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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...

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...

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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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 years. Surrounded by beautiful woodland, the modern main school buildings only date back to the 1990’s. There are some “mobile” buildings and just on its own towards the wood is a detached building of the original school and it is over 100 years old.

One of the first points I notice about this school is the vibrant buzz of activity.   In the entrance is a media area that has a large TV screen and a group of students are gathered around. Some students are interviewing others. An enthusiastic audience gathers to observe.
As we walk around the school, we visit classrooms where older students are working with younger students. The school has established “media pairs” so that students can support younger learners with their use of the technology. The 5th grade students are working with the younger children to create animations using i-pads. The teacher is able to work with each group and can concentrate on the content, rather than the technical support.
Allowing students to support each other is extremely important in today’s classroom. It is very difficult to be an expert in every single piece of software or application. Students aspire to the role of “digital leader” and these skills are transferable in everyday life. This school is driving the plan forward to enable students to access a mobile tablet device one between two; the focus is not on more technology but making creative and active use of what is available.
When you are mainstreaming ICT practice across the school, it is essential that you share the vision for implementation with the students. You can encourage them to take responsibility for disseminating practice and enable them to share the school community.
  • How do you enable students in your class to support the use and application of technology?
  • What examples can you share of older students working with younger students, or even vice versa?
  • What equipment do you have in school to digitally record students learning?
  • How are your students involved with implementing the school vision?
  • What would the Future Classroom be like for the students you teach?
  • How often do your students share your school with the wider world?
In the afternoon, I am introduced to the school media team. This group of eleven students is from 6th grade classes and they work with the support of a teacher in school to create content for the Wäiski-TV. These students are a real independent asset to the school, with one designated camera person and one student responsible for sound; the others soon assign each other responsibilities for today’s tasks.
The introduction takes a little more than one attempt, and the students work unaided to achieve perfection. (Take 3: they need no teacher instructions, just a quick rehearsal of the agreed lines, and promise not to giggle.) In the hot seat today, it’s me. (No famous pop star available, they are awaiting a response!) The students have prepared several questions taking their role very seriously. See the Wäiski-TV news with Diana below! 
Not every school has broadcasting equipment, but this school demonstrates the benefits of identifying students to enhance whole school development using technology. The media team works with individual classes and films learning activities to capture students and their achievements. This can then be broadcast and made available on Youtube or Tuubi. It is a great showcase for the school!