Many of us spend their lives rushing from one task to the next. We are focusing more on the future than on the present moment, this is why sometimes we feel like distracted from the world around us or like we are only half-living our lives. We feel stressed and chase after events and to-do lists. This stress keeps us busy and tears us apart from the sweet taste of life.
The new edition of the course “Stress and Conflict Management: the way to resilience and satisfaction” took place in Bologna from 17/04/2023 to 21/04/2023. In this course we welcomed a special group from the LändlicheErwachsenenbildung in Niedersachsen e.V in Germany: Nils, Maike, Heike, Claudia, Reinhild, Iris, Axel, Faten, Nadja, Ralf, Numan, Heike, Brigitte, Sven und Johannes.
During the first two days our main topic was stress. What is stress? How does it appear and how does it affect us? We discussed the definition of stress itself and reflected on our daily life regarding to personal stressors. After becoming aware of the stressful situations we discussed the symptoms of these stressors from a behavioral, physical, emotional and cognitive perspective. After recognizing the bad effects of stress we brainstormed for coping mechanism and personal resources to deal in an appropriate way with stressors. We found many exercises like meditation, workouts, breathing exercises, outdoor activities or social support.
Later we focused on time management and, as we determined, we all have to deal with “human elements” which are unpredictable, time-consuming but important to handle in our society and profession. When it came to individual time management the participants recognized their time stealers and gathered solutions to deal with them. The group learnt about the methods to structure their task, to prioritize or to delegate to gain more time for other responsibilities.
Another topic of the course was the empathy. Empathy is an undeniably important skill which helps solving conflicts and improves the communication between parties. The group discovered the differences between being empathic and sympathetic as well as recognizing and avoiding empathy busters. Getting conscious of the way we communicate, enables to solve conflicts effectively or even prevents them before they escalate. In conflict management it is also essential to know about different communication styles. The participants discovered the most common styles and how people act in conflict situations. Each style can be useful if it is used in an appropriate way to find a solution.
On the last day of the course we practiced mindfulness based on the mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR). Mindfulness can help cope with stressors and get back to the present moment. It improves the ability to focus more carefully on our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations without judgment. Ten minutes per day practicing mindfulness are already effective to reduce stress and increase wellbeing. At the end of the course we reflected on values. Values are a cue to our real needs and targets. Being in line with them creates a greater wellbeing and satisfaction while being not aligned to them leads to alienation, decreased wellbeing and stress.
Since the participants came from different professional backgrounds the course offered new perspectives and strategies to cope with stress and facilitated new perspectives of dealing with stress in the professional and private life. More importantly this course shows the participants that they are in capacity to deal with their stressors, time and conflicts and that sharing experiences and strategies in a group might come to many positive outcomes as well as making new friends and acquaintances.
Discover more about this course here.
The challenge of engaging students in the learning process is an ongoing concern for educators at all levels. The traditional lecture-based approach to teaching often fails to captivate the attention of students and motivate them to learn. However, with the advent of technology and new pedagogical approaches, there are now many innovative tools and methods that can be employed to enhance the learning experience. This text explores some of the most effective techniques, including project-based learning, non-formal education, outdoor education, and the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the classroom. By incorporating these approaches into their teaching strategies, educators can foster a more dynamic and interactive learning environment that better supports student engagement and success.
The new edition of the course “Innovative teaching methods for teachers, school and adult education staff” took place in Tenerife from 23/04/2023 to 29/04/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, Joanna, Jane, Jennifer, Claire and Natalia from Dublin South City Partnership in Ireland Марија, Николина and Марија Рајић from High School of Economics Kragujevac in Serbia Judite and Diana from Vidzeme Technology and Design Vocational School in Latvia Andrea from KLEX in Austria.
Non-Formal Education, Project-Based Learning, Outdoor Education, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are just some of the innovative teaching methods that have the potential to transform the way we engage students in the learning process.
In a recent course, we explored the power of these methods and discovered how they can be integrated with traditional teaching approaches to create a more dynamic and engaging learning experience for our students.
Through visual strategies and teambuilding games, we learned about the Kolb’s experiential learning cycle and how it can give students an active role in the learning process by allowing them to pass from reflection to conceptualization and application. By engaging students in this way, we can foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the subject matter.
Project-Based Learning is another effective technique that allows students to delve into content in a more direct and meaningful way. By starting from a topic question and investigating real-world issues, students can develop critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. Through teamwork and creativity, they can discover the way to deal with real problems and learn strategically.
Outdoor Education is another valuable tool that we explored in the course. Through an ICT tool, we participated in a special type of treasure hunt that allowed us to discover Tenerife and deepen our understanding of the benefits of learning in nature. By engaging with the environment, students can increase their motivation and creativity while improving their psychophysical well-being.
Finally, we delved into the world of ICT and discovered innovative ways to engage students, assess learning, and display a lesson. By practicing various tools in class, we learned how to work with a more innovative approach in our classes.
In conclusion, by integrating these innovative teaching methods with traditional approaches, we can create a more engaging and dynamic learning environment for our students. By fostering critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills, we can equip our students with the tools they need to succeed in the real world.
Discover more about this course here.
Engaging students is a complex challenge: using innovative methods can be a significant resource to motivate them and enhance their learning. Thanks to different kinds of studies and research, today there are many tools available that can be used in the school environment: project-based learning, non-formal education, outdoor education, and ICT are some of the many opportunities that can be integrated with traditional teaching methods.
The new edition of the course “Innovative teaching methods for teachers, school and adult education staff” took place in Tenerife from 16/04/2023 to 22/04/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Irena, Dalija and Ines respectively from OŠ Vladimira Nazora and Trgovacka Skola Zagreb in Croatia. We also had 4 participants from France coming from 3 different schools: Delphine and Catherine from the Lycée Joseph Saverne, Dalila from the Rectorat de Besançon, and Sabine from the Rectorat de Dijon. From Poland, we had Marek teaching at IV High School in Łódź, Asta from Kaunas M. Mažvydas in Lithuania, Valeria and Jona from Odisee Hogeschool Brussel in Belgium. And last but not least, Karen and Mathilde
from CPÆ, Professionshøjskolen, Playful Learning Projekt in Denmark.
Nowadays, there are a lot of studies and research backing up and putting to light tools that can be used in the school environment: project-based learning, non-formal education, outdoor education, and ICT are some of the many opportunities that can be integrated with traditional teaching methods that would be regarded as more “frontal”.
At first, visual strategies and teambuilding games showed the power of Non-Formal Education. In fact, starting from the activities, we explored Kolb’s experiential learning cycle and we learned how it allows passing from reflection to conceptualization and application, giving the student an active role in the learning process.
On the other side, Project Based Learning (PBL) allows students to delve into content in a more direct and meaningful way, starting from a topic question and trying to investigate real-world issues. Analyzing the principles of PBL, the participants of the course had the opportunity to discover how teamwork, collaboration, and creativity can help students to discover ways to deal with real problems, learn strategically, and search by themselves for the answers from the start. Allowing the student to learn in other ways than “frontal” by making the student the protagonist of his/her own learning.
Thanks to an ICT tool, the teachers had the opportunity to participate in a special type of treasure hunt, discover Tenerife and deepen the power of Outdoor Education in a very funny way. Some of the advantages of Outdoor Education that emerged during the debriefing are, on the one hand, the increase in motivation and creativity, on the other, the improvement of psychophysical well-
being thanks to contact with nature, and the consequent reduction of stress.
Finally, we explored innovative teaching methods with ICT. We practiced several tools in class, finding out new ways to engage students, assess and display a lesson. This course helped participants to understand how to work with a more innovative approach in their classes, these ICT tools being usable for any teaching subject.
By Friday, team spirit was so high that it was difficult to say goodbye. However, our group was very eager to go back and start applying all the many ideas that emerged during the course. Another great week of inspiration was over, but only to be continued back in their countries.
Discover more about this course here.
In recent years the traditional educational method has been influenced by the new digital world, leaving more and more space for virtual lessons and online classes. The course “Making the most of new technologies, apps and social media in the classroom”is based on the idea that digital tools, interactive learning platforms and new technologies are good instruments for teachers who want to maintain an interactive and dynamic relationships with their students. This does not mean that we need to abandon the traditional teaching techniques. Instead, by promoting feedback, communication, and proactive learning in online classrooms with new technological tools, we are able to offer students engaging educational experiences regardless of where the learning takes place, whether it is a virtual classroom or it is a real classroom.
This session of the course took place in Palermo from 26/03/2023 to 01/04/2023. The group was quite large and the participants came from different parts of Europe, including Spain, Belgium, Romania, Lithuania and Poland. The group was made by Karen Mafrans and Hadewijch De Doncker from “Odisee Vzw ”in Belgium; Monika Knap, Katarzyna Bielinska and Dorota Kaminska from “Osrodek Szkolno-Wychowawczy in Poland; four Spanish teachers, Almudena Monica Fernández and Irene Martínez Castellò from“CEIP Reyes Catolicos Petrer”, Ricardo Romera Linares from “IES Alba Longa” and Jose Garcia de Diego from“IES Ribera de Duero”; PàlBèla-Vendel, Nesa Alin, Kerekes Jeno and Tinca Aurel Teddy from “Casa Corpului Didctic Csutak Vilmos Covasna ”, “Palatul Copiilor - Judetul Covasna ” în România; two Lithuanians bteachers, Ingrida Vaiciene and Jurate Orloviene from “TauragesVersmesGimnasium”.
During the week that saw them protagonists in experimenting this new approach, the participants had the opportunity to learn about new digital tools that they will be able to use both in face-to-face and online lessons.
First of all, they made a short digital presentation mixing up information about their work and their private life, with drawings, post-its, images and videos in order to create a collaborative virtual space in which everyone can share ideas with others in real time. The participants learnt how to exploit a digital workspace just like a physical whiteboard that let them add images, draw shapes, and insert content and notes from external sources onto a shared canvas. The programs used had the aim of creating a space in which they have to share the resources used for teaching such as documentation of experiences, presentation of topics, representation of thematic itineraries, creation of group work, and the participants, fully grasping the purpose, have made the most remarkable presentations in visual contents.
Another interactive learning method is the creation of lessons by inserting videos and other tools such as quizzes, polls, and "word clouds" in order to make the lesson not only interactive but also and above all participatory. In this way students can clarify their doubts and teachers can confirm whether it has been correctly understood by the class. Releasing the results in a few seconds, people participating in the lesson feel truly involved and an integral part of the group.
Another excellent tool that can recall any topic developed in class in a fun way is represented by the educational platforms that allow teachers and students to create interactive games. The participants were able to create quizzes for teams, with the possibility of adding images and inserting the relative marks in relation to the questions, or they can create other playful solutions such as crossword puzzles, time lines or sensitive maps. Game platforms are simple and intuitive tools that, on one hand, stimulate the attention and preparation of the student, who must know the subject in order to play, on the other it becomes a moment of verification of understanding in a funny context.
The gaming world is huge and particularly versatile. One of the games educational platforms developed during the course allows the design of many types of educational games. It provides for example, specific templates for virtual escape rooms and, through the appropriate search tool, allowsthe participants to view products created by other users and, if the latter have made the work reusable, it is possible to "clone" and personalize courses already taken by Italian and foreign colleagues.
Moreover, the support of educational videos also becomes a fundamental tool for learning. Teachers can make the millions of videos available on the net educationally usable, building around them an educational context. In this way the limits of digital communication are filled, at least partially, and teachers are allowed to adapt the video to the specific didactic situation of their students, by offering them instruments that can orient the vision, stimulate discussion, provide a learning path and a context of meaning to the video content.
In conclusion, the participants had the opportunity to approach, study and deepen a wide range of tools and programs that can be very useful for their teaching method, in order to create an engaging, interactive and participatory learning context to apply in class. We strongly believe in the potential of new digitaltools, which, if used in the correct way, can significantly improve the participants' learning experiences. Interactive contents can offer possibilities for involvement and commitment, which can encourage a feeling of community and cooperation between students and, also, increase motivation and enjoyment.
Discover more about this course here.
For many reasons during recent years, education has opened a large door to online classes as so to virtual lessons. There are two sides, people who enjoy it and prefer it and those that don’t like it so much. This is still a process in adaptation, there is a lot to reflect in order to create the best harmony possible in the remote classes. Having said that, this week was interesting to show our participants the best approach to this situation, which meant to experiment and absorb new learning platforms, digital tools and new technologies as a whole. The principal aim is to maintain students’ attention at a high level, for this to happen, the classes must be appealing and dynamic.
The new edition of the course and “Discover the best apps and tools for E-learning, Distance learning and Web Design” took place in Palermo from 26/03/2022 to 01/04/2022. The participants came from all across Europe, starting with Miroslav, Hristina and Paolina from Secondary Technical School Dr Nikola Vassiliadi in Bulgaria; Marita from WinNova in Finland; Ildikó, Enikő, Alexandra and Andrea from Budapest IX. Kerületi Weöres Sándor Általános Iskola és Gimnázium in Hungary; and Kristine, Melita and Karlis from Vidzeme Technology and Design Vocational School in Latvia.
This days were based on a lot of digital tools. The participants had the chance to reflect and understand how they could use their devices in both type of classes (in-person classes and virtual ones) in order to make them super efficient.
Kicking off this week, we started to see the point of view of our participants in terms of what they were expecting from this course, as well as the goals they wanted to reach by the end of the week, and we did it thanks to a great tool that allows you to create super intuitive presentations mixing up with the possibility of making an online questionnaire. We experimented with these tool by checking the teachers' Sicilian stereotypes knowledge, very interesting to see!
Still related to authentic presentations, the others two platforms we explored were very dynamic. One was a big interactive board with a lot of designs to choose, the trial for this one was with the map of Europe. The teachers put a pin down in the location of their schools and created a small presentation. The other tool we practiced was the one with the most remarkable presentations and images in visual contents, great for those who care a lot about the design.
In continuation, we explored a tool thanks to which you can mix videos and questions in order to have a great weapon to deconstruct a lesson and make it more engaging, but also to introduce new subjects or review previous lessons.
Moreover, the participants had the chance to check a website creating program. This can be super useful for many things, since putting exercises, announcements, summaries from the previous classes as so for the e-learning method, because this is a pretty safe and professional place to create a great working and learning platform.
The participants dealt with a group of apps with different functions. This program is indeed extremely diverse, more seen as a collaborative workplace, that nowadays millions of people use. From writing a simple text in one white document to creating a spreadsheet, all these options give the opportunity to the students to work by themselves or in groups.
During the course, we also explored some gaming tools that can give to the students a sense of pure enjoyment. Once more, this is a great way to create a fun environment. The choice of the games is great. We saw how to easily create an escape room and at the same how challenging this could be for the students.
In the end, the participants practiced and learnt about various new tools and programs that can be helpful for their teaching method, always beneficial to create motivation and engagement in learning for any type of classes. We strongly believe that, if used correctly, these tools can be really useful to increase the students performance and also to make them feel that learning can be something very enjoyable.
Discover more about this course here!
The Information and Communication Technologies field is one of the most fruitful in the world… The “harvest” is more and more rich, diversified and interesting. Its products can be applied in different domains, from medicine and science to literature, facilitating and innovating our jobs but also our personal lives.
One of the areas of application of ICT tools is for sure Education, where they can be used for many purposes. For this reason, it is important to know the different ICT tools, apps and websites to understand the best way to employ each one of them, or at least, the most important ones for Education, improving teaching, learning and students’ engagement.
The new edition of the course “Integrating ICT and new technologies into teaching and education” took place in Palermo from 19/03/2023 to 25/03/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Judit Csonka from Orchidea Magyar-Angol Két Tanítási Nyelvű Óvoda, Általános Iskola és Gimnázium in Hungary, Greet Bernaerts from WICO vzw in Belgium, Gina Poškienė, Lukas Volskis, Daina Bandaravičiūtė, Dalia Antanaitienė and Nemunė Stonkienė from Kaunas County Public Library in Lithuania, Ann-Elin Hobberstad from Kyrkby högstadieskola in Finland, Marco Ilskens and Bilal Salim from Heinz-Nixdorf Gesamtschule Paderborn in Germany.
During this course they gained both theoretical and practical knowledge on a vast range of technological tools, thanks to a series of practical work carried on in order to master the different tools and to incorporate them in their teaching methods.
In the first part of the course they discovered some tools to create engaging multimedia presentations. Thanks to the activities, they learned more on how to use virtual boards and how to get real time feedback from students.
They also learned how to create stunning visual designs tools. Between the practical activities chosen by the participants: the creation of an infographic on cyberbullying and the creation of a certificate of course attendance for students.
In the second part of the course the participants had the opportunity to join some practical activities created with the most useful tools used for gamification in class. Through interactive quizzes and so much more.
At the end of the week the focus shifted on the tools used to edit pictures and videos. These ICT tools are useful to create presentations but also new lessons, to summarize the content of a subject studied but also to test student’s knowledge.
In addition, participants also learnt how to create a website following a few easy steps, learned more about the google suite and also learned how to create an escape room activity using google form.
During the course the participants also had the opportunity to share their experience and to experiment by themselves the benefits of interactive learning.
Discover more about this course here
Nowadays, a person who has a good capacity to learn languages and is strong in digital skills can have good chances to develop in various working areas. With this said, we think it’s quite important to mix these two topics in a language classroom. The aim of a teacher is always to make any student feel motivated, involved and retain the knowledge with pleasure, this is reinforcement for the language teachers. Currently, these young generations are all super connected with technologies, and we continue to see and live in an era where this is every day more noticeable. Having said this, there are plenty of benefits of using some technology tools during the classes to support the language learning process, always in order to challenge the students critical thinking, to get deeper into the contents and especially to make students feel more connected to the language and culture that they are studying.
The new edition of the course “Teaching languages in the digital era: the best apps, web platforms and ICT solutions for learning languages ” took place in Palermo from 19/03/2023 to 25/03/2023. We had the pleasure to have participants from many schools around Europe, with Karen from Oscar Romero college in Belgium; Sandra, Ganina, Tatjana from Vidzeme Technology and Design Vocational School in Latvia; and participants who came from 2 different schools in Spain: Maria José, José António and Belén from Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Alcoy in Spain, and Leire from Lekeitio BHI.
During the week we suggested and presented a lot of programs that could be useful for the participants' classes. In order to start, we heard from everyone the expectations they had for that week by using an app and creating a short presentation. The following tool we worked on gave us the opportunity to discover a bit more of every person in the room, because we did a self presentation in a funny and creative way, since this tool is super engaging and diverse. Carry on with the process of getting to know each other, with another app we had the opportunity to situate where the schools of everyone are in a map, their conditions, looks and one more time as a presentation made by themselves.
Then, we explored an app to create presentations with real-time feedback, where you can also add a quiz. As it can be imagined, this is a fantastic way to pick up and challenge the students. For instance, since it’s a complex program, the participants had time to explore it and also prepare one of these presentations to simulate how they would use it for one of their language classes. To demonstrate how education can be implemented in a lighter way, we showed a gaming app, which is the perfect solution for students, to test their knowledge and wrap-up concepts, for example. This happens because the students love the competitiveness (it has to be in a healthy way, of course) and also unites the group spirit between them.
Moving on, the next tool that was presented had a big impact for those who were looking for something more related to the purpose of evaluating. This one, is always supported by a video where during or in the end of it, you can add questions and then compare the answers to see in which level your students are. Having the good environment in a classroom is crucial, in order to make this work you have a great app that promotes a space for safe discussions, in order to create a lot of engagement and to promote creativity, as a form to try it, we opened a discussion on the thesis of debates being integrated into language teaching, where every participant wrote their opinion and we reflected about it together.
Still having in consideration the spirit of being connected, we explored a more professional platform that can be used for the creation of your own website, it can be useful for publishing warnings and materials for supporting the studying process. The idea of creating one website was never so easy and it can be used with different purposes.
The last tool that the participants discovered was once more related to the gaming part, always with the option to create presentations that capture the attention, promote participation and especially pass knowledge to the students. It is very complex, because you can create so many different games, like quiz, board games and escape rooms.
Learning a new language is always a challenge, so that’s why it’s crucial to engage the students since the beginning. And we are pretty sure that the right digital tools (for example, visual content captures everyone attention and it's proven that 90% of the information we capture is visual) result in a perfect base to captivate the students and make the lessons much more engaging.
Discover more about this course here
Welcome to the ELA Blog. Here you will find articles and photos of our courses and have a look at the topics addressed during the week in Bologna, Palermo and Tenerife. You will also have the chance to take a peek at our projects and check out what we have been up to.