July 27, 2015
The Open Discovery International Space Summer School 2015 was organized by Ellinogermaniki Agogi, in Mati, Greece, from July 12 to July 17th 2015. The aim was to support school innovation and to train school leaders and leading members of school staff to promote the development of their schools into open learning communities, and thus improve the quality of all aspects of schooling.
To this direction, this year the Summer school addressed 3 particular areas that are viewed as key for school innovation:
- Training teachers in Educational design, with particular reference to Universal Design for Learning Principles.
- Opening the school to the community and engaging the parents.
- Introducing game-based learning elements in educational design and teaching.
An overarching goal was also to support creative thinking in order to promote all these three innovation components and develop even further teachers’ educational design competences.
Thirty four teachers and Heads of schools participated, coming from Poland, Cyprus, the UK, Portugal, Ireland, Lithuania, Finland, Turkey, Austria, Greece, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Germany, Serbia, Croatia and Romania. Twelve of them were ERASMUS+ programme grantees, 10 were ODS contest winners of the National Educational Scenario Contests and 12 winners of the Innovative Schools’ Contest. All teachers have an in-depth knowledge of ODS and its portal.
Before the summer school, participants could consult the summer school’s website. Here, they found some “homework” to prepare them for the summer school. These were the preparation of an education scenario of any curriculum subject addressing the three innovation components of the summer school (pupils’ different learning styles and needs, parental engagement, game-based learning), complete their competence profile, assess the e-maturity of their schools via the ad-hoc ODS tool, and prepare a school action plan for future activities promoting the school’s development.
Workshops and activities at the summer school
The approach throughout the whole duration of the Summer school was mainly hands-on, with a small part of lectures, in order to engage the participants as much as possible in experiencing, exploring and re-constructing the key concepts of the course, i.e. educational design, parental engagement and game- based learning, and develop their professional competences associated with these aspects. Have a look at the detailed programme, available online, to discover what the teachers did during their week.
On the first day the participants were welcomed by Dr Sofoklis Sotiriou and Eleni Chelioti and were introduced to the scope of the course within the overall ODS methodology for school innovation. Several findings from ODS project were also presented, such as the e-maturity results analysis from the ODS pilot schools, the ODS tools for assessing the teachers’ competence profile and their links to teachers’ and schools professional development. The ODS innovation model was also explained and a booklet was handed out providing examples and tips for introducing and sustaining innovation in their schools, including building online communities. Ms Katerina Riviou also presented the ODS academies, with particular emphasis on Teachers’ academy and the material available there, including the ODS innovation toolkit. They were then divided in two groups and got engaged in pair activities, in order to introduce themselves to the group but also to reflect on their own competences and professional profile.
The second and third day of the course focused interchangeably for the two groups on: a) creative thinking through a “Thinking at the Edge” workshop, that was ran by experts from the Hellenic Focusing Centre, Mr Nikos Kypriotakis, Mrs Anna Karali, Mr Pavlos Zarogiannis and Dr Michael Richard Seibel. The aim was to engage the participants in alternative ways of thinking in order to further expand their ideas and become more creative as teachers and designers of educational scenarios; b) competence based educational design through the use of digital tools, presented by Ms Katerina Riviou (Ellinogermaniki Agogi). The ODS portal and authoring tools were demonstrated and the participants were guided into uploading their educational scenarios on the Summer School 2015 digital community. The scenarios cover a wide array of curriculum subjects, from Astronomy and Physics to Humanities, Language and Social Sciences.
Parental engagement was also addressed as a key factor for school development and thus the fourth day of the course focused on engaging the parents to schooling. It was a dedicated workshop on parental engagement, ran by Prof. Alex Kendall and Dr Eleni Kanira from Birmingham City University, which examined perceptions about parental engagement, included teachers’ presentations of good practices of parental engagement and hands-on activities for addressing any barriers in schools’ and parents’ partnerships. The practical objective of the workshop was to equip the participants with skills in order to effectively engage pupils’ parents in their school activities and the implementation of their educational scenarios, so as to benefit in various ways, depending on the context and background of their schools.
A joint workshop for both groups took place on the fifth day that focused on game- based learning, facilitated by members of the Ellinogermaniki Agogi team, Dr Lilia Dimaraki, Nikos Zygouritsas and Pavlos Koulouris. Through group activities the participants were encouraged to explore the benefits of using games in education and to design educational games that could enrich the educational scenarios they had prepared.
Finally, the participants presented their educational scenarios to the group on the last day of the course, which are publicly available through the Summer school digital community. At the end of the final session an online evaluation form was e-mailed to the participants, asking for their feedback. The process of collecting their input is still ongoing. So far 17 responses have been received, 16 of which are absolutely positive.
Teachers exploring Greece
In between workshops a series of outdoor activities were organized, such as a visit to the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum in Athens, a visit to Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon, and a farewell dinner in Marathon. A field-trip to the premises of Ellinogermaniki Agogi school was also organized, where the participants were guided by the Head of the Senior Secondary school and were informed on the innovative activities that have been implemented there.
Thank you and good bye!
After the Summer School, teachers received all the tutors’ presentations and where invited to join a summer School’s Facebook group in order to encourage further collaboration and to help them keep in touch. They also further refined their educational scenarios on the Summer school ODS community after reflecting on what they learned throughout the Summer school.
Author : ODS_EU