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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...

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...

Increasing Creativity Across All Subjects using Technology

I realised that for this observation visit I am probably about as close to the North Pole that I will ever get. The first school that I visit in Norway, is Tromstun , a...

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...

"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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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 morning at De Klare Bron that is situated Heverlee, a leafy suburb of Leuven about 10-15 minutes drive from the train station by car. The school has approximately 240 students aged 2 ½ - 12 years.   There is also a day care nursery on site. The school is well equipped and most classrooms have a digital projector, or interactive whiteboard. There are also 10 iPads in each school.
This morning, I am based with Cindy Persoons, a LSL lead teacher and her class of twenty four 7 and 8 year olds doing Mathematics. Cindy explains that the students will be divided into two groups for today’s lesson, and one half of the students will go to a different room with another teacher  to recap some knowledge covered in a previous lesson about area, volume and capacity. The main purpose of the lesson is for the students to understand that when they are calculating the volume of something, they need to consider what might be behind. i.e. How deep is something and how can we demonstrate that using technology?
The teacher has Apple TV in the classroom and this means that she can enable all of the iPads to display the movies using the interactive projector with no cable using Airplay. The teacher shows the students how the “i-STOP Motion” works. Each of the five groups will create their own stop motion with one iPad per group. 
The teacher has some large boxes of bricks and she gives them to the students who will work in threes. Each student will take a different responsibility for a different task, there is a director, a builder and one who will film the shots. The children build their constructions and create the short clips to show the different layers of bricks. The teacher goes around supporting each group, occasionally stopping the class to demonstrate another point, for example, she shows them how to delete a picture and how to edit their work.
The children work creatively and soon build a construction, and some are able to make progress for their main building to be part of a scene. (What started out as a basic archway, ended as the entrance to a zoo with some animals trying to escape!) 
It is soon time for the groups to swap over and the second group to take undertake the task. The teacher is able to share the examples from the first group and they are soon creating their mathematical movies. However, it is fascinating to see that the second group are almost at a different starting point, because they have been able to see the physical examples that have been made by the first group, as well as the digital clips. They are keen to build a scene, but the teacher revisits a good digital example from the first group to emphasise how they need to focus on showing their mathematical knowledge first.
  • How often do you divide your students for ICT activities?
  • What are the differences for the students who use the technology first and those who complete the paper based activities?
  • In this class, the students took the roles of Director, Film Producer and Builder – what roles have you given your students? #lsl_eu
  • How can you use technology to deliver other mathematical concepts?
  • When you divide your class, how do you feedback to the other teacher you are working alongside?
Lunchtime, and today the vegetable soup has been prepared by the older students in a cookery class and it is very tasty! A ten-minute drive away in the car and we arrive at De Grasmus – here there are 160 students. The school is set just 5-10 minutes from the train station in Leuven in the middle of a residential street out of the town.
Two students present their project on “Space.” They have had three weeks to prepare their project work. Hans Van Gelder is the lead LSL teacher; he has given them ideas and supported them during the lesson time, but on the whole, the students have worked independently. The students have created a presentation that includes some key facts about space and the first person to travel into outer space. The two boys then present a short video of them interviewing some adults to ask what they were doing on the day of the moon landing in 1969. 
The most significant point about this work is that it shows the students are able make their own decisions about when and when not to use the technology. They have used their own initiative to interview family members and some people ‘in the street.’ The students have utilised many resources and during the discussion with the students after the lesson, they have recognised that they still need to take their knowledge from a variety of sources and cannot depend on just accessing the internet. The students have been able to blend together different technologies and concrete materials to create their presentation as something which is very ‘live’ and ‘personal’ rather than just a static retelling of information.
In the final part of their presentation, the students have recorded themselves building a spaceship from Lego and looking what happens in the process of a spaceship taking off.
We all join in with the countdown 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 BLAST OFF! 
Across both these schools are some very good examples of the use of the iPads within the classroom and it will be interesting to see how what the next set of challenges will be across the different age groups and how the students respond with their growing expectation to make full use of the technologies around them.