The project “Creating Innovative Future” was an extension of the efforts our school made in its improvement of the use of ICT in the classroom, the outcomes of the educational process, and a more effective approach towards inclusion. The project’s general objectives were to support the professional development of teachers leading to the implementation of innovations and improvements to teaching quality; and to improve our school’s capacities to implement changes relating to modernisation and internationalisation. The project’s specific objectives were to develop the competences of teachers and school staff in managing inclusion in the classroom environment through a one week training period conducted by training companies experienced in the development of international trainings, which led to the use of said competences in their everyday work and the dissemination of newly acquired skills and competences to the rest of the school’s teaching body and beyond. Another specific objective was to develop teacher and staff’s ICT skills through the use of innovative methodological approaches in a week-long training exercise conducted by training companies experienced in the development of international trainings, which led to an enriched learning environment that enabled students to actively involve themselves in the learning process, and for teachers to personalise and adapt their activities to students’ learning styles, learning strategies, and skills through the use of digital tools and resources. Naturally, the closure of schools and the resultant shifting of learning processes to a digital environment (brought about by the pandemic) increased the need for adaptations to learning and teaching processes; as such, competences and skills developed by teachers and school staff from this project were immediately put into practice, which enabled both teachers and students to adapt to this “new normal” in a quicker manner. The project’s aims and outcomes were closely related to the Teaching Award’s annual priority of distance, and blended and hybrid learning.
The project’s target group consisted of 8 teachers (2 English teachers, 3 Macedonian language teachers, 1 teacher of music education, and 2 primary level teachers) and 1 school counsellor (a psychologist) who attended 2 chosen training courses organised by the two international training providers, with all participants having consisted of Macedonians. Following training courses, participants conducted in-house trainings for the school’s remaining teachers and staff through school workshops, open lessons, and mentoring exercises so as to assist teachers in the implementation of newly acquired skills and competences. Furthermore, dissemination activities were carried out at the local level through training workshops implemented at our municipality, other municipalities, as well as dissemination training at the national level.
A number of teaching and learning approaches were implemented during the project including multidisciplinary approaches through the use of different digital applications and tools, where teachers were able to link different school subjects and topics and practice curriculum integration into their lessons; key competence development, with the main competence developed during the project having been digital competence, as well as personal, social, and learning competences, and cultural awareness and expression; the innovative use of tools, which involved the use of a wide variety of digital tools and applications that allowed teachers and staff to use them as agents of the learning and teaching process; and, the learners’ active role in the learning process, which stimulated students’ interest not only through traditional means and content, but also with the use of digital tools, resources, and the involvement of all students in the learning process (while taking into account the individual needs of all children).
The whole school approach was used during the project and following its completion. During the dissemination process, the 8 teachers and 1 school counsellor organised 12 internal workshops (in-house trainings) for teachers and staff of our school, and 6 open lessons, where they put into practice their newly acquired skills and competences. Participating teachers also mentored other teachers in their implementation of newly acquired skills and competences into their lessons. As part of the dissemination process, 4 external workshops were also organised for teachers and staff members of other schools by our municipality, which allowed for the development of cross-sectoral cooperation among various schools, with the digital/blended learning environment applied in most activities. In addition, as a result of the widely implemented dissemination process (within the school as well as among teachers and staff of other schools), our school was recognised as an enabler of innovation.
Participants became innovators during the project through the use of different ICT tools and applications, as well as various strategies and approaches. The project’s activities allowed them to develop the different skills and competences needed in a 21st century school, while supporting cooperation and peer learning among teachers. The project resulted in the attainment of a number of outcomes, including the development of key skills and competences among teachers towards improving their professional development and overall teaching and learning quality; the stimulating of innovations in education through the use of ICT in teaching and learning; improvements to training participants’ language competences; the promotion of lifelong learning; an understanding of different cultures and countries through cooperation with teachers, institutions, and the development of a network of international contacts; and, an increase in the school’s capacities, attractiveness, and international dimension in the interest of offering activities and programmes that best meet the individual needs of students, employees, and the local community.
The project’s impact on participants who attended training sessions included the development of teachers’ competencies and skills through the improvement and implementation of different learning techniques that address students’ individual needs and improvement to students’ learning process, creativity, and innovation through the use of modern digital tools and resources within the educational process. The project’s impact on students as direct participants in the education process included the involvement of all students in the learning process through a consideration of their individual needs; detecting and developing the potential of all students (including SEN students) in an equitable manner; stimulating students’ interest not by traditional means and content, but through digital tools and resources; and, increasing students’ motivation and adding additional value to methods and means of knowledge and skills acquisition through the use of electronic educational materials. Finally, the project’s impact on other teachers at the school (and beyond) was that it modelled the lifelong learning process and demonstrated leadership within the school and the local community through its promotion and demonstration of effective practical applications of newly acquired skills and competences. Following the project’s completion and in light of the challenges brought about by the pandemic on the education system as a whole, we managed to harvest the project’s previously developed skills and competences in a number of ways, including the implementation of methodologies that had an intercultural approach in both formal lessons as well in the school’s general intercultural outlook; the adoption and adaptation of techniques and strategies learnt during mobility activities towards the development of new strategies; the utilisation of ICT skills to their fullest potentials in formal lessons as well as future projects undertaken by the school; and, in‐house training sessions by staff who had acquired new competencies, knowledge, and skills so as to benefit the school’s staff and the school as a whole, with said in‐house training continuing even after the project’s completion for the benefit of new members of staff.
- North Macedonia
- Project category
- Primary education
- Project year
Euromind Projects SL
IDEC: Aintek Symvouloi Epicheiriseon Efarmoges Ypsilis Technologias Ekpaidefsi Anonymi Etaireia