På skolan i världen

Här beskriver vi de olika skolutvecklingsprojekt som Sandgärdskolan deltar i.

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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Is there a doctor in this room?!

LärandePosted by Per Selin 2018-03-15 11:34:39

Trots att jag inte kan peka på någon speciell titel kan jag se den typiska filmscenen framför mig. En person har svimmat eller hamnat i ett akut sjukdomstillstånd och det behövs hjälp. Fort. Gärna av någon kvalificerad. Tanken slog mig lite när fobasNT18 inleddes i tisdags morse. Där satt jag bland alla NO-lärare och –forskare (tillsammans med folk från Skolverket och något science center). Om det skulle uppstå en situation där det snabbt behövdes en språkdidaktiker kunde jag ställa mig upp och tillhandahålla mina tjänster på nödsignalen ”Is there a language teacher in this room?!” Jag hade nog varit den enda tillgängliga.

Vad kan man då få ut av en konferens som så tydligt riktar sig mot NO- och teknikämnenas didaktik om man är lärare i svenska och engelska? En hel del visade det sig. I den första keynote-föreläsningen presenterade Dr Helge Dresch resutat från studier där elever använde sig av teleologiska och antropomorfologiska förklaringar till naturvetenskapliga företeelser. De gav alltså naturvetenskapen mänskliga egenskaper som inre vilja. Giraffen har utvecklat lång hals för att den vill nå de höga grenarna eller positivt laddade atomkärnor lockar till sig och dra åt sig negativt laddade elektroner. Detta är för mig samma självmål som att förenkla för eleverna av välvilja och göra det så mycket så att generalisering inte längre går att göra. Att kalla preteritum för dåtid till exempel. Funkar kanske till viss del, men blir svårt när andra språk skall diskuteras.

Onsdagens keynoteföreläsare doktoranden Ulrika Ryan från Malmö universitet pratade om digitala verktyg i matematikundervisningen. Hon sade att hon kände sig som en katt bland hermelinerna som matematiklärare bland alla NO-människor. Jag förstår vad hon menar… Det bjöds på en gedigen genomgång av datorstöd och en metafor som användes kommer jag ta med mig. En pensel kan användas till många olika saker. Allt från att måla en vägg till att måla et konstverk. Avgörande är ens kunskaper och mål med verksamheten. För Ryan var penseln en metafor för datorn och för mig kan det vara såväl dator som ordinlärning som en massa andra företeelser. Det är användningsområdet som avgör, inte verktyget i sig.

Blev det någon kultur i Norrköping då? Absolut. Till att börja med var konferensen lagd i lokaler som angränsade till den vansinnigt vackra och dramatiska miljön runt de gamla industribyggnaderna som kantar Motala ström genom centrala staden. Det är svårt att argumentera emot påståendet att ”vi har Sveriges vackraste campus”. Kulturdel 2 kom när Jonas och jag gick från hotellet dag 2. ”Kan undra om Broadway finns på riktigt?” funderade Jonas när vi pratade om Eldkvarn (som vi gjorde en del under de två dagarna). ”Tja,” sade jag och tittade upp. ”Det skulle ju kunna vara denna gatan?” Vi gick då på Bråddgatan och bara en liten bit längre fram såg vi etablissemanget Café Broadway på höger sida. Det fick bli en kaffe och chokladboll där när vi väntade på tåget. Tyvärr hade vi redan ätit lunch, vilket uteslöt en legendarisk äggmacka, men det var inget tvivel om att detta var stället där Eldkvarn en gång inledde sin karriär. Kan undra om det var här Plura fick idén om att göra matlagningsprogram i TV med bar överkropp också?

Vår egen presentation? Jodå. Det kändes som att publiken var intresserade och framförallt av e-boksskapandet i GIGS-projektet. Det är väldigt roligt att bli igenkänd också. ”Jag såg er presentera på Lärarnas forskningskonferens i höstas”.

Tack till NATDID på Linköpings universitet för två intressanta och givande dagar. Vi har fått massor med intryck och inspiration. Nu drar vi igång ett nytt forskningsprojekt.

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Vad gör vi egentligen?

LärandePosted by Per Selin 2017-11-02 13:38:02

Hur går du igenom subjekt och predikat? När skall vi köra novellskrivandet i år?

Dessa exempel kommer från svensklärardiskussioner på högstadiet, men jag antar att de går att applicera på valfritt skolämne och i valfri ålder. Det som Martin Stolare tog upp i sin keynote på Lärarnas forskningskonferens berör den viktiga och tyvärr ofta förbisedda frågan som (inte) ställs i skolan. Vad? Även om det ibland kan verka som att ämnesinnnehållet är givet eller kommer ur Läroplanen finns det inget som säger att ett visst stoff måste behandlas. Inte allt i alla fall och det är definitivt inte givet att man måste behandla något visst bara för att det gjordes förra året.

I år skall vi till exempel i ämnet svenska skriva (eller skall vi kanske säga producera eller skapa) e-böcker istället för de tryckta böcker som tidigare års sjuor gjort. Inte för att tidigare års elever varit missnöjda utan för att den formen (eller det ämnesinnehållet om man vill) nog är mer relevant för eleverna som samhället ser ut nu.

Ett annat exempel på hur viktigt det är att noggrant överväga ”vad” kan hämtas från den keynote som Ingrid Carlgren höll på LFK för två år sedan. Genom att använda ämnesinnehållet ”att sortera och gruppera växter” visade Carlgren då hur detta ämnesinnehåll, trots sin till synes daterade prägel, fick elever att utveckla många av de kvaliteter som krävs i ämnet biologi.

Det är ett nytt ämnesutvecklande projekt på gång på Sandgärdskolan. Detta skall ta sin utgångspunkt i just ämnets karaktär. Förhoppningen är naturligtvis att eleverna skall lära sig mer, men även att lärarna skall stärkas i sina identiteter som ämnesexperter och att frågan vad vi undervisar om skall skjutas fram. För det är inte samma sak att undervisa om eller lära sig kemi som engelska.

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A good year for the roses

Idéer och infallPosted by Per Selin 2017-06-21 14:27:11
The school year at Sandgärdskolan has to a very large extent focussed on the GiGS-project. At least when it comes to the school development part of the year. Most of the things that are needed to explain about the last part of the e-book writing and the week in Poland has already been said, so I leave it until the book is finally finished in a couple of days.

It is a pleasure to realize how much other aspects of school development that have come out from the thrilling cooperation with UK, Poland and Cyprus. We have done a local research project based on one of the pupil-led lessons. More about this will come this autumn when Jonas and I go to Stockholm to present at the Teachers' Research Conference.

We will also continue working with the e-book as a means of collecting and presenting pupils' work. It is an interesting and stimulating way of combining various media in one neat package.

Now I think it is time to take a summer break. Personally the first thing I will do is to visit Berlin next week and brush off the old Autobahn Deutsch. Perhaps there will be new ideas already there for next year's lessons and in what direction Sandgärdskolan needs to turn to improve even further. Even though I might not get any ideas about school development, I might at least get an idea of what it is like to not understand most of the things people say. Might be something worth remembering when the term starts off with new year-7 pupils.

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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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