Project: Innovative Work Practices Project- Supporting 21st Century Teaching and Learning
This ‘Learning Mobility of Individuals‘ project was funded under Erasmus+ to enable CDETB to examine best practice in Supporting 21st Century Teaching and Learning, with specific attention on Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) and teaching.
The motives behind this project were clear.
(1) To support the CDETB TEL Strategy. This states that CDETB “will actively engage in digital learning research and development, informed by international best practice through EU and other funded projects.”
(2) Continued Professional Development (CPD) for CDETB managers to assist in Leadership and Management Development as per Goal 2 of the SOLAS FET Professional Development Strategy 2017-19).
In total 11 staff from the CDETB visited 2 host organisations (Noorderpoort College in the Netherlands and Solski Center Kranj in Slovenia) during 2018. Participants on the project were managers from a wide range of CDETB services as well as representatives from the CDETB TEL Strategy Working Group.
During the study visit to the Netherlands, CDETB staff attended workshops and presentations on a wide range of topics under the broad area of TEL and CPD.
Some good examples demonstrated are as follows;
Noorderpoort College makes use of video screens to teach classes remotely to students in another geographic location as well as on site. The students in the remote location are only supervised by a teacher. It had been tried previously without supervision but this had resulted in poor classroom dynamics. Also this method of teaching is used only at higher levels and students in the two locations have to meet and work together to build up a network. This does pose a challenge as both colleges have to co-ordinate their timetables. Classes are digitally recorded so students can catch up if they miss a class or some of the lesson content.
Every teacher in the College is required to learn about e-learning. Currently there are 7 “ambassadors” for e-learning across the different schools under the college brand. They are given 1.5 days in the week to do this work. Noorderpoort College also uses the SCRUM methodology and they have trained students and staff in this approach. Students could be seen around the college working together in small groups using the SCRUM framework and tools. Staff teams also use the SCRUM methodology in their collaborations. CDETB staff were also shown how TRELLO was used as a digital SCRUM board (“EduSCRUM”) where students can collaborate and work through the various stages of SCRUM for group assignments. Noorderpoort uses WIFI and BYOD for staff and students to eliminate the need for structured ICT rooms and transforms any room into an IT teaching area. This concept is significantly more cost effective in the long-term and introduces a much greater level of flexibility into building design. Staff are provided with laptops while students are expected to bring their own. All staff laptops are the same to minimise difficulty with servicing.
On the second day in the Netherlands, participants attended the Noorderpoort Academy which supports the “professionalisation” of its teachers. The Academy uses Office 365 to embed CPD events and corresponding materials for staff. Feedback forms are automatically sent to workshop participants following CPD events. Expert teachers are recognised and supported to provide training to colleagues through the Academy. All schools finish classes at 3pm on Tuesdays to accommodate training which is provided from 3-6pm. There is also an E-Library for staff which can be accessed for online training.
During the study visit to Slovenia, CDETB staff had the opportunity to observe at first hand innovative concepts and methodologies in education. At the start of the visit, a meeting and presentation by the CPI Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for VET provided a very useful insight into how CPI has a direct role in linking education and the labour market. Over 50% of CPI staff is from the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education. It coordinates and assists the vocational sector and connects it with the different social partners. This was very relevant for CDETB staff in the context of the changing FET landscape and labour market requirements.
In Solski Centre Kranj, students also use technology like TRELLO to collaborate on joint projects. This was demonstrated to CDETB staff etc. when we were shown the class work and joint projects on ‘TRELLO’ accounts.
Any classes observed clearly reflected a high level of student engagement in class work – much of it through technology which was evident throughout. The teacher was very much a facilitator in the classroom as students engaged in practical work, in written work and in discussion. Some students used their own devices in class and there was significant evidence of team work and shared learning objectives. Another interesting concept was that teachers are released to go into companies for the purpose of upskilling and keeping their skills relevant to the labour-market and are replaced on a temporary basis by qualified professionals.
CDETB staff also visited Bled College and the Astoria Hotel (“the Hotel School”) which are situated beside each other. It is an innovative and fascinating approach in which students attend the college and then get their work experience in the Hotel School which is situated a few hundred metres away. At any one time, 20% of the hotel workforce are students on work placement and many of the actual employees are graduates from the college itself. Some of the classes are taught using the flipped classroom method. CDETB staff also attended a “Carousel of Occupations” which the college ran to show how Primary School students could be attracted to attend Vocational Education. It was also noted how continuous guidance is provided to learners from a young age to prepare them or vocational education and/or the labour market.
Both study visits were a great success with participants rating highly their engagement with their European counterparts. In addition the networking done will result in collaborative working between CDETB and the education institutions visited and help strengthen the internationalisation of CDETB.
Project Co-Ordinator; Brian Gallagher, CDETB.
Project Organised and funded under Leargas Key Action KA01 – Learning Mobility of Individuals
Project Number 2017 -1 – – IE 01- KA102- 025597