På skolan i världen

Här beskriver vi de olika skolutvecklingsprojekt som Sandgärdskolan deltar i.

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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Nya skolutvecklingsprojekt på gång

LärandePosted by Per Selin 2018-10-05 12:53:17

Det blir en spännande höst på Sandgärdskolan. Inte mindre än två olika skolutvecklingsprojekt kommer att inledas. Man skulle faktiskt kunna se dem som fyra.

Förmågan att lyssna och förstå engelska har länge varit en käpphäst för oss. Vad är det egentligen som är svårt när man tycker att detta är svårt och hur kan man i så fall undervisa om det? Vi har inlett med att låta alla elever i åren 7, 8 och 9 göra ett litet test i form av en del av det öppna nationella prov som finns och sedan svara på några frågor om vad som eventuellt är svårt. Det börjar redan utkristallisera sig några intressanta spår. Det har sannolikt med strategier för ordförståelse att göra. Om den enda strategin man har för att ta reda på betydelsen av ord man inte förstår är att söka i Google translate eller att fråga läraren blir det svårt att hantera hörförståelse.

Med bakgrund i detta test kommer vi gemensamt designa en lektion där strategier (eller något annat) undervisas. Denna lektion genomförs sedan i en av elevgrupperna och… Ja, vi gör en learning eller lesson study. I just fallet med engelskan skulle vi kunna göra en learning study eftersom variationsteorin finns sedan tidigare arbeten.

Det andra projektet är egentligen tre. När jag och Jonas var på NATDID i Norrköping i våras hörde vi om ett intressant arbete som tog sin utgångspunkt i reklamaffischer för “smutsig el”. Det var (tror jag) ett FoU-drivet i Stockholm där elevers förståelse för begreppet smutsig el undersöktes. Min spontana tanke var att detta är beroende på kontext. Om man befinner sig på en NO-lektion förstår man kanske begreppet på ett annat sätt än när man är i SO-klassrummet eller i svenskan.

Vi kommer att använda oss av reklamaffischer/budskap från kollektivtrafiken där elever behöver förstå såväl ett NO-innehåll som ett SO-innehåll och dessutom ords dubbla betydelser för att helt och hållet se helheten i budskapen. Designen är inte helt klar än, men det lutar åt att vi gör en NO-lektion, en SO-lektion och slutligen en svensklektion där de kritiska aspekterna för respektive ämnesinnehålls kunnande behandlas. På något sätt skall dessa lektioner syntetiseras. Förslag på hur mottages tacksamt.

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Last night Variation theory saved my life

LärandePosted by Per Selin 2018-09-18 16:33:57

Lite ombyte är trevligt. Den senaste tiden har präglats av skolutvecklingsprojekt och konferenser som varit kopplade mer till skolvärlden än till forskarvärlden. Det var därför väldigt trevligt att snubbla in i forskarvärlden igen i och med det arbete som började med att min handledare på lic-avhandlingen, Mona Holmqvist, ville ha hjälp med lite empiri till en studie. Hur uppfattar elever begreppet lärande? Det kan måhända se ut som en fråga med begränsad bäring; varför är det intressant att veta? Är det inte bättre att fråga dem hur de ser på att läsa, eller att addera, eller något annat lite mer tydligt kopplat till praktiken i skolan? Tanken med den föreliggande frågan är dock att analysera samma data med två metoder, variationsteori och fenomenografi, för att därmed se hur dessa två kan samverka och berika varandra.

Det var således en glad överraskning när Mona en dag mailade för att berätta: 1. att jag gärna fick vara med mer i forskningsprojektet (mer än att bara bidra med insamlingen av empiri) och 2. att abstract skulle skickas till EARLI SIG9-konferensen i Birmingham. Det vill säga en vetenskaplig konferens inriktad mot fenomenografi och variationsteori.

Så, här är jag nu. I Birmingham, med konferensen bakom mig och nya intryck. Vad tar man med sig då? För det första är det stimulerande att åter vara i en miljö där man inte drar sig för att borra rejält djupt i teoridiskussioner. Det är även lite kul att vara på en sådan konferens när man inte lite lätt stammande drar preliminära resultat med en ofärdig analys där man försöker göra något oerhört originellt, men mest förvirrar sig själv och åhörarna. Det vill säga när man är doktorand. Nu är väl jag för all del bara licentiat, men jag behöver inte alls prestera ny forskning på samma vis och jag känner så mycket igen mig i de doktorander som gör sessionsbidrag där de inte riktigt klarar av att hålla ihop trådarna. Slutligen är det kul att vara lärare på en konferens av detta slag och kunna relatera till elever och klassrum med ett förstapersonsperspektiv. Inte ur ett observerande perspektiv.

Ett exempel på lärarperspektivet, och hur det faktiskt berikas av forskarögat. I en keynote visades ett exempel från en norsk lektion. Eleverna hade läst en novell och skulle berätta om sina tankar. De började lite trevande och sade saker som ”spännande”, ”kul” och något annat allmänt. Sedan kom två intressanta delar. En kniv var tydligen inblandad (nej, det var ingen Hassan-sketch) för den nämndes några gånger sade eleverna och spänningen stegrades på något annat sätt också. Här kände jag spontant som svensklärare att läraren måste fortsätta och nysta i diskussionen; varför nämns kniven? hur stegras spänningen? Med ett variationsteoretiskt perspektiv skulle man säga att här öppnas två dimensioner av variation som skulle kunna göra det möjligt för eleverna att urskilja två kritiska aspekter av lärandeobjektet ”novellanalys”. Varför nämns kniven? Kommer den till användning? Generalisera med Tjechovs gevär. Jämför med Strindbergs detaljer i Ett halvt ark papper. På samma sätt skulle man vilja jämföra med klassiska modeller av dramaturgi. Hur brukar en novell byggas upp? Är denna likadan? Vad skiljer sig åt?

Det var trevligt att träffa gamla bekanta från forskarskoletiden också och det blev uppenbart mot slutet att detta är en oerhört speciell miljö att befinna sig i. När vi vid sista dagens lunch pratade om vad andra från forskarskolan gjorde nu, och varför de fortsatt forska eller inte illustrerades detta med extremt genrespecifika skämt. ”Nej, han har nog inte urskiljt de kritiska aspekterna av det intressanta med att disputera” hette det när man ville förklara varför någon inte vill fortsätta mot doktor. Att över huvud taget dra ett skämt som detta är allvarligt. Riktigt illa är att samtliga vid bordet skrattade. Tur att det är svenska med 8a klockan 8.20 imorgon.

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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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