På skolan i världen

Här beskriver vi de olika skolutvecklingsprojekt som Sandgärdskolan deltar i.

Don't confuse them with mountains

The Art of Maths (TheAMa)Posted by Per Selin 2019-05-24 15:08:27
I was hardly home any longer than the time needed to run 21 097.5 metres around Gothenburg and then doing some wash up. The next project meeting for TheAma was planned for Mon-Wed.

There was something that had felt a bit vague about this project. I was not really sure about what to do and not really sure about what to expect of its outcome. It felt especially hard when two new enthusiastic delegates from Sandgärdskolan had many questions to ask that I could not answer. I did not know what to expect and what to think about the two days in Mons.

After only a few minutes of the meeting everything fitted again though. Thanks to a wonderful project team that jointly explained and highlighted, and above all where everybody was open minded about their own questions and vague understandings. This was definitely the smallest meeting I have been to, but on the other hand very efficient. Many things could be taken care of in a very short amount of time.

I think that the most important thing I learnt these days in the wonderful city of Mons is that you must be open about your work. If you have not been able to complete everything, say so. It is not that you will not have to do them, but either you do something else instead, you get more time to do them or you get help completing them.

One last notice from the language teacher's point of view. It's not often I visit a bilingual country (Finland is not really bilingual in the same way as Belgium), and it therefor took me a while to figure out that the train that was supposed to take us to Mons and showed Bergen was the correct one. Mons (FR) and Bergen (NL) was the same. I should have guessed since I should have figured out that both words mean "mountain".

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Time may change me - but I can’t trace time

GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2019-05-17 09:01:12

Last week I heard all Swedish top candidates being interviewed on radio prior to the MEP-election in 10 days. The man who is first on the list for Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden’s version of UKIP for British readers) said that the issue of taking action for the climate is something that is a matter for the market. Politicians should leave it and let the companies solve it. I do not believe in this. The companies will not do anything, unless they can make money from it. Politics is about ambition, a great leader said. This ambition must be related to the ambition of changing, and thinking that you can change.

The first keynote speeches at the international multiplier here in Nicosia addressed gender inequalities. A delegate commented afterwards that gender imbalance in educational choices is because of different interests and that we must let the most suitable do what suits best. If you are most suitable to take care of children you should stay at home and if you are more prone to do science, you should do that. I might have misunderstood due to the translation, but this argument seems to me to be the same as the climate argument above. We cannot leave this to “natural forces”. It must be actively done.

To illustrate with something else. When we went home from yesterday’s field trip to the Mediterranean for a swim and went through the Troodos mountain we stopped at the village of Orá. In this tiny village we managed to find a little tavern where we could have dinner. Other villagers were sitting around us, eating and drinking coffee. All men. It was the same on the way home. We passed through villages with people sitting out at taverns. All men. Was that only because they were more suited to socializing in public? Were the women (their wives, daughters, mothers) at home just because they were more suited to stay at home. Was that something out of a natural choice?

Finally. My first idea was to call this blog post “Let the right one in”. Due to what happened in USA the other night I changed my mind.

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Giorgi on my mind

Idéer och infallPosted by Per Selin 2019-05-15 13:57:23
Monday night started well in Nicosia. Jonas and I had a coffee and a chat with Giota and Angelos from the TheAMa project. While in Nicosia you might as well take the time to meet. When we were almost finished we spotted Tobias from University of Borås outside the café.

Since Tobias had not eaten the entire available menu of the taverna in Pera, he needed to eat something and Jonas and I accompanied him. We finished the evening at a pub close to the hotel where I nervously followed the live updates from my beloved IFK Göteborg playing away at Norrköping. Can't understand why these kinds of games are not shown live in Cyprus.

This post is dedicated to you, Giorgi Kharaishvili.

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It's the end of the project as we know it

GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2019-05-15 13:40:33

All good things must come to an end, and this week in Cyprus marks the end of the Gigs-project. The project meeting this time centres around two issues. Thursday and Friday, the International Multiplier event is taking place here at the University of Nicosia and the two days prior to that are spent planning for it and also evaluating and working with the final report of the actual project.

As usual, Jonas and I wanted to see something else than the conference venue and the hotel. We started out nicely on our way from the airport when we visited Ayios Sozomenos which was deserted in the 1960’s. The only remaining building still in use is the church, which was open. We went in and had a look. Ten minutes later a car arrived and we were sure that we had set off an alarm of some kind. It turned out to be a drone flyer who used the vast spaces to take a flight.

Monday was the grand day out. We started in the marvellous monastery church of Panayia tis Asinou. The insight that some of the frescoes in this tiny church was done almost 1 000 years ago was enough to make you dizzy. Afterwards we enjoyed a drink in the nearby restaurant and were treated with mespila, a small sweet fruit similar to apricots.

We continued towards the winery in Kyperounda. Nice wine, impressive views on the way there and we realised after a while that we were on the roads towards one of last year’s points of visits; Fikardou.

The last stop on Monday’s road trip was the old village Pera, 25 kilometres outside of Nicosia. It was as if time stood still. An old lady cleaned out the open area in front of the church. A couple of cats skirted along the cobbled alleys. Fruit trees and roses were in full bloom. We decided to eat lunch here and happily discovered the taverna. Unfortunately it was closed on Mondays, the owner told us so we turned around. At that moment a bearded man opened the door on the first floor, and said something to her. It appeared to be her husband and after an intensive discussion in Greek he said “Give us 30 minutes”. Of course we couldn’t turn that offer down and went for a half-hour’s stroll. “Did you notice that he had no trousers on?” I said to Jonas when we walked away. “Yes” was the dead pan answer.

When we came back we were offered a restricted menu and could not really decide what to have out of salad, haloumi, fried mushroom, pita, Cypriot sausages and bacon so we asked them to surprise us. We got it all (which in a way was a surprise). Since it was 4 o’clock and we were completely full there was no need for further food that day.

It’s the (start of) the end of the project as we know it. An we feel fine!

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More about TheAMa

The Art of Maths (TheAMa)Posted by Per Selin 2018-12-04 20:59:53

According to the study ‘PISA’ that has been carried out every three years since 2000 by OECD, it has been observed that pupils in the European Union is lagging behind in terms of the performance in mathematics. In the case of Sweden, students scored just slightly above the OECD’s average in mathematics.

Regardless the performance of students in mathematics all over Europe, one would expect that they have at least understood the prominent role of mathematics in human evolution. However, the questions that are frequently expressed even in the classrooms of high schools, mainly in relation with the utility of mathematics in everyday life and their correlation with other areas of human sciences and culture, come to contradict the above expectation.

For instance, the influence of mathematics in the development of various forms of arts is of a great interest, and exactly for that reason has been widely known since the ancient times. Particularly, in the recent years, the education research community attempts to mitigate the relationship between mathematics and art by using alternative teaching methods, indicating that the effect of art in mathematical learning is always positive (Catterall and Waldorf, 1999; Ingram & Seashore, 2003).

Accordingly, the project ‘The Art of Maths’ constitutes the distillate of the partnership’s inspiration that has been drawn by the above scientific conclusions. Five participating organizations, ourselves, the Greek University of Thessaly, the Cypriot NGO- Research Centre CIP, the Belgian company Logopsycom and the Portuguese school SPEL, with rich experience in various ramifications of didactics of mathematics through both formal and non-formal methods and contexts, will produce innovative training modules with specially designed material that appeals to both mathematic teachers and students in secondary school.

Hence, the teachers and subsequently students from 13 to 18 years old, will have the opportunity to approach both the correlation and influence of mathematics during the development of various ramifications of art, including visual arts, music, cinematography, literature and theatre, and additionally to experience the art development as an alternative method which could be successfully ‘exploited’ during the didactics of mathematics, by simultaneously using ICT based methods and specially-designed innovative tools such as games.

Under this context, the students will make a journey of knowledge in order to investigate mathematics within the classical art of Ancient Greece, the proportions of the Parthenon and the notion of the ‘golden mean’; subsequently, they will move to the notions of ‘linear perspective’ of the Renaissance and the ‘geometry’ of modern art, through a display of works of art and paintings. They will also meet with ‘Pythagoreans and the numerical relations of sounds’ in order to proceed to the study of pulsation in the 17th century and the modern view of harmony through the Fourier analysis. Moreover, they will deal with the mathematical notions, mentality and history through various parts of theatrical texts, movies and literature. Additionally, a whole output of ‘The Art of Maths’ will be dedicated to Pilot Sessions and training courses for both educators and students, being applied in an entire network of schools, reaching the outstanding number of 350 educators and 2000 students totally, in all the five partner countries. At the same time, 2500 printed handbooks of 40 pages each, that - amongst others - will include the best-of activities of the on-line training course, will be issued and distributed to schools coming from the five countries of the consortium, whilst a unique e-library will provide academic material to the educators and articles related with relevant thematic areas.

Accordingly, ‘The Art of Maths’ aspirations regarding the students have been defined as follows: (i) to understand the applicability of mathematics in another field, realizing that it is not a science detached from other fields; (ii) to allow the mixture of mathematics and arts to create a more pleasant feeling, which will eventually affect the way they accept and approach mathematics in the classroom, thus cultivating a positive stance towards math; (iv) to learn how to use digital technologies and innovative tools in order to absorb knowledge and to fully comprehend a new term/concept; thus also contributing to the modernization of didactic models in teaching math and STEM, in general. The on-line training course, which will be available in a variety of languages (ENG, SWE, FR, GR, PRG) will be open for free use also after the end of the EU funding, whilst its dissemination will be of a large scale (Schools, NGOs, Research Associations, Ministries of Education & Universities).

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The teams that meet in Brum

GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2018-11-19 10:05:18

We consider our multiplier to be successful. There were some 20+ delegates there, most of them teachers and they were satisfied with what they took part of. Especially the afternoon’s session with e-books and how to create them was appreciated.

The second day in Birmingham, or on the outskirts of Birmingham in the idyllic Lickey, was spent with the UK multiplier. The program was basically similar to the one we had had in Sweden (perhaps minus the external speakers), but the delegates were different. In Sweden the vast majority were teachers, but here they were representatives of organizations that worked with teacher training. Hopefully they will use the inspiration and material provided and in that way further disseminate Girls into Global STEM. Our multiplier went straight to the classrooms, perhaps with a narrower possibility of spreading further on. Which one is the best? I don’t know. It is interesting that we have such different ideas on the audience. It might be a natural consequence of Practical Action using their contacts and we using ours.

The UK multiplier was jammed in between two meeting days. There are not very many things left in GIGS now. I am happy to say that I am going to take an active part in one of the remaining; the systematic literature review. Jonas and I have written a paper based on the presentation we did at the conference on practice close research for science and technology teaching in Norrköping in March 2018. Hopefully this paper will be accepted now with the changes we made according to the review we got. If the systematic literature review also results in a paper in a journal (which is the goal), I will have contributed with two pieces of research from the project. Not bad for a language teacher.

Other things worth mentioning from the days in Brum are the spin-off effects of this project. Jonas and Tobias will most likely go to Warsaw next February/March to work with CEO on digital skills. They are really keen on learning more on how to work with e-books and other multimedia tools. We have also spread the Swedish National Tests to the UK. No, not in the way that some young entrepreneurs in social media tend to do it every year, but in the way that it will be tested at the deFerrers Academy. We started talking about the tests at lunch with Greg and Rosie from deFerrers, and the fact that Swedish pupils did and oral part in Maths was interesting. Jonas showed the open resource that can be found on Skolverket’s homepage, and Rosie became so fascinated that she decided that she really wanted to test it on her pupils. International sharing of resources.

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On the road again

The Art of Maths (TheAMa)Posted by Per Selin 2018-11-10 11:53:42

Sandgärdskolan is back in Cyprus again. This time for a new Erasmus+ project. In this project, The art of Maths (TheAma), we will try to help Maths teachers to develop their teaching by creating tools for pupils where various forms of art are used as starting points. Sandgärdskolan will specifically lead on the Intellectual Outputs where drama, cinematography and literature are used. Finally some things in the Erasmus+ projects that touch upon my subjects.

It felt a bit lonely to travel on my own, but that was compensated by the visits at the familiar spots Zanettos restaurant, where the abundance of food was just as ridiculous as the last time, and Piwo microbrewery where the handcrafted beer was just as exquisite as in May. I stayed at the same hotel too. The most striking difference was the amount of Eintracht Frankfurt supporters everywhere. They were playing Limassol in Europa League and had an impressive following. There must have been several thousands (5 000, according to this article) of black, white and grey dressed Germans in Nicosia.

The project was off to a good start with inspiring partners that promise this project to be a successful one. It will be great to meet with (and form) the local team next week. As soon as the topics and themes have been decided we will start working on a regular basis.

The meeting room was really interesting too. It was actually situated in the buffer zone in between the Cypriot and the Turkish side of Nicosia. A bit eerie feeling to pass by barbed wire on your way to the meetings, but the youth center that had been created (which hosted us with the meeting rooms) offered a hope for a better future.

Next meeting will be in Mons, Belgium in May. Already looking forward to it.

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They don’t know

GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2018-11-02 09:43:18

Time for one of the last events in the GIGS project; the national multiplier where the results from the project are used to inform and inspire local teachers and stakeholders. It was our friends at University of Borås that hosted. Two interesting names had been booked to complement the presentation from Jonas, Anne-Sofie, Tobias and myself.

Associate professor Sylvana Sofkova Hashemi from University of Gothenburg is specialized in learning and ICT and talked about the newly revised Swedish curricula where digitalization is a key word. She pointed out that it is important that we consider what we want the pupils to do. Sometimes the hard ware is more focused than the learning. She seemed to be genuinely interested in our project though, and it seems as if we may have a start for future networking and collaborations.

Mats Larsnäs was also talking about the digital classroom, but more from the gadget point of view. Quite many examples of hands on tools for picture editing, 360 and VR were shown.

The afternoon was spent with a workshop where the 20+ participants tried Book Creator to make e-books similar to the ones we showed. The majority of the participants were primary school teachers and they seemed to enjoy themselves.

I have left the best part. We were actually five people from the project since we had invited one of the challenge creators, the (then) year-nine-students that planned and carried out teaching for younger pupils. Elvira talked about her experience and what she had brought from the project and used in her present (Science program with a focus on leadership at high school) education. We were all stunned by the talk and afterwards Jonas and I were invited to present at Hashemi’s department because she considered Elvira’s student perspective so powerful. Let me finish this post by quoting the end of it.

Now at high school, it's back to the usual again, record what the teacher says at the front, but I know something that everyone else does not know. I know that the subjects are so much more than just that. I know that there are several different perspectives. I know that behind each topic, even behind each word there is a whole world of different ways to look at what the teacher says. And I think that is the most important thing, to get the understanding that the subject is so much more than just sitting in school benches writing down what the teacher says. You can experiment, play, twist and turn, go down the depths, yes, do so much more than just take a note.

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