In order to make learning more fun and engaging, sometimes students are asked to do projects at the end of a unit with the only aim of receiving a grade. The result is that students don’t feel very engaged with what they have to do because the projects follow the directions of the teacher, they are not personalized and don’t teach anything new to the students. But what if we implement projects in a way that is fun and motivating for students, and at the same time efficient for the teachers?
With this question in mind, the new edition of the course “Introducing Project Based Learning in the Classroom” took place in Palermo from 16/07/2023 to 22/07/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Mariann and Zsolt coming from two different schools of Hungary, Pasaréti Szabó Lőrinc Magyar-Angol Két Tanítási Nyelvű Általános Iskola és Gimnázium and Tisza-parti Általános Iskola, respectively; Michaela from Stredni skola a Vyssi odborna skola, Koprivnice, Czech Republic; Klara and Björg, from Reykjavik University, Iceland; Helena and Leana, from Merivälja Kool, Estonia; Begoña, from IES Montesclaros, Spain; Andreja and Kata, from Srednja frizerska šola Ljubljana, Slovenija; and Antonio and Ana Isabel, from Colegio FEC Santa Joaquina de Vedruna Murcia, Spain.
On the first day of the course, we started looking at what Project Based Learning (PBL) and its main characteristics. The participants watched some case study videos of their interest and focused, in particular, on the 5 key elements of good PBL, recognizable in the videos. They came to the conclusion that PBL is connected to real-world problems, it’s the main part of the learning process and it is personal. For all these reasons, it is not like doing any regular project.
From there, we started to approach the planning of a PBL project step by step, starting from the preparation of the class. Through many practical and sharing activities, our teachers understood the importance of equipping their students with the right skills and attitudes, aimed at building a culture of creativity and inquiry and fostering collaboration and teamwork skills.
The second step was the definition of the Learning Outcomes and the use of the “Backward Designing”. Our teachers discovered that in PBL the focus is always on the student and they should start focusing on what the learner will learn, and not on what the teacher will teach. Then, they started connecting the outcomes of their projects to the assessment measures and also to the activities they were going to implement.
The third step was focused on the creation of the Driving Question and project details. The thing that guides PBL from the very beginning is the so called “Driving Question”, the catalysis of the students’ learning. In the attempt to find a solution to the challenge/problem posed in the driving question, students conduct research and inquiry that would lead them to acquire knowledge on the subjects involved.
Later on, we focused on some ICT tools in support of Project Based Learning. Our participants had the opportunity to practice some of the tools that can be very useful in the development of a PBL project, for creating something during or at the end of the project.
Finally, we focused on the different Assessment forms. In this part of the training course, we looked at the difference between formative and summative assessment, and how the first one is actually more useful and important than the second one when monitoring students’ progress. For this reason, we explored different ways of doing formative assessment and we also looked at the importance of peer assessment, students giving informed feedback to one another.
During the entire week, the participants had the opportunity to plan and design their own PBL projects step by step, individually or in small groups. At the end of the week, everyone was very proud to present the project and, most of all, everyone was looking forward to trying PBL when back to work in their classes.
Discover more about this course here.
In the landscape of educational practices, there's an urgent need to craft experiences that inspire students and empower educators. Can Project-Based Learning (PBL), as a transformative strategy that marries joy and efficiency, turn classrooms into vibrant platforms for real-world problem-solving and deep, engaging learning?
The answer is gave by the group of participants is yes! In the new edition of the course “Introducing Project Based Learning in the Classroom” that took place in Tenerife from 23/07/2023 to 29/07/2023 we had the pleasure to host a wonderful group of teachers coming from Szkoła Podstawowa im. Mira Stanisławska-Meysztowicz in Żdżary in Poland, with Izabela, Lidia, Anna, Justyna, Małgorzata and Ewa.
And so, the transformative expedition commenced, reimagining the PBL project development into a seamless, integrated process.
Don't worry if captivating and inspiring students seems challenging, for the world of education holds a wealth of creative approaches to ignite their curiosity and enhance their learning adventure. With the help of various studies and research, we now have a plenty of tools to enliven the school atmosphere.
The new edition of the course “Innovative teaching methods for teachers, school and adult education staff” took place in Tenerife from 23/07/2023 to 29/07/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Vincenzo from Saxony International Schools in Germany, Michaela from Zakladni Skola Safarikova in Czech Republic, Anett from Szent László ÁMK in Hungary, Gabriela, Giorgiana, Adriana, Angelina, Corina from Technological high school Panait Istrati in Romania and Nadine from KSH- Kaufmännische Schule Heidenheim in Germany.
Non-formal education revealed its magic through visual strategies and team-building games, guided by Kolb's experiential learning cycle. From reflection to conceptualization and application, students become active participants in their learning journey, thereby breaking out of conventional boundaries, allowing for creative exploration and meaningful interactions.
Project-based learning, with its hands-on approach, promotes active participation and empowers students to take charge of their education, embark on an in-depth journey, delving deeper into content, asking meaningful questions, and exploring real-world issues. Course participants unlocked the principles of PBL, unearthing the transformative potential of teamwork, collaboration, and creativity to empower students to independently strategize and seek answers.
An ICT-powered scavenger hunt in Tenerife ignited the wonders of outdoor education, inspiring motivation, creativity and well-being through the embrace of nature, relieving stress and fostering deeper connections.
The path of innovation continued as participants delved into a variety of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools, discovering engaging ways to engage, assess and deliver lessons. Armed with new insights, they took a more innovative approach to teaching. Embracing the power of ICT opens up new perspectives, enabling dynamic and interactive learning experiences. For example, we work with the Digital Escape Room, which is an excellent way to involve students in complex subjects.
In this ever-evolving educational landscape, we find the harmony between tradition and innovation, taking the best of both worlds to enrich students' lives and pave the way for limitless possibilities.
And so, our inspired group built a treasure trove of ideas to take back to their homelands, ready to embark on new educational adventures. An exciting chapter has concluded, but the saga of inspiration continues. The journey continues, fuelled by a passion for transformative education.
Coaches play a pivotal role in the lives of students, offering guidance, support, and motivation that can have a profound impact. They possess the ability to unlock hidden potential, instill self-belief, and foster personal growth. Whether in the classroom, workplace, or personal relationships, the power of coaching cannot be understated as they enable individuals to create transformative experiences and effect positive change.
This concept was fundamental to the newest edition of the “Coaching Skills for Teachers and Adult Education Staff'' course that took place in Bologna from 25/06/2023 to 01/07/2023. Sixteen participants came from all across Europe, with Ned and Cian from Limerick & Clare ETB in Ireland; Maria, Milos, Kristina and Marika from Komvux Lund in Sweden; Ingo and Doris from HLW Feldbach in Austria; Fareen from Hertie School in Germany; Ana from Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Murcia in Spain; and six participants from Romania: Maria, Flavia, Teodora and Dorina from Liceul Teoretic Coriolan Brediceanu, and Luliana-Floriana and Adriana from Voltaire Parents and Teachers Association.
Our first day was dedicated to laying the foundation of coaching. In our introduction to coaching, we worked through a series of exercises aimed at reflecting on the essence of coaching and understanding its differences from teaching. We explored the unique role of a coach and contemplated the importance of recognizing our strengths. Additionally, we took time to reflect on our toolbox of skills, acknowledging the diverse set of abilities we possess as coaches. This initial day of the course provided us with a solid framework to build upon as we delved deeper into the world of coaching.
On our second day, we focused on Emotional Intelligence, emphasizing the significance of self-awareness, self-control, and empathy. Emotional Intelligence encompasses the aptitude to perceive and acknowledge not just our own emotions but also the emotions of others, enabling us to cultivate a heightened understanding of ourselves and our environment. A teacher who possesses emotional intelligence demonstrates the ability to comprehend their students' emotions, fostering a genuine connection and offering guidance in effectively managing their feelings.
On the third day, we delved into the essential topics of leadership styles and pillars of collaboration. We explored various leadership approaches, examining the different ways individuals can effectively lead and inspire others. Additionally, we discussed the fundamental pillars of collaboration, emphasizing the key principles that foster successful teamwork and cooperation. Through engaging discussions and interactive exercises, we gained valuable insights into effective leadership and the foundations of collaborative efforts, equipping us with the knowledge and skills to enhance our coaching practices and facilitate positive outcomes.
On day four, we explored concepts relating to conflict management and effective communication. We tied these areas together with the pillars of collaboration and empathy concepts learned earlier in the week to demonstrate that conflict management and communication is an approach and mindset rather than a structured, surefire method. To further develop our coaching toolbox, we explored an activity called the Six Thinking Hats, which encouraged participants to engage in and account for different angles when approaching a problem.
Our final class focused on coaching-specific techniques such as the power of questions. Through a series of exercises, we discussed how the precise wording of questions can generate nuanced interpretations and lead to certain reactions and responses. We also touched on battling negativity, an obstacle faced by both coaches and coachees alike. Participants reflected on their own personal thinking patterns and habits that fostered negativity regarding themselves and the world around them. One particular exercise was the Gremlins Activity, where participants imposed a more concrete existence of their negative thoughts and habits by giving them a name. Through this, participants were able to directly face and reflect on the existence of those "Gremlins", and objectively evaluate the role they play in their lives.
The active participation, enthusiasm and willingness in exploring and developing key coaching skills made this iteration of the “Coaching Skills for Teachers and Adult Education Staff'' course a truly enriching experience. The course not only ignited inspiration but also equipped participants with practical techniques to be a strong pillar of support and guidance to students and clients. We truly enjoyed the spirited discussions, diverse experiences, and thought-provoking insights brought by the group. Their passion and desire to affect positive change in individuals speaks to their dedication to foster continuous excellence in many domains of a student's life. Thank you everyone for the amazing course!
Discover more about this course here.
School programs often incorporate projects in their teaching strategies, however, these endeavors often result in burdensome additional tasks for teachers and impersonal activities that fail to capture students' interest. It is crucial to explore strategies that can introduce PBL in an enjoyable and motivating manner for students while maintaining efficiency for teachers.
The new edition of the course “Introducing Project Based Learning in the Classroom” took place in Bologna from 09/07/2023 to 14/07/2023. The participants arrived from 2 different countries, with Lutgard, Anouk and Silke from Sint-Lodewijkscollege in Belgium, José María from IES JUAN DE JUNI in Spain, Felipe from Colegio La Purísima Valencia in Spain and Ángel and María Ángeles from Colegio FEC Santa Joaquina de Vedruna, Murcia in Spain.
As the opening activity of our training course, participants took part in an initial session that served as the introductory activity. During this session, they openly shared and discussed their fears, expectations, and personal contributions.
During the initial days of the course, participants delved into the fundamental principles of Project Based Learning (PBL). They specifically concentrated on the five essential elements of PBL, utilizing case study videos to examine how these elements were applied in the showcased project. As they engaged in this process, they swiftly came to the spontaneous realization that PBL is not merely a typical project, but rather a distinct teaching approach with its own set of guidelines and methodologies.
Arriving at this point we started to structure of the preparation of a PBL project into certain stages:
1. The class is prepared for project-based learning. Through self-reflection and confrontation, our teachers have realized how significant it is to prepare their students for PBL with the right qualities and the appropriate basic attitude, i.e., above all, the ability to be curious, to reflect, to inquire and, above all, to interact with each other.
2. Working out adequate definitions for Learning Outcomes and “Backward Designing”. An essential element of Project Based Learning is its integration within the curriculum, rather than being perceived as additional work to be done after completing a unit.
3. The formulation of the "Driving Question" and the project specifics are crucial aspects of Project Based Learning. The "Driving Question" serves as the catalyst for students' learning, stimulating their curiosity and engagement. By seeking solutions to the challenge or problem presented in the "Driving Question," students embark on research and inquiry activities. Through this process, they not only address the challenge at hand but also encounter and grasp the essential concepts and knowledge from the relevant disciplines.
4. Developing suitable assessment methods was a significant concern raised by our participants, particularly regarding the evaluation of individual student progress within a group work setting. In this segment of the training course, they had the opportunity to understand the differentiation between formative and summative assessments. They learned that formative assessment holds greater significance and utility in assessing students' progress and performance compared to summative assessment.
5. The integration of ICT tools in Project Based Learning is indispensable. When working on a PBL project, it is difficult to imagine proceeding without the assistance of modern technologies. Our participants had the valuable opportunity to directly experience and utilize some of the essential tools that facilitate the seamless and effective implementation of PBL in the classroom.
The participants experienced highly effective learning by engaging in the process of creating their own project throughout the entire week. Each day, they explored different aspects of PBL implementation and, as a group, had the opportunity to design a project tailored to their students' age group. This exercise served multiple purposes. It not only helped clarify any potential doubts that might have arisen during individual project creation but also facilitated idea generation and allowed for fruitful discussions with colleagues from diverse countries.
Thanks to the contributions of each participant and their interested and open attitude, we achieved outstanding results as a team in the context of our PBL course.
Discover more about this course here.
When it comes to teaching, it is not always simple to keep the students motivated, interested, and enthusiastic, especially when we talk about distance learning and e-learning session. In this scenario, where distance learning has become one of the main ways to teach, ICT resources are crucial for assisting teachers in communicating with the students and creating for them collaborative spaces and interactive experiences.
The new edition of the course “Discover the best apps and tools for e-learning, distance learning and web design” took place in Palermo from 09/07/2023 till the 15/07/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Edit from Árpád Fejedelem Secondary and Primary School in Hungary, Ainhoa and Mª José from IES Castelao in the Spain, Ana-Marija from Gospodarska škola in Croatia, Laura from Christos Stelios Ioannou Foundation in Cyprus, Greta from Xántus János Két Tanítási Nyelvű Gimnázium in Hungary, Edina from Eszterházy Károly Katolikus Egyetem Gyakorló Általános Iskola, Gimnázium, Alapfokú Művészeti Iskola és Technikum in Hungary, Magnus from Borgarholtsskóli in Iceland, Carmen from EOI Sant Gervasi in Spain, and Aymara from Escuela de Arte Francisco Alcántara in Spain.
The participants had also the opportunity to discover a tool for building in a very easy way websites, to share with the students assignments, materials and insights. Especially in distance learning, website can be a connection between the teacher and the students, becoming a virtual space where the main announcement about home work and group project are communicated.
Finally, when we talk about distance learning, it is important to promote how much we can the active role of our students. That’s why we explored together some tools to create classroom games and competitions, to make assessment fun and interactive.
All this, with the surroundings of the beautiful Palermo, that was our landscape for the most productive week!!!
Discover more about this course here
In an increasingly interconnected global landscape, language acquisition assumes a pivotal role in facilitating communication and cross-cultural comprehension. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has emerged as a potent pedagogical approach, interweaving language mastery with subject-specific education. Through adept utilization of information and communication technology (ICT), gamified tools, multimedia content creation, and dynamic experiential exercises, participants are amply equipped to champion linguistic diversity in education and equip students for their roles as proactive European citizens.
The course offered valuable insights into effective CLIL-focused lesson planning. Participants gained access to invaluable advice and methodologies for crafting engaging and purposeful CLIL lessons. By pooling resources and experiences, attendees embarked on drafting their own lesson plans, setting the stage for subsequent steps.
Exploration into the seamless integration of captivating texts and videos in CLIL classrooms was a pivotal aspect of the course, leveraging multimedia resources with ingenuity. Participants delved into prevalent ICT tools in education, with a practical focus on those most pertinent to their individual needs and interests. These tools were harnessed in the creation of educational games and interactive presentations, seamlessly infusing them into their lesson blueprints.
Participants were introduced to experiential learning activities that elevate the quality of CLIL instruction. They uncovered effective strategies for promoting collaboration and peer learning in the classroom, facilitating language-infused exchanges on the given subject. Through hands-on engagement, they gleaned insights into cultivating an interactive and immersive learning environment.
Culminating the experience, participants shared their refined lesson plans, integrating freshly acquired strategies and activities developed throughout the week. This showcased their readiness to establish captivating and language-enriched CLIL classrooms.
Further information about this course can be accessed here.
Nowadays ICT tools such as apps and web platforms are the key to keep students engaged and motivated and to produce good outcomes, and projects which are scalable, fit to this changing world.
The new edition of the course “Integrating ICT and new technologies into teaching and education” took place in Palermo from 26/06/2023 to 30/06/2023. The participants: Samuel, Maria, Louise, Riccardo, Emily, Jacqueline, Elaine and Graziella all came from Malta, specifically from G.F. Abela University of Malta Junior College.
During this course, they learnt how to use different ICT tools and had some time to think about how to use them according to their subjects.
First of all, they learned how to use a virtual whiteboard for brainstorming activities and for presentations.
Later, they had the time to focus on the creation of stunning visual contents and to do some practical work also in designing their own presentations.
The following days, they learned how to engage students through gamification, with the help of three ICT tools suited for interactive games and quizzes. They were able to experiment with the creation of games and quizzes and also to take part in some of them.
During the second part of the week, they learnt more about the tools used to edit videos and how to use them to start a lesson or to give engaging homework. They also had time to do practical activities on one of this tools and to focus more on the creation of visual contents through a very popular web tool.
The last part of the training course was used to learn something on tools used in order to create a website or blog and on additional tools that can be useful in education.
A lot of time was spent for collaboration and sharing of opinions on the different tools and on best teaching practices.
The participants were extremely kind, motivated, and they created some excellent works during this week.
We are certain that they will put into good use the new knowledge of interactive learning as well as the new set of tools used during the week of the training course. No doubt about this.
Discover more about this course here.
How can we reimagine projects to spark joy and motivation in students while ensuring utmost efficiency for our dedicated teachers? Let's embark on a transformative journey to find the perfect balance!
With this question in mind, the new edition of the course “Introducing Project Based Learning in the Classroom” took place in Tenerife from 16/07/2023 to 22/07/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, Eva from Gymnázium Mnichovo Hradiště in Czech Republic; Paula and Katya from Immaculate Conception School in Malta, Bernadett from Vajda Péter Evangélikus Gimnázium in Hungary, András from Szegedi Deák Ferenc Gimnázium in Hungary; Katarzyna from University of Warsaw in Poland; Péter from Ceglédi Kossuth Lajos Gimnázium in Hungary; Aliz from Gyermekek Háza Alternatív Általános Iskola és Gimnázium in Hungary.
As the course commenced, participants took a fascinating dive into the world of Project Based Learning (PBL), uncovering its five key elements through captivating case study videos. Soon, they realized that PBL isn't your average project; it's a distinct teaching approach with its own rules and methods, a doorway to a realm of immersive learning.
From that point forward, they embarked on a thrilling adventure, breaking down the preparation of a PBL project into five exciting phases:
1. Preparing the Stage for PBL: Through introspection and open discussions, our teachers grasped the significance of equipping their students with essential skills and attitudes like curiosity, critical thinking, inquiry, and the spirit of collaboration, all vital for embracing PBL's journey.
2. Starting from the Learning Outcomes and embracing "Backward Designing": PBL's heart lies in its integration with the curriculum, not as an afterthought but as an essential part of the learning experience: PBL is not the dessert at the end your meal, PBL is the main course!
3. Weaving the Driving Question and Project Details: The enigmatic "Driving Question" emerged as a catalyst for students' learning, urging them to explore solutions to challenges and delve into the key concepts of various disciplines.
4. Descovering the difference between formative and summative assessments. Participants realized that especially during PBL, formative assessment is crucial and there are so many tools they can use.
5. Embracing the Power of ICT Tools: In the PBL projects, new technologies played a big role. Our participants joyfully practiced essential ICT tools that seamlessly supported the implementation of PBL in the classroom.
The true magic of learning unfolded as they took flight into crafting their very own PBL projects throughout the week. Each day, they collaborated passionately, designing projects tailored to their students' age and needs. This creative process not only dispelled doubts but also ignited lively brainstorming sessions with colleagues from diverse countries. The final outcome was nothing short of a triumphant sense of achievement, coupled with a heartfelt vow to breathe life into their projects back in their own classrooms.
Armed with innovation and inspiration, they set forth, transforming education through the enchanting realms of Project Based Learning in the beautiful location of Tenerife!
Engaging with nature has had a very positive impact on the intellectual, behavioral, and emotional development of humans since the past. Even in contemporary times, it is common to experience feelings of inspiration, amazement, or influence when surrounded by nature or seeing natural and urban landscapes. As an innovative teaching method, outdoor education offers the opportunity to address two critical issues facing our world of today: providing sustainable education, and promoting awareness of the urgent need to protect our planet in the face of the daunting challenge of climate change.
The newest edition of the course “Outdoor education: a new way of teaching and learning” took place in Bologna from 02/07/2023 to 07/07/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, Katalin from UMSZKI school in Hungary, Floris, Remy, Sasha, Niels and Bert from the OPO Hof van Twente school in Netherlands, Mateja and Merita from Osnovna šola Trnovo in Slovenia, Ellen and Nicole from Carmarthenshire County Council in UK and Achillefs from B Technical and Vocational School of Limassol in Cyprus.
After defining the term "outdoor education", we looked at the different methods we can use to teach students how to engage with nature. It is important to mention that this is not only about spending time in natural environments and forests. A part of the training was dedicated to urban outdoor education in the city.
The week was shaped by a series of creative activities designed to show the relevance of outdoor education. We had a fascinating treasure hunt around the hotel, followed by a multimedia exploration of the principles of outdoor education. Furthermore, ideas for planning outdoor activities and safety aspects to consider were presented, discussed, debated, and most importantly, worked out by the participants themselves. The group learned how nature serves as a diverse environment for discovery where students can combine theoretical concepts with real-world experiences, creating a deep and lasting understanding.
On Thursday we visited the beautiful natural park Villa Ghigi, where we could now implement the ideas we had collected. Here as well, we worked in groups and deepened the collected knowledge through practice and sharing.
To conclude the course, we went on an urban treasure hunt in the center of Bologna, where we learned more about the city's cultural heritage and connected the collected theoretical knowledge with the urban environment.
The course proved to be an extremely educational experience for all participants, leaving a lasting impression. With their boundless energy, openness and commitment, they now take home a variety of knowledge, a wide range of tools and a host of innovative methods to successfully package Outdoor Education into their teaching methods.
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.