Þriðjudaginn 12. júlí 2016 barst tölvupóstur til fræðslustjóra og verkefnastjóra Erasmus+verkefnis Árborgar frá Andrési Péturssyni, verkefnastjóra Erasmus+ á Íslandi (menntahluta). Hann óskaði skólaþjónustu og grunnskólum Árborgar til hamingju með mjög vel heppnað verkefni. Erasmus skrifstofan á Íslandi mun koma verkefni Árborgar á framfæri sem svokallað ,,Best practice“ verkefni hjá aðalskrifstofunni í Brussel og því var óskað eftir smá samantekt á ensku. Meðfylgjandi samantekt var send frá fræðslusviði Árborgar miðvikudaginn 17. ágúst sl.
Árborg´s Erasmus+ project: Short summary for the 2015-2016 school year
Study, work and the learning society, a collaborative project between elementary schools in the municipality of Árborg and its school services, has already had great significance for the educational community. Through the project a clearer view of schools and school services has been obtained. Professional discussion of school matters, such as improved teaching, teaching procedures and school services, has been strengthened. This is especially true with regard to the planning and execution of Árborg’s School Day, which was held in April for all pre- and elementary school staff. Some of those who took charge of the planning also participated in the Erasmus+ project. Organization of Árborg’s School Day was built on the ideology of the professional learning community, in which development of school procedures never takes place in isolation. For our students to achieve, we must be willing to help each other and to share ideas, knowledge and experience. The Erasmus+ project also made it easier to apply to the School Development Fund for a large-scale development project during the coming academic year, the working title of which is Assessment at the boundary of school levels in Árborg. The project, a collaborative project between all of the municipality’s pre- and elementary schools and Sudurland College (Fjölbrautaskóli Suðurlands), was successful in its application. It is clear from the reports of the three Erasmus+ groups that participants put a great deal of effort into their work, that the trips went well and that the recommendations and comments made by the groups are in the spirit of the main points and aims put forward in the application to the Icelandic Centre for Research. The groups have already reported on the project to the committee on instruction, in elementary schools and through articles in the press and on websites. Below are the main conclusions of the groups and their recommendations.
Professional learning community group that visited Glasgow
The objective of the trip to Glasgow was to learn from what the Scottish are doing to promote the professional learning community. Below are some of the recommendations of the group:
- Concerted efforts should be made to strengthen links between museums in Árborg and the school community so that schools can make use of their knowledge and role in culture conservation.
- Árborg should increase its support for technical and vocational studie. Collaboration between elementary schools, secondary schools, businesses and workplaces should continue to be strengthened.
- Literacy should receive continued support, with maximum success aimed for.
- Árborg‘s School Day should be held annually or every other year.
- Educational institutions within the municipality should become more visible through the regular publication of articles in local newspapers and on social media.
- Árborg should increase emphasis on the importance of student democracy.
- Flow between school levels should be strengthened, be it in assessment or in other student support, and professional discussion among pre-, elementary and secondary schools should be guaranteed.
Árborg VET (Vocational education) group that visited Glasgow
The objective of the study trip to Glasgow was to observe what the Scottish are doing to promote career education in Scotland’s education system: how they link study and employment in order to give study more significance and to reduce dropout. Below are some of the recommendations of the group:
- The idea of work should form an integral part of all students’ education from the time they start school.
- Appropriate career education should be available at all levels of elementary school so that students gain insight into business and work.
- Students should go on study and job field trips.
- Students should maintain a study and job portfolio throughout elementary school.
- Collaboration between elementary and secondary schools should be increased, e.g. collaboration in teaching and optional subjects.
- Members of SA-Business Iceland in the south of Iceland should be invited to work with schools.
- A headquarters should be established in suitable premises in Árborg. This would take the form of a workshop for young people open to all schools in the area.
IT and school procedures group that visited Denmark and Sweden
A major factor in carrying out the recommendations presented is that school management should be active and visible at work. There also needs to be a solid internet infrastructure. What has proved most valuable is having teachers at the schools involved part-time in introducing changes. The infrastructure is in place in Árborg’s schools. Wireless internet connections in elementary schools have improved greatly during recent years but could still be better. Differentiated instruction and the introduction of smart devices and other solutions are closely linked. Schools have already declared an interest in adopting Google Classroom. This will allow for increased collaboration between schools and also for the possibility of honing each school’s individual strengths. By the end of the year, it was the unanimous opinion of the project supervisory committee that we should look into adopting Chromebook computers for the middle and final years of the municipality’s elementary schools. Although Árborg’s schools are at various stages of professional development, all are eager to introduce changes. During the past year, the three schools have worked together and the supervisory committee is the central force advocating change. Árborg is now in an ideal position to make use of the knowledge that has been created and to be one of Iceland’s foremost municipalities in school development.
The Erasmus+ project has supported our work in:
- cultivating joint objectives and plans
- placing a firm emphasis on the child/student
- placing a firm emphasis on student achievement at school
- strengthening broad collaboration across schools and school levels
- developing ever-present new knowledge resulting in better execution
- increasing student interest and achievement and forming links between study, business, culture and society as a whole
- strengthening teachers in the workplace and making them better prepared to use smart technology in the classroom
- strengthening individualized instruction in the municipality’s elementary schools
- strengthening school employees’ and school services’ understanding of the ideology of the professional learning community and enabling them to put it into practice at work
- building a strong culture of collaboration in Árborg strengthening technology in order to improve communications between students, teachers, homes and schools