GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2017-06-06 22:21:13
What did you learn this week?
This was one of the four questions that was asked by the project coordinators at the very end of the last session. In a way I think that many of the people in the project leader group were surprised when so many of the answers focused around the idea of cultural meetings. "I have learned things about the other countries". "I have met new friends". The answer that was perhaps expected would be something related to STEM, digital skills or global issues.
I would argue that in a world where so much is focussed on winning and losing and where your enemies are labelled "losers" and that is what you think is the worst insult for them, the most important you can learn is to respect each other and see things from others' points of view. In a world where borders are being turned into walls we don't need hammers to tear them down, we need hearts that never build them.
Then of course there are interesting things about actual learning that can be noticed. It is such a relief to see pupils wanting to learn things just for the fun of it and not to get any specific grades. In the beginning of the week here I heard questions about grades and criteria. Listening to the pupils on the bus back home from Warsaw some of them were talking about how much English they had learnt (or realized they knew and learnt how to use). They were also proud of believing in themselves. I almost cried. Finally somebody learns for life and not for school. Then there have been times when you could see kids (Swedish, English and Cypriotic as well as Polish) learning STEM and digital skills just for the thrill of it. There is one specific Polish boy who has been staying up late just continuing to fiddle with the I-pad he borrowed and made widgets with.
Please remind me of this the next time I get cynical about pupils that never hand in essays in time and can't focus during classes.
GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2017-06-05 21:29:46
Rebecka and Molly have already described it in the previous blog post, but let me say it again. The enthusiasm shown is amazing, and it was such a joy to be able to tell the girls that we had solved a transport to Warsaw tomorrow afternoon. It is happening.
"Unfortunately" we had to stop the creating at lunch for a visit to the Polish partner school. The energy lab we visited was truly one of the most impressing sights I have ever seen. You would probably need to go to a university of technology to find its equivalent.
Not only was the lab impressive the surroundings were as well. A gigantic school garden surrounded the old school building. The Polish partners had prepared an activity and that managed to make all pupils happy and spirited again, even though they had had a long day and been in the school museum for an hour. But you cannot complain about being hungry when you don't eat lunch and have an energy drink with white bread for breakfast!
GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2017-06-05 11:08:04
So far everything in this blog has been from the teacher's or the researcher's perspective. Let's see how the real main characters, the pupils experience it. I let two pupils, Rebecka and Molly, borrow the blog for a post.
So… getting up from bed at 3 Am just to go to the airport and fly one hour to Amsterdam, and then switch flight to one that goes to Warsaw. We asked ourselves ”is it really worth it?”
When we first got here we were a little bit negative because of the surrounding, that the house was situated in the woods and so far from the city. There was also a fence around the building and that made the whole thing more scary. To be in a different country without our family and also not a very good internet just made it worse.
But when we got some sleep on the first night, then the first day of working started and we got more and more positive as time went by. We started some workshops and we thought that it was really funny. We learned new things and we also started to communicate and get to know the other pupils that were here a little bit.
When we started to write the actual book then we really started to realize how big this project is and what we are a part of. So now when there are only two days left of work we start to feel a little bit sorry because we want to be here more, and get to know the others even more. So, then we asked ourselves again, ”is it really worth it?” and now our answers are yes. We think that it is worth it because our time here has been so great and funny, with nice pupils and nice teachers and we have had a barbecue and played volleyball and we think that it has been so much fun to get to do this.
GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2017-06-04 21:45:17
A grand day out!
Even though the girls were a bit disappointed that they could not go shopping, they were excited when they entered the bus to Warsaw for a tour.
We started at the rooftop gardens above the library of the University of Technology. The greenery was really massive and it was nice to share ideas on how to continue working with the global goals for sustainability.
Next stop was the Kopernikus Science centre where we saw a film about space and inventions. This theme continued at the next visit to the library. Three women from the University presented their work on satellites that disappeared (burned more easily) as opposed to jumbling around in space orbiting forever.
Then there were three hours left with free time. The shops were not open so we decided to take a walk to the Old Town for some sight seeing and lunch. The square was a really nice sight and lunch with teachers and pupils was a pleasure. We actually could buy some souvenirs and gifts as well.
It still is not sure whether we can go for another trip to Warsaw, but I hope that it will be possible. The work and enthusiasm shown is worth appreciation.
GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2017-06-04 19:29:17
So after a morning of workshops where various technical skills were trained, we were off with the actual creating of the e-book at Saturday morning. We had a rather well thought out storyboard of the book, so there were only matters of discussing who does what. The enthusiasm shown was impressing and the overall impression is that this is going to happen!
At the end of the day the details for today's visit to Warsaw was explained. In a subclause it was mentioned that since it is Pentecost all shops will be closed. All. The hearts of the Swedish girls sank and it was a truly low atmosphere for a while. We could have a serious discussion about it though, and there might be a possibility later. Jonas and I understand that the issue is important for the girls. They had been looking forward to shopping for a couple of hours.
When we had had dinner a couple of the girls approached me and said that thay had been listening very much to "that Manchester song" and really liked it. After a few second I realised that the song was The Smiths There is a light that never goes out that I played to the class last Monday to commemorate the victims of the terror attack.
I wish it did not have to be a topic again.
Take me out tonight
Because I want to see people and I want to see life
Driving in your car
I never ever want to come home
Because I haven't got one
GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2017-06-02 20:56:47
Today was the first day of proper work at the pupils' conference. Understandably the pupils were a bit shy and also became rather tired from sitting still for long hours. It has to be sessions early on at an event like this where you sit down more than do things in action.
There were some sessions in the afternoon that involved actual work with the e-books, but what was most striking about the day were the evaluations on post-it notes. Being asked about what they enjoyed most from the day quite many of the pupils said that hearing about the other schools and actually speaking to the pupils from the other countries was the best thing.
We really want to make a massive shout ut to the pupils who managed to keep a good face and spirit even though they were not able to visit the store to buy candy as they were promised. They were exhausted after the end of the evaluations at 5 and just wanted to go to their rooms, but still managed to participate in Cyprus' spare time activity. After five minutes of volleyball, the mood was up again and not only did the Swedish girls play well, they mixed up with the pupils from England and Cyprus and instructed some of the less experienced volleyballers.
So if meeting new people was what our pupils enjoyed most today, seeing the Sandgärdskolegirls playing volleyball tonight was what I enjoyed most of the day. And it was an honor to hand over a bag full of crisps, sweets and cookies to them after dinner.
GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2017-06-01 22:42:13
After being in the lost and found section twice after landing (one broken bag and one lost) we had no choice in how to spend the two hours between landing and bus ride to Wilga. Somebody needed new clothes and since she got 100€ to spend on it there was no time for hesitation. A quick cab ride, and a raid through the Spanish clothes chain with a female personal name, later we just needed to grab a bite to eat before we borded the bus.
The bus ride was rather bumpy, and when we finally arrived it became obvious that the pupils were tired from the long day. There were no sad faces, but the excitement and laughter from the morning was gone. When the other students started turning up things became better and after the meal and some social ice breakers the mood was actually on top again. Our pupils are really great!
Oh yes, the luggage was found in Amsterdam. It is on its way to Wilga and will probably arrive during the night. Tomorrow will be a new great day and will hopefully include some more school development blogging as opposed to today's general blogging
GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2017-06-01 17:08:39
You can’t really say that 4 am is early in the morning. It is late in the night. And it is also the time when my alarm clock rang. The first thing I was notified about when I turned my phone on was that I should have left for the airport at 3.45 to arrive at a suitable time at the airport. I think you get the picture; it was an early morning for me and the rest of the Swedish GIGS-team.
Jonas and I have been to two project meetings prior to this one, but the June meeting in Warsaw is special since all the pupils are present this time. I don’t know who is the most excited actually, the girls or we teachers. It will however be a very intense week and a very exciting one. The program looks really interesting with visits to both Warsaw and a Polish school. We feel rather well prepared after having done study visits to engineering consults, solar panel companies, colleges working with energy programs and after having project lessons with two sets of 12-year-old classes. Lack of material will not be an issue, but perhaps putting it all together into an e-book.
It is thrilling to see how the pupils are more and more catching up on the idea of keeping eyes open for impressions. One of the first things that happened at Schiphol airport where we changed flights was that all the girls gathered around a solar driven car which was on display. Let’s hope that these eyes are kept open together with the minds. This will be a great week with tons of exchange of ideas, impressions and cultural meetings.