På skolan i världen

Här beskriver vi de olika skolutvecklingsprojekt som Sandgärdskolan deltar i.

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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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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Jersey girl

GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2018-05-18 21:52:16

'cause tonight I'm gonna take that ride,
Across the river to the jersey side,
Take my baby to the carnival,
And i'll take you all on the rides.

Tom Waits describes the feeling of having your loved one on the other side of a river and all you think about is seeing her again. Even though it will be a ride away from your friends and your home you would want to go there.

Yesterday Jonas and I made a very quick trip to the northern part of Nicosia, the one behind the wall. When we went here we were aware of the fact that Nicosia and Cyprus is still divided, but we did not know what the people actually thought about the division. Many people we met said things that made you wonder if they have not really heard about things like critical thinking and human behavior. On the other hand there was this taxi driver that told us that he goes to the northern part every night to fill his car.

What about the activities then? A really great thing we did yesterday (Thursday) was that we demonstrated the global stem challenge that was used by the Swedish girls. And we did it by having a lesson with the Cypriotic kids. It is really exciting to be able to teach so far away from your own school and realize that it is basically the same feeling. Think about that the next time you hear strange stories about what somebody is like or what some nationalities are like. We are more alike than we are not.

This text is finalized on board the flight from Larnaca to Vienna. My flight became delayed and I would miss the connection in Frankfurt. The kind people at the airport changed my booking as I was waiting by the desk. You see, problems can be solved. They should not be made into bigger ones.

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First things first

GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2018-05-16 17:38:06

Today’s activities in the GiGS project included a visit to the KIOS research center which is a part of the university of Cyprus. The main focus for the presentations was the use of digital technology to improve life in many ways. We got to see systems for monitoring report on water pipes and electrical wires. There were also impressive drones and impressive examples of coding to make them identify problems in fire extinguishing.

The first thing we did was to listen to a presentation on artificial intelligence and the message that came out was that a smart item does not have to be that intelligent. It only has to react to certain stimulus. This reasoning sounded a bit strange to me, but when learning was later on defined very crudely as reacting to a certain impression and then drawing a conclusion from it, I realised that the behaviouristic model was the only one used. OK, it may be practical.

But think about it for a while. What would happen to the idea of AI and “smart” everything if we would take on another idea for learning. Let’s say that knowledge is to interact with tools in an appropriate way and that learning is to do it better and better. Would a cruise control (this was used as an example of a smart item that we didn’t think about) be considered smart? Would an app that sends a message from the fridge to your phone to indicate that you are out of milk be smart?

What if we consider learning to be discerning of critical aspects of an object of learning. Would that perhaps help the people that program autonomous cars to separate a stone from a hedgehog on the road? Perhaps these things are only interesting on a philosophical level, but I cannot help being a bit upset when some things (like theories of learning) are treated so shallow in such an advanced example of research as AI.

There was one thing though that upset me for real. When the presenter talked about fire extinguishing and smart buildings he used the utterly tragic example of the fire in Grenfell Towers. If the building had been smart, the firemen would have known that they could have gone in, even though it may have appeared to be too hot. I do not think that lack of technology was the issue there. Grenfell has still not been rebuilt. People are still not able to return to their homes. Earlier in the presentation a message was that the human brain does not need to be involved in a smart item. Perhaps not, but a human heart does and there are many hearts of politicians that are missing in the case of Grenfell.

Stormzy at the Brit Awards: "Yo, Theresa May, where's the money for Grenfell?"

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The Right Profile

GiGSPosted by Per Selin 2018-05-14 17:30:36
Hello GiGS my old friend. I have come to talk with you again.

So. A new partner meeting in the Girls into Global STEM project and this time we all meet in Cyprus. The issue of this week's meeting is to evaluate and rework the teacher training activities that have been carried out in each country.

The hosts have invited us to the Grammar School in Nicosia which is surely an impressive sight. The surroundings are beautiful and the buildings are extremely well equipped and modern in all ways possible. We were treated with a visit to the robotics lab and I am rather sure that few Swedish schools can match those possibilities. It was also very obvious that they wanted to promote their school. Everybody in the staff tried their best to impress us in a positive way.

One of the things on my personal to-do-list was left hand driving and now I can proudly say that I have not only driven on the left hand side in a car with the steering wheel on the right side (but not the correct). I have also driven in a roundabout, overtaken another car and managed the narrow alleys of the old town.
Jonas and I deliberately took a de-tour on our way back from the Grammar School to the hotel and managed to get a view of rural Cyprus. Interesting to see these giant cacti, derelict houses and olive trees.

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Don't stop believing

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.

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A visit to Siennica

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!

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Another music in a different kitchen

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.

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