The main topics addressed by the project were ICT – new technologies – digital competences; key competences (including mathematics and literacy) – basic skills; and, the teaching and learning of foreign languages. The results of the PISA-studies over the years and our personal daily experience showed that our students' literacy and skills in basic competences such as writing or calculating were decreasing dramatically. We realised that on the one hand a great number of our students were not motivated when it came to learning for school. On the other hand, they were highly motivated when it came to getting to know new technologies; as such, a new and innovative approach to capture students' attention and interest was needed. A great number of our students use their mobile phones around the clock, and they were (and still are) interested in new developments in their technical devices and were motivated to learn anything on new applications (apps) and online games. It was therefore our goal to find a way to enable our students to learn (at home or in distance learning) with fun, which led us to allow students to create their own learning devices. The learning app was to be fun to learn with (so we created a quiz) with the creation itself capable of fostering ICT skills, as well as the skills needed for general subjects and English (given that all questions had to be created and translated by the students). The intercultural aspect came to life as students had to exchange their questions with those of students from partnering institutions. While we were on the project’s short trips, we organised international workshops where students worked together in groups to create the app, and during the last mobility, we uploaded the end version of the app in a ceremony. Past Erasmus+ projects at our schools showed that pupils who participated in such activities were often outgoing and extroverted. The pupils who are good at Science, IT, or Mathematics on the other hand, were often quiet, brooding pupils who faced difficulties in communicating in foreign languages. We thus decided to include these pupils and make use of their knowledge of IT technology, thus boosting their self-esteem. We also tried to use their enthusiasm for computers and mobile phones, and observed those with an affinity to such devices and computer games. While there were many pupils with great knowledge in this field, they were not very interested in school subjects; as such, we wanted to motivate them by utilising their knowledge within the curriculum’s context.
All students involved were secondary schools students, with participating schools based in Spain, Greece, Poland, and Germany. The Spanish secondary school was in the first year of its bilingual project, and was working on an “Integrated Curriculum” in which non-linguistic subjects were taught in English and Spanish. The focus that year was on subjects such as Mathematics, History, and Biology – all of which were taught in English and in Spanish. We, the Bavarian commercial school, had been planning a similar approach for quite a while, and were still attempting to implement it at the time; however, the lack of teachers continued to prevent us from doing so. We thus wanted to learn from the Spanish school, and, given that the Polish school had an excellent reputation for winning prizes in mathematics competitions, we also wanted to use their expertise. The Greek school specialised in IT subjects, so Greek students took on the roles of peer teachers, which facilitated the promotion of innovative methods. The age of most participants was between 15 and 16, with several Greek students being a little older (17). In total, 19 students from the German school participated in the mobilities, with each partner school’s participants consisting of 19-20 students and several teachers (1-3 per mobility). It should be noted however that there were more people involved in the entire project as we organised several events for the students of all schools (logo competition, sports competition, festivities, etc.). Several students were from difficult social backgrounds and were also experiencing economic difficulties, with a number of dyslexic students also having participated in the project.
During the project’s lessons (across different schools), students worked on the quiz’s questions in groups, with each group responsible for a set of questions according to their designated topics. The questions were created, following which, answers had to be found; all produced material then had to be translated into English. Pupils had to work in groups during BSK-lessons in Dinkelsbühl, and solve problem-based real learning situations such as "You are responsible for the quiz-day event at your school. Organize a suitable venue and order suitable and adequate equipment and beverages and food.” The task included the process of deciding the quantity and kind of food that was needed; the sourcing of caterers (research); the writing of at least 3 enquiries (business letters); a comparison of offers (terms of delivery and payment); deciding on the best offer (democratic process on a mathematical basis); ordering the caterer (business letters); the organising of payments (finances); and, receiving and storing food deliveries (storage). As such, there were many different learning situations that needed to be resolved by pupils. Pupils were also asked to organise a marketing campaign that included advertisements for Erasmus+ funding; furthermore, they had to decide on which forms of advertisement they wished to use (flyers, posters, BLOGS, Facebook, etc.). Pupils were therefore responsible for the entire process, such as deciding on the flyers’ layout, sourcing the print shop, ordering the correct quantities of flyers, and distributing the flyers and posters, with teachers only playing mentorship roles in said activities. Greek students played a major role in the project, as they had to develop the app and the learning situations that were to be used during trips abroad (where they functioned as peer teachers). Also, the Greek students functioned as teachers to other students during short-term mobilities. Dinkelsbühl pupils prepared evaluation sheets and corresponding computer programmes through the use of spreadsheet software in IT lessons (which were used to record quizzes’ results). These programmes were then sent to partner schools as templates to be used; during the project and IT-lessons, pupils also created certificates that were handed over to participants on quiz day. Additionally, they created flowcharts for the tournaments, and also set up the day’s schedule. The Spanish students created the competition’s logo, with a vote first taken on draft logos, following which an online vote was organised to determine a majority decision. There were also classic methods that were used during the project: for example, students had to summarise the main aspects and steps of the feminist movement after the Second World War, they then had to form questions and possible answers (one correct and three false), and provide reports on the different themes they dealt with (said reports were then valuated). The preparation of courses such as "Intercultural Awareness" and courses on Internet security and online privacy were organised, as well as a cultural programme for exchange pupils during their stays abroad. During one such excursion, pupils visited museums and participated in guided tours, after which they had to fill in task-based questionnaires. Paper chases were also organised in the towns, with each host student group preparing presentations (using PowerPoint), towards improving their English and presentational skills. During visits abroad, pupils worked on the translation of the quiz’s questions in small internationally mixed teams; they were accompanied and observed by ‘student reporters’ who wrote and published articles based on said activity (with videos produced as well). Groups were formed according to different methods, like discussion groups, collaborative problem-solving groups, visualisation groups (creating images), and engagement groups (who reflected on such visits).
Our school’s teaching environment is always open to new ideas, with our school staff willing to include modern devices, new gadgets, and digital media into their daily lessons. Our school management team worked hard to set-up new high-speed cables and offer Wi-Fi at our school so we could use digital tools permanently – especially with regard to the use of digital whiteboards and gadgets like our app that enable our teachers to teach while using modern technologies. We used MS teams to teach our students according to a regular timetable; even during the pandemic, no lessons were cancelled due to technical problems. Students who needed help received tablets on loan from the school, so that they could be taught using a hybrid approach. Depending on the given situation, we taught half of the classes at school, and broadcasted lessons directly to students’ homes. Following the completion of our Erasmus+ project, we developed a digitalisation strategy for our school, which has since been updated several times.
The teachers who participated in the project had the role of supervisors, tutors, and lecturers, with each country designating one group leader and coordinator who was responsible for the contribution of each nation. Each colleague had skills and experience in different fields: the German colleague helped other schools in developing an internationalisation strategy and the development of the Common Framework for Europe Competence (CFEC), which was the result of an Erasmus+ project with a former partner from the Netherlands; the Dutch school had left the project, so their contribution was taken over by the Germans with the results of the ELOS-network embedded in our seminars; the Greek teachers helped other groups with their IT-expertise; and both the Spanish and Polish teachers assisted others with their skills in media and the development of the marketing and social media campaigns. In this manner, we all profited from each other’s capabilities and skills. One positive effect of this was the development of a new version of our ECVET-Spreadsheets (the new and updated version of our internationalisation strategy produced through the massive IT-knowledge input provided by all of the German school’s staff). Responsibilities were shared equally among partner schools, with each coordinator included in their schools’ activities. To this end, project partners created intercultural mixed student groups for the specific tasks; the assigned responsibilities were: Poland – Internet Security, Language Survival Guide, Facebook; Germany – ECVET-based evaluation; Spain – Bilingual Teaching, European Language Portfolio, Lego Robotics, Arduino Programming; and, Greece – App Development, Peer Teaching, and, eTwinning.
Students learnt how to use their prior knowledge to facilitate new learning (cognitive competence); self-regulated their learning pace and found new learning strategies (meta-cognitive competence); used Information and Communication Technologies to create digital materials (digital competence); successfully engaged in collaborative work; developed a team-working spirit and made responsible decisions (social/civic competence); expressed themselves in their mother tongue and communicated in a foreign language (language competence); and, respected and appreciated cultural diversity (intercultural competence). Furthermore, they were able to practice their foreign language skills by writing newspaper/magazine articles, hosting interviews, and translating quiz questions; they also improved their overall ICT literacy by co-designing the application, creating quiz questions, and editing digital materials.
- Project category
- VET schools
- Project year
1o Epaggelmatiko Lykeio Lechainon
Frits Philips, lyceum-mavo
Zespół Szkół Ogólnokształcących im. A. Mickiewicza