life lesson. As...

First Stop - Shireland Collegiate Academy, Sandwell, UK

Although I’ve been to Shireland several times before, I think the immediate observation for most visitors must be the celebration of cultures and faiths that exist as one. Shireland...

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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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 their favourite parts of the school. Initially they are shy, but soon confidently showcase their learning spaces. There is a no clear line in this school where old meets new, the traditional and the modern blend together seamlessly. This “Living School” is an old building steeped in rich history. Beyond the entrance doors and over a walkway bridge which connect two buildings, we go deep into the basement where the student turns on the light to reveal a church which is being lovingly restored bit by bit as the funding can be raised. It dates back to the time of the Benedictine nuns. There are wooden structural supports around the edge, and a definite feeling that this is ‘work in progress.’ However, to retain the continued use of the building, there is a photographic exhibition to encourage visitors to support the developments.

 (The beginning of this tour is a reminder that students need to take ownership for the learning community too. If you can involve them in showcasing the school, this means you can encourage students from across the school to reflect various projects. Engaging students in the process can be the first step to your whole school development.)
Across this school, there are 850 students and approximately 70 teachers. Seven classrooms are equipped with SMART interactive whiteboards and there are also 41 projectors.
Adjacent to the next building, we enter The Greenhouse” of the school; known locally as “the zoo.” As we approach, I can see an ostrich, three kangaroos, and lemurs to name just a few of the animals. Beyond the entrance are spiders, turtle snapping crocodiles, an aviary of birds and the most recent addition to the family: an armadillo. There are figs growing and a passion flower in full bloom. All of this is cared for by a Biology teacher and several willing student volunteers. This is the first time I have seen a zoo in a school. (I usually avoid anything that scuttles in a classroom cage, I love it when I see the chicks about to hatch in Reception as the children learn about Spring - so you can imagine, I felt privileged to see a whole zoo – but I still didn’t want to hold the snake!)
Back in the main part of the school we climb to the top of the building in search of the “Didactic Park.”   This is a learning space that was created several years ago when the school was involved in a project with Norway. The area is devoted to interactive displays and learning materials for the teaching of Physics and other aspects of Science. Every activity is meticulously numbered and labelled with short explanations of how it works and the relevance to everyday life. The students can touch most of the displays on a daily basis. A few have been placed behind glass to be used when a teacher is present, but this is understandable given the replacement costs. 
Alongside these physical spaces, the school is dependent on Bakalari, the virtual learning environment. Within this space, the teacher can make the lesson resources available, communicate with students and parents. All of the learning environments for the school connect within this hub. It enables the teachers looking at whole school development to interconnect changes to ensure it is both current and relevant to the students. 
In the LSL Advanced Schools we can begin to see the layers of development that have been enabled and ICT has been only one part of this. Sometimes the learning spaces and the technology operate in parallel, but the challenge for the school is to build the connections between the two.
Whilst the Living Schools Lab Project is focussed on the practice that can be mainstreamed, this school attaches clear importance to the unique subject specific learning spaces and there is certainly a need to look at this more closely. The Virtual Learning Environment is pivotal to the school development.
  • In your school, is there a specialist teacher for a particular subject who could develop a learning space with specialist resources for display and learning materials?
  • How could technology influence these learning spaces?
One of the key STEPS for the Advanced Practitioners within the project is to look at how to share their practice across the school. It is the development of shared learning spaces that will help to enable this. 
  •  If you were to review the learning spaces in your school, what would you find?
  • What is the best way to review your learning spaces? #lsl_eu @DianaBannister
Next Stop: Finland.