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Articles

02/05/2022

MOBILITY TO VILNIUS GRIGIŠKES ŠVIESOS GYMNASIUM

 

by Gediminas Jonauskas, headmaster, PI "Edukateka", Lithuania

On May 2-6, the partners of the international Nordplus Junior sub-program project “Digital Creative Education” from Latvia, Estonia, Norway, Šiauliai Sanatorium school and from Klaipėda Public Institution “Edukateka” met for the first time at Vilnius Grigiškės Šviesa Gymnasium. During the mobility, the guests together with the teachers and students of Šviesa Gymnasium participated in various educational and cultural activities: STEAM workshops, learned to program the Battle of Grunwald, took lessons, visited and got acquainted with Vilnius and Trakai cities, their most visited objects and traditions of Aukštaitija region. Also, during the meeting, the project partners deepened their knowledge about the digital environment, digital tools and their application in the educational process.

by Dag-Helge Trodahl, Norlights School, Stavanger, Norway

May the 2nd, we, teachers and students from Latvia, Estonia and Norway, were warmly
welcomed with local dances and songs by students and staff at Griskies Sviesos gymnasium
in Vilnius. This set the standard for a very good week, and despite long days, this was both a
very inspiring and interesting week.
The theme for the «week» was «Digital Creative Education» or «I am digitally creative», and
even if this was a project for the students, the theachers did also have a great pleasure
taking part in the program. The program was put together as a good mixture between
observing, taking parts in lessons, team work, knowledge sharing about being «digitally
creative», presentations of the project, as well as learning a little bit about Lithuania and
Vilnius.
For me and I do also asume for the students, it was both educational and useful to both see
and talk about how other schools work when it comes to the subject. Being digitally creative
doesn’t know any border, we are all on the same arena.
I will not take this too far, but visiting and old castle when being a part of this project made
me reflect a little bit about how the world has developed during centies. A characteristic of
man is often to be curious and constantly seeking for improvements. My experience with this
project was knowledge sharing across the borders, friendship, as well as bringing home
inspiration and motivation to continue being digitally creative and to always search for more
knowldedge. Exchanging ideas. The last is always easiest through a good commonship.
Being creative is an important quality and which some voices believe is lacking in today's
school. It is important to stimulate the creativity of the students and here we did see that
digital creativity also was used in the learning process of other subjects.

23/01/2022

DIGITAL TEACHING AIDS CREATE MORE TIME IN THE WORKDAY AND OPEN UP NEW LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

 
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Educational cooperation between Nordic and Baltic starts with Nordplus!

Our cooperation project Digital Creative Education was noticed! Here you can find an article by journalist Joan  Rask at Nordplus homepage:

​https://www.nordplusonline.org/project_articles/digital-teaching-aids-create-more-time-in-the-workday-and-open-up-new-learning-environments/

06/12/2021

DIGITAL MOBILITY TO ILLUKA SCHOOL IN ESTONIA

 
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Despite travelling restrictions, we keep working on our project using digital opportunities. According to the project plan we had a three-day digital mobility to Illuka School in Estonia.

Each day of our mobility was dedicated to one of the topics: the secret of Estonian success in education, usage of the digital learning platform Stuudium, and a practical workshop with Illuka School students about feedback.

We would like to thank Ave Amor, her colleagues, and Illuka School students for leading the digital mobility and sharing experiences about their school and country.

We sincerely thank Maie Kitsing, the Ministry of Education and Research representative for her online session about the system of Education in Estonia and their secrets of success.

You can find our project partners’ articles about this digital mobility below.

"The NordPlus Digital Mobility to Illuka", by Helge Erdal & Josef Berg, Norlights Montessoriskole in Stavanger

Unable to travel to Illuka, Estonia due to covid-19 limitations, teachers here at Norlights Montessoriskole Stavanger enjoyed three digital mobility sessions on November 16, 18 and 19, 2021. 

 

The first session was about the secrets of success the Estonian education system, starting with a presentation of the wonderful country itself. From a challenging situation, the focus on education as an important priority has produced reforms leading to a highly successful school system catering for the needs of teachers as well as the individual students.

 

The second session was about the school in Illuka and the use of Stuudium as a tool for digital communication. This system has many useful features providing various services and functions that ease the daily workload for the school. 

 

In the third session, the students at the Illuka school took an active role and led a workshop regarding the digital tools in which the students and the teachers at the school use keenly. It was lovely to see that the students have shown their proficiency in the programs they presented. The tools included mote (mote.com) Mentimeter (mentimeter.com), and programs for quizes and etc.  

 

Jeanette Torgersen- contact teacher for 4.-6 grade, Helge Erdal - contact teacher for the lower secondary, Josef Berg- Deputy Principal attended the digital mobility. 

 

We would like to thank the teachers and the students of Illuka school - our Nordplus project partner for organizing such productive digital mobility. 

"Digital mobility in Illuka", by Gediminas Jonauskas, headmaster, PI "Edukateka", Lithuania
 

 

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, we are continuing the “Digital Creative Education” project digitally. According to the project plan, a three-day remote mobility took place on November 16-19 at Illuka School in Estonia.

 

Each of our mobility days was dedicated to one of the topics: the secret of Estonia's success in education, the use of the digital learning platform Stuudium and a hands-on creative workshop with Illuka school students on feedback.

 

Lithuanian team - Saulius Rudelis and Gediminas Jonauskas from Klaipeda, PI "Edukateka" had a great opportunity to have a digital mobility. Mobility to Estonia was wonderful, it is such a beautiful country with a very good educational system, we had the opportunity to learn from. During mobility our institution had the opportunity to get acquainted with best practices, discussing the most effective teaching methods, educational environments. This mobility was helpful to us as we learned about new tools for online teaching. Saulius learned some new ICT tools like Quizlet, for me it was new Mote. Mobility was very nice especially when students of Illuka school were presenting and moderating discussions. It is very good practice to learn from students. The workshops with Illuka students were amazing, informative and useful. We were presented with tools for feedback, such as Flipgrid, Mote and Mentimeter.

 

The project activities has ended in Estonia, but the project is ongoing.

"SHARING EXPERIENCES", by Maryte Jakubauskaite, Grigiskes “Sviesos” Gymnasium, Vilnius, Lithuania

 

 

On 16 - 19th November the partners from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway of the Nordplus project “Digital Creative Education” took part in the digital mobility to Illuka School, in Estonia, for teachers. The teachers Maryte Jakubauskaite, Lilija Rutaviciene, Vigilija Davidaviciene and Evelina Jonaityte from Grigiskes “Sviesos” gymnasium, in Vilnius, were involved in the activities, as well. 

During the digital mobility sessions, we got acquainted with a system of Estonian education. On the first day, we met a representative of the Ministry of Education who told us about the specification of Estonian education, not only their achievements but also the problems they face. We were pleasantly surprised to learn about the educational success of the country. 

What is more, we had a chance to see Illuka school, to get information about its curricular and students’ evaluation. To our mind, Estonian digital registers are more informative and they provide more opportunities for teachers to share their plans and ideas.

The workshops with Illuka students were amazing, informative and useful. We were presented with tools for feedback, such as Flipgrid, Mote and Mentimeter. Flipgrid is a learning tool that allows teachers to create a grid for video discussions. Mote is a tool that lets teachers easily add voice comments to shared documents, assignments, etc. Whereas, Mentimeter includes interactive presentations by adding questions, polls, quizzes, images, etc. in order to get feedback on a particular topic or lesson in a funny way. As a result, we had a great opportunity to try the tools ourselves, get engaged in the activities and give feedback. 

All in all, the mobility meetings were very beneficial during which we gained new ideas, inspiration and knowledge.

"What Brought Us Here Does Not Carry Us Further. Digital Mobility to Illuka School", by Mihails Frolonoks, CLIL Education Centre board member, Latvia

 

At the beginning of November “Nordplus Digital Creative Education Project” partners had a little hope to take part in our first onsite mobility in Illuka School, but unfortunately a couple of weeks later it was clear, that we would switch to digital mobility again due to the new peak of Covid-19 cases in Europe. 

Our digital mobility took place between 16th and 19th November 2021 online. 

Day 1

It was interesting to learn about the differences between destinies of three post-soviet countries (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), which had similar backgrounds but eventually constructed different systems of education. 

The first day of our digital mobility was devoted to having a closer look at the system of education in Estonia. The session was held by the representative of the Ministry of Education and Research.

Estonian is an old, grammatically, and lexically complex language. So, a lot of attention is paid to teaching Estonian to ensure that everyone can communicate effectively.

Estonians believe that acquiring such a difficult language form early age, Estonians develop their capacity to learn quickly. It helps them to understand sciences, economics, and IT disciplines better. 

One of the most inspiring findings for myself was historical aspiration of Estonians to improve their level of education, as a fact 95% of population of Estonia in 19th century were able to read, while common literacy rate in the tsarist era was 28% of total population. 

Indeed, the fact that education is valued in the society influences the quality of it. According to the Australian National University and Nevada University in US research, Estonians are the most reading community (the country which reads the most) in the world. Their smart learner-centered approach, equality and equity principals, autonomy of schools – are something totally different from the experience in our country, and which leads Estonia to highest positions in rankings. 

About Illuka School:

Illuka School is a cozy educational institution located not far from Narva in the premises of former manor. There are separate buildings for kindergarten and school where total about 100 children have been studying in the picturesque area. We had a short video guide tour in school facilities organized by Illuka School governance leader. Learning in the unusual environment enables learners and teachers to have interesting traditions, one of them - pumpkin growing for local zoo animals. 

Day 2

On the second day session of our digital mobility to Illuka School we had an opportunity to see benefits of the e-learning platform for students, teachers and parents Stuudium. 

Illuka School created our profiles at Stuudium platform, so we could feel ourselves like a real Illuka School teachers. Stuudium provides various modes with different options: for administrators, teachers, parents, and students. It is an easy way to interact with all participants of the educational process. Stuudium provides e-register functions, where any teacher can put marks, leave feedback, assign homework, add additional materials for subject and e-learning. 

Being a parent, you can follow your child’s performance at school, ask questions to teachers and administration, provide approvals for absence at school. One interesting thing I have noticed in Stuudium was a library of digital tools and websites to support students’ independent learning opportunities. 

Day 3

The last activity of our digital mobility was an interactive lesson about the importance of feedback. The session was held by Illuka School students in small groups using MS Teams Breakout Rooms option. 

Students introduced to us three digital tools for feedback: Flipgrid, Mote and Mentimeter. Flipgrid allows to film short feedback video messages, Mote allows you to insert audio comments in a Google worksheet, and Mentimeter allows to display short text feedback of participants. You can create a word-cloud or have an open-ended question using Mentimeter. 

Students felt surprisingly confident in leading MS Teams lessons, there were no technical issues, and small delays were easily resolved. 

The three-day digital mobility let us understand that everything we had seen in the digital mobility days was an approval of Estonia’s reputation as a country with high quality standards in education. Estonians believe that their long route which involved hard work and reforms through centuries has led them to where they are now. They also understand that “What brought us here does not carry us further”.

03/11/2021

 

PROJECT FOR STUDENTS "The Best Digital Tool for My Learning"

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According to our project plan in October all the project partners  organized a project for students "The Best Digital Tool for My Learning" in every partner institution. Students had to speak, write, draw, record videos about the digital tools that help them learn, and then teach their teachers about these tools. Teachers had to act as students and reflect on the outcomes of these projects.

 

Please find below short review about project results in every partner institution. 

By Maryte Jakubauskaite, Vilnius municipality Grigiskes “Sviesos” gymnasium, Lithuania, 2021

My favourite app

 

In October, 2021, the 6 th and 7 th grade students of Grigiskes “Sviesos “ gymnasium participated in the project “The Best Digital Tool for my Learning“, as part of Nordplus project. The students were given a task to present their favourite digital tools and teach school teachers how they work.
On 21 st October, we had a presentation day. Some teachers and the students gathered to share the ideas. Simona Smatauskaite from class 7d presented the English language learning app CAKE. She uses the app to learn words and phrases. Then, we had an opportunity to get to know about various Google possibilities, e. g.,tabs, personalizing etc. The presentation was created by Liutauras Pigarevas from class 6d. After that our lesson was followed by Kahoot! presentations. Evelina Lavrinovic from 6d made a video about how Kahoot! helps her learn. Simona Verobej from 7d made a colourful presentation about Kahoot! Jurgis Muntrimas and Emilijus Semėnas from the same class told us some facts from Kahoot! history. Their presentation was followed by Kahoot! game. The last student to show her favourite tool was Ieva Gradeckaite from class 7d. She made a Kahoot! game as well.
All in all, we had a nice and informative lesson that showed the teachers what tools our gymnasium students use for their learning. So, we can see that Kahoot! is the most popular one among the pupils.

By Ave Amor, PE teacher and a reacreation and project manager in Illuka School, Estonia

 

The world we live in is, technology is literally everywhere, and the kids adapt to it more than anyone else. For students of all ages, it is natural to use technology in every aspect of their lives. Therefore, digital tools for learning are becoming more and more crucial. 

To find out what digital tools our school students use for learning, we asked 6th, 7th, and 9th grade students to make poster presentations as a group.

The most widely used web application is e-diary Stuudium. Students are using this for keeping track of what homework has been assigned, viewing grades, and communicating with the teacher, also getting overview of a school life. Another popular application is Opiq. Opiq is a learning management environment used for learning, which contains textbooks, learning kits and study journal. Students also mentioned they use videos of Youtube and TIKTOK for educational purposes. To communicate with classmates, students use Viber, Messenger, Snapchat, Google Classroom, Zoom, VK, Google Meet, MS Teams and gmail. As our school has many students with Russian as their home language, different translation programs are used such as Photo Translator, eki.ee and Google Translator. In addition, Kahoot, Appwizer, Quizizz, Phet.colorado, Taskutark, Loquiz, Photomath, Padlet and Jamboard are also applications, students like to use for learning.

All in all, using technology for education provokes student’s curiosity, boost their engagement, stimulates creativity and leads to better learning.

By Gražvydė Radavičienė, Siauliai Sanatorium School, Lithuania

"The best digital tool in my lesson"

 

 A project week took place at the school from 18 to 22 October, during which teachers used various digital platforms in their lessons and shared their good practices with colleagues. Today’s teacher needs to be creative. In the lesson, traditional teaching is replaced by new educational methods that encourage creative and interesting work. 

The activities of this project week showed that the teachers of our school use various digital platforms in the lessons constantly the students know how to use the provided tools. During such lessons, the work takes place creatively children with different needs are integrated into the activities.

 The most used programs in the project week were: Wordwall, Ema, Teams - used for distance, hybrid education, conversations, meetings, Kahoot, Smart board, Just dance.

 

 By participating in the international project "Nordplus Junior 2020 project Digital Creative Education", we will gain more experience in the digital space of student education, we will transfer our experience to the classroom even more freely and creatively, and present it to students.

By Saulius Rudelis - project coordinator, teacher and project manager of   PI "Edukateka", Lithuania

In 27th of October, 2021, the students of Public Institution “Edukateka“  participated in the event “The Best Digital Tool for my Learning“, as part of Nordplus Junior project. The students were given a task to present their favorite digital tools and teach our Institions’ other students and teachers how they work.

Some teachers and the students gathered to share the ideas. Dominykas R. from IT studio presented the Canva for Education. Whether you’re a teacher or student, Canva for Education makes it easy to create, collaborate, and communicate visually in the classroom and beyond. 

Gustas J. from IT studio and Roberta R. from dance studio presented Quizizz. The software is used in class, group assignments, pre-test review, formative assessments and pop quizzes.

Ieva Š. and Emilija L. from dance studio presented Quizlet. Quizlet makes simple learning tools that let you study anything.

Saulius L. from IT studio made a colourful presentation about Kahoot!. Also he made a Kahoot! game for all participants of this event. 

In 28th of October, 2021, the students of our institution had a "Day without technologies", also as part of Nordplus Junior project. On this day they learn some facts about Baltic signs and patterns. After lecture they made own t-shirts with their favorite Baltic signs. 

All in all, we had a nice and informative two events that showed the teachers what tools our Institution students use for their learning.

By Veronika Skripačova, CLIL Education Centre Curriculum Coordinator, Latvia

Amazing Digital Tools at CLIL Education Centre

In October 2021, CLIL Education Centre & Colibri School students worked on the project “The Best Digital Tool”. In additional education online lessons students were offered to express their opinions about the most efficient digital tools. 

Upper secondary school students had discussions in breakout rooms. They had to answer the following questions: “Which of these IT tools do you use for learning?”, “What do you use them for?”, “How do you rate the efficiency of this tool?”, “If you had to recommend, which tool would you advise to use with primary, secondary school, and adult learners? Why?”

Students discussed the efficiency of tools using such criteria as age-relevance, user-friendliness, trustworthiness, and cost. Most students considered the use of Youtube, especially watching TedTalks a great opportunity to enrich their vocabulary and broad horizons. They recommended these sources for secondary school students. They also emphasised the importance and handiness of MS Teams and Zoom. Students speculated about the importance of timely communication in the modern world, and the value they bring to online education during the Covid-19 pandemic. Several students mentioned that they regularly use online libraries such as Gutenberg.org. They said it allowed them to read authentic texts in English. What impressed me as a teacher was that they spoke about the importance of reading literature and their willingness to do so.

Younger students worked on a different project. They had to answer the questions like “How often do you use your computer for learning?”, “What do you do on your computer?”, “Do you like learning in the classroom or online?”, “What is your favourite IT tool?”, “What will the school of the future be like?” Grade 4-5 students were offered to vote for the best digital tool and support their choices with arguments. Kahoot was chosen the best digital tool, Uzdevumi.lv took the second place, and Quizizz took the third position.  

The same group of students were offered to vote for the best approach to learning. They had to choose between learning exceptionally at school, online, or partly at school/ partly online. The result of the poll is surprising – our learners enjoy blended learning opportunities. They are keen on spending only part of their school life in the school building!

The last activity that our Grade 4-5 students did was describing the advantages of online learning. They had to make a word-cloud by writing 3 words that characterised distance learning. The most common words were “fast”, “interesting”, “easy”. There were some other revelations like “I can eat during MS Teams conferences” and “more time to sleep”.

Thanks to our Nordplus project we learn so much about our students and apply new strategies in providing ongoing support to their learning!

01/06/2021

 

DIGITAL MOBILITY TO NORLIGHTS MONTESSORISKOLE IN STAVANGER

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On the 26th of April we had the third digital mobility to Norlights Montessori School in Stavanger, Norway. It was our last meeting before project report in school year 2020/2021 and it was organized as effective as possible. Our partners from Stavanger Josef Berg and Helge Erdal performed outstanding digital event, introducing Norlights School to project partners as also performing report on extremely actual topic of Cyber Wellness.  Before our digital mobility was started, our guest lecturer Anna Pjatecka, a Riga Zolitude grammar school teacher, reported on her research and experience about Students Motivation While Studying Online.  We would like to thank Anna, Josef and Helge for leading the digital mobility and sharing information about their school and country. Please find our project partners’ feedback on the digital mobility to Norlights School below. 

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by Adriana Martinkevica, teacher of CLIL Educational Centre, Latvia

Anna Pjatecka was a guest speaker who was telling us about the well-being of students during online education. She presented different ways how we make students motivated for learning. It may be reached through group assignments by organising breakout rooms, multi-level tasks, rewards and competitions. The presentation was trying to depict the misconception that teachers should not prevent children from using their mobile phones, as it has become an integrative part of their habits. We can integrate the phone into the learning process to help children learn difficult things in the way that they like best. Another way how teachers may engage students is learning via connection with real life. For instance, teachers may choose a topic that is connected with real life. Moreover, students' interest in the learning process is connected with higher persistence. Anna has managed to present positive discipline support strategies.
Then we proceeded with digital mobility to Norlights Montessoriskole. Our mobility was divided into 4 parts. Firstly, we had a digital sightseeing tour around Norway. Personally I liked Norwegian Fjord, Hardanger and Preikestolen. Then, school representatives introduced Montessoriskole. The first difference is that classes consist of different age groups, it makes up small groups possible to work. The average classroom consists of 8 students. Moreover, students may select activities in which they would like to be involved.
Montessori School implemented digital strategies such as Chromebooks, Transparent Classroom, School link, Into words, Salaby, Skolen, Coding, and Relemo. Moreover, such devices as iPads and PCs are available at the school. Joseph shared the results of a survey on how easy it is for students to learn online, and also prepared recommendations to make online learning more productive. Also, Joseph has shared the experience of how it is possible to seek the balance between activities with digital tools.

Overall, the meeting was useful and contributed to my development of teaching skills.

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by Ave Amor, PE teacher and a reacreation and project manager in Illuka School, Estonia

Let’s go to Land of the Vikings!

On April 26, another Nordplus project trip took place, this time we travelled to the land of the fjords and vikings- Norway. 

Josef and his colleague Helge welcomed us virtually in Norlights Montessori School Stavanger, school offering authentic Montessori education to 41 pupils.

Montessori education is very popular in Norway. There are over 600 Montessori schools in Norway, at the same time, there are no such general education schools in Estonia. One of the reasons we don't have Montessori schools in Estonia, may be that we don't have Montessori trained professionals. It was very interesting for us to learn more about the basics of Montessori pedagogy.

Montessori education allows children to create their own learning paths, that means that it is believed that children learn better when they’re choosing what to learn.

 Another thing that is different from the traditional classroom is that Montessori teachers act as guides and consultants to students on a one-on-one basis. They assist each child along his or her own learning path. Montessori classrooms gather children in different ages and in Norlights Montessori school average number of students in one classroom is 8.

We really enjoyed a 3D overview of their school rooms. We discussed with colleagues that it would have been more exciting if we could control instead of Josef this "remote control" to explore more closely Montessori methodology learning tools.

In a Montessori classroom you will see hands-on learning EVERYWHERE! Although, in our school we also use this “project-based learning” by growing strawberry plants and organizing project days and campaigns, we could do it even more, especially in distant learning periods.

We enjoyed virtually the picturesque nature of Norway and the hospitality of Josef and Helge and hope to get a chance to visit Norlights Montessori School Stavanger in future.

 

Ave, Airit and Kristi from Illuka School

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On the 26 th of April 2021 Lithuanian team had a great opportunity to have a digital mobility to Stavanger, Norway. Stunning mountain ranges, breathtaking sights left the biggest impression on us. So, if you are a nature lover, this place is a must- visit.
Also, we got to know that Stavanger is called a Smart City which is based on the citizen's needs and applies new technology to make the city a better place to live, reside and work.
What is more, Josef Berg, representative of Norlights Montessoriskole in Stavanger, guided us around his school that uses alternative pedagogics. It is one of  those educational institutions that cares about children‘s development. The school helps children express themselves through creativity, using their imagination. It takes into account children‘s needs and demands. Every child is important as a personality and individuality.

We also learned about the system of education in Norway and cyber- wellbeing. All the group says thank you to our Latvian colleague Anna Pjatecka for her presentation about students motivation while studying online. We agreed that a teacher is an engine of the learning process and ‘‘If a child can‘t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn“(Ignacio Estrada).

English teachers Gražina Vaitkunskė and Marytė Jakubauskaitė

by Gražina Vaitkunskė, English teacher, Nordplus coordinator at Vilnius Municipality’s Grigiškės Šviesos gymnasium, Lithuania