Borderless teaching through collaboration and innovation
The sun rises and so do I. It is the first day of my journey to the Partners in Learning European Forum (PILEF 2012) in Lisbon.
My name is Jerker Porat and I am one of four innovative teachers from Sweden.
The learning forum is designed to bring together teachers, schools, education experts, government elites and vendors to discuss and explore new ways of how technology can change education, integrating 21st century technology into teaching and learning practices.
The Swedish team: Jerker Porat, Fatima Lasfirare, Jessica Löfström and Daniel Johansson. Fatima and Jessica won the 2nd runner up in the category Cutting Edge and will compete in the Global Forum in Athens in November 2012.
I think creative and innovative education requires collaboration. The European Partners in Learning Forum in Lisbon was a great opportunity to do just that by breaking down borders between teachers across Europe and sharing ideas of pedagogy and high-quality learning.
Even if most of the participating countries stand united under the flag of the EU we face diverse, and yet at the same time similar, challenges in the classroom. There is much to learn from each other by collaborating between countries and sharing new and innovative teaching practices. In addition, we can teach our students about different cultures, promote tolerance and educate around job opportunities across borders.
The European Partners in Learning Forum in Lisbon was a great opportunity for me to open up my school and share my ideas of pedagogy. I was inspired by my colleagues and learned about the variety of problems that other teachers have to face, but also by the many solutions they provided to solve the problems. A teacher at the Forum told me that in her country families could raise funds from the government as a way to encourage students from a non-prioritized minority to attend school. She inspired the students further by adding ICT tools in the classroom. I think it was interesting to see how innovation in the classroom can help promote social inclusion this way.
Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft
Besides being inspired by my colleagues at the Learning Forum, I also witnessed some interesting key notes from speakers that are bringing global issues right to the feet of their students through technology like the two teachers and explorers Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft are doing by interacting with students through the internet during their skiing expeditions on the South Pole.
At the forum I also participated as a panelist with school leaders from countries all over Europe where we spoke about how the classroom changes when we introduce ICT into it and we agreed that it is not the technology itself that’s important but the way we work with it. As a panelist, I introduced ICT as the possibility to go beyond the walls of our school and switch from a rather old fashioned one-way communication with our students and create more of two-way collaborative style where the students learn from each other as well as the teacher. Peer to peer coaching increases the capacity for knowledge exchange. It also opens up possibilities for collaboration with other schools nationwide and globally. Interacting with the "real world" outside school and learning to take responsibility, not only for yourself, but for the local community makes education relevant in the eyes of students.
The learning forum helped me strengthen my conviction that in order to break down the walls not only in the classrooms but also between the countries we need to continue collaborating and ICT is the tool to facilitate this. ICT tools can help personalize a student’s learning style for greater success and will help better prepare them for jobs of the 21st century.
Taking part in the Learning Forum 2012 has given me so many ideas and inspiration; why not see for yourself here. I ask you teachers to spread your ideas, I ask you school leaders to give your innovative teachers time to innovate and inspire their colleagues, and I ask you politicians to to make room in the curriculum for innovations and collaboration.
Live footage from the the 2012 forum can be seen here:
To discover more around the outcomes of the 2012 Forum, hosted during the EU eSkills Week, please visit: www.pilef2012.com
The Partners in Learning community can be found here.
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