Project partner TELLConsult represented iTILT at a recent meeting at European Schoolnet's premises in Brussels. iTILT was invited by Will Ellis and Dorothy Cassels, the coordinators of 2 European Schoolnet projects: iTEC and CPDlab, respectively.
The aim of the visit was to further detail the initiative for collaboration between these projects. iTEC (Innovative Technologies for an Engaging Classroom) is a four year, large-scale project that takes an informed look at the potential classroom of the future. With 27 project partners, including 14 Ministries of Education (MoE), and funding from the European Commission of 9.45 million Euros, iTEC will provide a model describing how the deployment of technology in support of innovative teaching and learning activities can move beyond small scale pilots and become embedded in all Europe's schools. More info about iTEC here.
We found that the main opportunity would involve collaborative work to develop a joint iTEC/ITILT scenario describing how interactive technologies can be used in an innovative way in the classroom. A related number of teaching and learning activities as described in iTILT´s training manual could then be piloted by teachers in iTEC´s partner countries. Another opportunity for iTILT could be the extension of the validation process of the project´s core content. ITILT is developing a bank of teacher support materials (notebook files, movies clips with teacher/learner reflections). These, together with the ITILT manual could well be of benefit to iTEC teachers and reports of their experiences would provide additional evaluation data. Furthermore, as teachers in both projects will work together on content development and evaluation and both projects intend to invest time and energy in community development related activities were also seen as a useful area of collaboration.
- Innovative pedagogical use of Interactive Whiteboard technologies in secondary schools.
- Improved safety policies in secondary schools, addressing issues such as cyber bullying, use of social networks, responsible use of mobile and Internet technologies, etc.
- Implementation and dissemination of teaching and learning activities for the future classroom.
We discussed a number of aspects of the CPDLab Interactive whiteboard course in detail, including the design principles, the developmental process and modes of delivery. As the IWB course will be generic and modular in nature (with topics like communication, collaboration etc) the subject-specific approach provided in the iTILT materials was expected to function as most useful and complimentary. The idea so far is to embed signposts out to iTILT content as optional, exemplary and special interest elements.
Dorothy also showed me round in the Future Classroom Lab, a “living lab” dedicated to showcase new ways of teaching and learning where the f2f components of the courses will be run.
She further pointed to a study by Diana Bannister MBE, Project Director at the Midlands Leadership Centre, entitled GUIDELINES FOR EFFECTIVE SCHOOL/CLASSROOM USE OF INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARDS. This study was commissioned by the European Schoolnet Interactive Whiteboard Working Group and was developed in the context of the project EuSCRIBE (European Schools and Classroom Research of Interactive whiteBoards in Education). Find this and more publications here.
We also exchanged project publicity materials such as flyers and information brochures and (draft) project content materials.
The general conclusion at the end of the day was that several areas and issues in the projects involved were identified that lend themselves for collaborative activities to get win-win outcomes. We agreed to detail a number of activities and propose them to our project partners.