The major pan-European project on the design of the future classroom, iTEC, has come to its close at the end of August 2014. In the project European Schoolnet worked with education ministries, technology providers and research organisations to transform the way that technology is used in schools. Over the course of the project, educational tools and resources were piloted in over 2,500 classrooms across 20 European countries, with the goal of providing a sustainable model for fundamentally redesigning teaching and learning. The project involved 26 project partners, including 14 Ministries of Education, and funding of €9.45 million from the European Commission’s FP7 programme.
The results of the project have been published in a form of a magazine "Designing the future classroom" Nº2, available in five languages. The articles include stories from teachers and project partners, as well as a preview to the iTEC school pilot results and training activities, including the Future Classroom Scenarios course.
Download the magazine "Designing the future classroom" Nº2 here:
The previous issue of the magazine is available in English (published: Oct 2013)
What will learning look like in 2020? How do you see the classroom in five years from now? How will technology be used to support teaching and learning?
European Schoolnet, a unique partnership organisation of 30 Ministries of Education from across Europe, wants to hear your opinion! Make your opinions heard in this five-minute survey and help shape the future classroom. All teachers, educators and anyone interested in the future of teaching and learning are welcome to reply to this survey. All answers are anonymous, but you can leave your email and name if you want to be contacted.
"The iTEC project has given me additional confidence to deliver project-based learnint and design Learning Activities that are slightly outside od the normal ways of teaching", Kerry Shoebridge tells. She is a physical education teacher at Shireland Collegiate Academy, UK, and took part in the iTEC project through starting to use a SMART interactive whiteboard in her school. Watch the full interview here!
The Scenario Development Environment (SDE) is a web application that provides support for the entire process of creating Future Classroom Scenarios: outlining Scenarios, discovering educational resources to be used in Scenarios, and drafting original Scenarios, but also adapting Future Classroom Scenarios created by others to teachers’ and students’ particular needs.
For the outlining of Scenarios, the SDE provides a simple editor, with a carefully designed interface. The users can also work collaboratively. The published works serve as an inspiration for other teachers, resulting perhaps in new, more exciting Scenarios. The published Scenarios are available at www.itec-sde.net/en/scenarios
The SDE makes discovering educational resources easy and quick. The users can explore numerous documentaries, places of interest, lectures, courses, biographies, and many other types of educational resources. The exploratory search in the SDE leads the user from one topic to another, and proposed similar resources to the ones already selected. To discover the exploratory search, take a look at the Iliad by Homer in the SDE.
For drafting Future Classroom Scenarios, the SDE provides a “lightweight” editor for creating narrative descriptions, which combine educational resources with text to form a storybook. Take a look to narratives created by other teachers in www.itec-sde.net/en/experiences
Once starting to interact with the SDE — exploring, bookmarking educational resources, etc. — the tool will learn the topics of interest of each user and can make useful recommendations of educational resources. The SDE uses state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence techniques to provide this service.
iTEC has piloted Future Classroom Scenarios and Learning Activities with some 50,000 students in over 2,500 classrooms in 19 countries, but has there been an effective return on the investment made in the project?
Over the four years, the evaluators gathered the views of teachers and students (some 1,488 were surveyed), national coordinators and policy-makers through surveys, interviews, focus groups, case studies and observations. The results were collated under three headings in the final evaluation report. Here is a foretaste of them.
“80% of students surveyed in cycle 5 (n=1444) agreed that the knowledge
and skills they had gained through participating in iTEC would
help them to do better in their assessments.”
The iTEC final evaluation report will be available online briefly.
In June 2013, Innova&Educación started a project with Promethean to involve 10 schools from across Spain to work using the iTEC resources. The project was advertised through social networks, a video on PowToon, and school visits, resulting in about 40 schools applying out of which 10 were selected.
To their credit, the schools involved in the project turned out to be very open-minded and prepared to try out innovative approaches to develop their teaching. Some schools undertook even deeper transformations in their practices. For example the school Nuestra Señora de Las Victorias in Madrid decided to develop interdisciplinary work and give teachers the freedom to organise their schedules with more freedom. They also wanted to measure student competences and skills in different subjects like informatics, art and English. The developed a project about life in the XIX Century, during which the students developed their audio-visual, reflection and English-language skills, and communicated with outside experts.
Another inspiring example is the Colegio Base in Madrid that participated in English and mathematics projects. In mathematics the school were chosen to attend the Euromaths Competition in Sweden where they could show their work on creating games with ActivInspire and Scratch. The technique was used subsequently to create games for geometry and robotics.
Another school, CEIP San Julián in Andalucía, also worked with geometry and games, and invited students’ families to play them.
The English International College in Marbella participated through geography and languages. They carried out data collection during field trips and imported data into the classroom systems through apps like MyTracks and Google Earth. They also used data sensors outside with tablet software like ClassFlow. In languages they experimented with Augmented Reality by using Aurasma together with ClassFlow.
To communicate and share, the teachers in the project used groups in Edmodo and Facebook, Twitter (#Aulainnova), shared files at Google Drive, chats in Google Hangout, and other tools like TeamUp, VoiceThread and Flipgrid.
Several teachers have commented on the positive effects of the project, for example Chris Long, Head of Humanities EIC Marbella, Spain, tells that “the impact of the iTEC project has been immense as it gave a number of departments the confidence to develop scenario based learning as a way to incorporate and develop the technology”.
Article by María Florenzano, Educational Technology Consultant, Innova&Educación, Spain
The 2nd edition of the Future Classroom Scenarios course, by the European Schoolnet Academy will start on 28 July 2014. The enrollment for the course will open on 20 June.
The 1st edition of the course was unquestionably a huge success: over 80% of respondents to the course evaluation survey rated the course “very good” with another 19% rating it “good”. “This course has given me new energy and inspiration. I love my job, but every once in a while you need a professional development that gets you reenergized. So thank you. I also learned [about] many new tools such as Aurasma, Padlet, Tricider etc. that I plan to use in my classroom. I also started to approach my planning process in [the] light of the new ideas from the course”, one of the participants commented.
Completion of the course’s modules was very high, at 90%, while 55% of those who started the course also completed it. Almost 70% of teachers reported having changed their classroom setup since completing the course. Read more about the evaluation of the first course here.
The Future Classroom Scenarios course aims to introduce teachers, headteachers and ICT coordinators in schools to concepts, tools, and exchanges about the future classroom. The course is designed in response to the increasing challenges faced by educators around the world to accommodate the rising importance of technology in education and the impact this has on teaching and learning. The 2nd edition will start in 28 July.
The course covers six modules which introduce you to key concepts like 21st century skills and allow you to exchange with your peers about your own experiences of trying out new activities and technologies in the classroom. During the course we will also reflect and discuss the role of technology tools in the future classroom and your current teaching and learning environments. A number of tools are introduced which help the process of innovation in the school and classroom but are equally useful for your everyday teaching practices.
If you are a science teacher, don't miss out the 2nd edition of another EUN Academy course "Innovative Practices for Engaging STEM Teaching" which will re-start on 18 August.
The People and Events Directory offers a community where teachers and educationalists can find others with similar interests and share knowledge and experiences of using Learning Activities. The platform has been developed within the EC-funded iTEC project and is being tested currently as a prototype. To further develop the directory, the users' are invited to submit their feedback.
Pupils at Spetalen School in Norway created an interactive walking trail as part of local history project. The pupils had studied myths and legends associated with their local area, and then created multimedia presentations on their chosen story. The pupils' presentations were then uploaded on the class blog, and a QR code was generated for each individual story. The QR codes were then printed off and left at the various points around the local area where the legends supposedly took place. Pupils were then able to walk the trail, scan the QR codes and view one another’s' presentation at the 'scene of the crime', so to speak.
The project was carried out with iTEC's partner in Norway, the Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education. "I think the project is very interesting, the technical set-up was easy, and the students loved it", said Jørund Høie Skaug, who leads the iTEC project in Norway.
Classrooms from 16 countries are taking take part in the fifth and final cycle of the iTEC school pilots which has been underway since the beginning of this year. When the iTEC project was launched in 2010, the goal was to involve 1,000 classrooms across Europe in the pilots. Now, as the project draws towards the end of the piloting phase, it has reached almost 2,500 classrooms.
The last cycle is special also in the way it’s being implemented: the project’s National Pedagogical Coordinators will design Learning Activities tailored specifically to teachers in their country.
One activity that has been developed for teachers in Finland is ‘Ten sticks on a tablet’: children visit a retirement home to learn about the games that were played by children in previous generations, and also engage in exchange by teaching older people how to use and play games on tablet computers.
According to one of the teachers who reviewed the activity, “The concept looks excellent, it is well-described and has lots of potential for innovation, in particular the role given to the students includes good potential for change in student’s attitudes towards learning”.
Further details on the ‘Ten sticks on a tablet’ activity can be found at http://www.itec-sde.com/en/activities/68 (registration is required, but everybody is free to register).
Are you looking for courses and workshops for yourself or for your school's teachers? Popular two-day workshops on different topics as well as comprehensive five-day courses will be organised at the Future Classroom Lab in Brussels. The workshops and courses are open to teachers from across Europe, so view here our training programme for 2014:
Read also about Erasmus+ funding for school staff mobility projects, application deadline 17 March 2014
European Schoolnet spoke to some of the leading thinkers in European education to get their ideas on how develops in society and technology would impact on how we teach and learn.
How are emerging trends in technology and education impacting on how we train teachers? What needs to be put in place to allow teachers to innovate within their professional development? These were some of the questions discussed and explored at the European Schoolnet’s annual conference, EMINENT, on 4-5 December 2013 in Helsinki, under the theme of ‘Teacher training for the 21st century’. As in previous years, the conference brought together over 130 policymakers, researchers, teachers, and industry providers from across the entire education spectrum.
The opening address of EMINENT 2013 was delivered by Krista Kiuru, Finnish Minister for Education and Science. The keynote address was delivered by Diana Laurillard, Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies in the Faculty of Culture and Pedagogy, University of London, on the theme of teaching as a design science.
To view all of the conference videos, go to the EMINENT 2013 playlist on Youtube.
As part of its mainstreaming activities, the iTEC project has been entering into new collaborations with educational institutions and organisations around Europe to facilitate the uptake of iTEC Learning Activities and technologies on a wider scale. Four new organisations have joined iTEC as Associate Partners, to share their expertise, and help make the future classroom a reality.
The new Associate Partners are:
To learn more about the partners involved in the iTEC project, click here.
When Gloria Huerta decided to implement the iTEC's 'Tell a story' with her students, she wanted to do an inter-disciplinary project, to measure student competences and skills in a number of areas.
For the project, teachers Gloria Huerta, Araceli Catón and José Carlos Sánchez and their Year 8 class decided to create comics which illustrated the differences between life in the 19th and 21st centuries. During the project, students used online tools such as Mindomo and TeamUp, used their audio-visual skills to build narratives, improved their English-language skills, and used the class blog to reflect on their progress. The students also received from feedback from outside experts, including from Marta Herranz Calvo, a past-pupil of the school who has studied History of Art.
The project was carried out with iTEC partners Promethean and Innova&Educación. The class blog is available to view here (Spanish language).
In the final interview from the 'Every classroom a future classroom' conference, Niel McLean, formerly with Britain's National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and now Head of Education at eSkills UK, speaks on how the huge increase in access to information brought about by the Web 2.0 is changing the dynamic between teacher and pupils.
Diana Laurillard, Professor of Learning with Digital Technologies at the Institute of Education, University of London, gives her views on the trends that are impacting on education including technology infrastructure in schools, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), teachers as drivers for innovation, and the classroom of 2025. The interview was filmed during the Eminent conference at Helsinki on 4-5 December 2013.
SEK Atlántico can truly be said to be an iTEC success story. Located in Pontevedra, Galicia, along Spain’s north-western coast, the school has over 600 students, from infants through to 12th grade. Since its founding in 1989, the school has always sought ways to introduce innovation to its teaching and learning.
SEK Atlántico has been involved in the iTEC project since the launch of the project in 2010, and started off with just one teacher. Since then, 18 pilot classes have taken part in all four of the project’s cycles. At SEK Atlántico, the success of iTEC can be traced back to the enthusiasm that students have shown towards the project. Gonzalo Garcia, a mathematics teacher who was the first teacher in the project, says that the more involved in the project the school was, the more motivated the students were. According to Gonzalo, the students’ enthusiasm for the project is down to the fact that iTEC Learning Activities take place in a non-traditional classroom dynamic: “The iTEC activities design gives great importance to teamwork: this meant that the students were involved in an engaging dynamic in which individual work contributes to a common goal, continuously assessed by teammates. It is often the case that students are actually more demanding on their peers than us teachers”.
Students also experienced an improvement of their test results, a higher level of engagement in classroom activities, and a greater awareness of their own learning management. “Probably the most impacting change in my teaching is that today I share more responsibility with my students”, Gonzalo continues. “I can be confident and trust in my students’ maturity, as I know they’ll take that responsibility.”
According to Cristina Márquez, Deputy Head of Learning and Development at SEK Atlántico, the iTEC experience has been very rich for the whole school community. “iTEC provides an opportunity to explore, innovate, and develop teachers professionally; working together and collaborating between different teams of teachers and students.”
She has also seen that iTEC provides opportunities for students to enrich their skills for the future and to be more reflective, active learners and participative students. Exploring, checking facts and theories, developing students’ scientific thinking, working together and connecting learning with real life matters and questions are all part of iTEC.
Pablo Martínez, a 10th grade student who was part of one of the pilot classes at the school, also feels that iTEC has benefited his everyday learning. “What a great project! It has been an incredible experience. The thing I liked most was to work in teams. I would never have thought that my classmates were so creative. I would recommend every teacher in Europe join the project; iTEC is really worth it.”
Read more success stories and other articles in the iTEC magazine
Gill Leahy, Head of European Teaching and Learning Consultants, Promethean, and Maria Florenzano, Head of Education at Innova&Educación, speak about the role that technology will play in developing scenarios for the future classroom.
The interviews were recorded during the 'Every classroom a future classroom' conference that took place in Brussels in October.
Peter Claxton is Senior Manager for Educational Policy & Practice with SMART Technologies, one of the educational technology providers that are partners in the iTEC project.
He gave his insights on the speaks about the role that industry can play in bringing innovation into teaching learning during the 'Every classroom a future classroom' conference in Brussels, October 2013.