About iTEC About iTEC

About iTEC

Updated September 2014

In iTEC (Innovative Technologies for Engaging Classrooms, 2010-2014), European Schoolnet worked with education ministries, technology providers and research organisations to transform the way that technology is used in schools.

Over the course of the project, educational tools and resources were piloted in over 2,500 classrooms across 20 European countries, with the goal of providing a sustainable model for fundamentally redesigning teaching and learning. The project involved 26 project partners, including 14 Ministries of Education, and funding of €9.45 million from the European Commission’s FP7 programme. The project ended in August 2014.

Watch here the iTEC summary on video and read the magazine "Designing the future classroom" (available in five languages):

 
Evaluating the impact of iTEC Learning Activities in schools

Over the four years, the evaluators gathered the views of teachers and students (some 1,488 were surveyed), national coordinators and policy-makers through surveys, interviews, focus groups, case studies and observations. The results were collated under three headings in the final evaluation report.

How did the iTEC approach impact on learners and learning

  • Key finding 1: Teachers perceived that the iTEC approach developed students’ 21st century skills, notably independent learning; critical thinking, real world problem solving and reflection; communication and collaboration; creativity; and digital literacy. Their students had similar views.
  • Key finding 2: Student roles in the classroom changed; they became peer assessors and tutors, teacher trainers, co-designers of their learning and designers/producers.
  • Key finding 3: Participation in classroom activities underpinned by the iTEC approach impacted positively on students’ motivation.
  • Key finding 4: The iTEC approach improved students’ levels of attainment, as perceived by both teachers (on the basis of their assessment data) and students.

How did the iTEC approach impact on teachers and teaching?

  • Key finding 5: The Future Classroom Scenario development process was viewed as innovative by policy makers, teachers and stakeholders, but further work is needed.
  • Key finding 6: Teachers and coordinators perceived that the Learning Activity development process has potential to develop innovative digital pedagogies in the classroom, but further work is needed.
  • Key finding 7: Teachers perceived that the iTEC approach enhanced their pedagogy and digital competence.
  • Key finding 8: Teachers became more enthusiastic about their pedagogical practices.
  • Key finding 9: Teachers stated that they used technology more frequently; it was systematically integrated throughout the learning process rather than reserved for research or presentations.
  • Key finding 10: Teachers were introduced to digital tools they had not used before; some were more favourably received than others.
  • Key finding 11: Teachers collaborated more, both within and beyond their schools, a process facilitated through the online communities.

What is the potential of the iTEC approach for system-wide adoption in schools?

  • Key finding 12: Awareness of the iTEC approach is growing in educational systems, and there are signs of widespread uptake.
  • Key finding 13: The scenario-led design process can support mainstreaming of innovation, provided the process is refined.
  • Key finding 14: The library of scenarios, Learning Stories and Learning Activities was viewed by policy makers and teachers as a valuable output of iTEC to support system-wide classroom innovation.
  • Key finding 15: In countries in which iTEC aligns closely with national policies and strategies, the iTEC approach is likely to be adopted and to influence future practices.

iTEC final evaluation report 2014A summary of the evaluation report is available in various languages (PDF file):

Future Classroom Toolkit

iTEC has established a set of processes to help schools and other key stakeholders in educational reform to create and deliver a viable vision for teaching and learning in the future classroom.

The main one, the Future Classroom Toolkit, enables school leaders, education policy makers, teachers and ICT suppliers to create and implement Future Classroom Scenarios which provide a clear vision of innovative teaching and learning practices. It can be used to introduce or scale up innovative use of ICT in a school or across a number of schools within an education system. The rationale for this process is to bring about incremental but sustainable change in the education system.

The toolkit encourages whole school use of ICT by:

  • Creating an educational vision that is ambitious but achievable
  • Involving all key stakeholders involved in designing a schools’ ICT strategy
  • Focusing on advanced pedagogical practices and change management
  • Designing engaging Learning Activities that bring innovation through the use of ICT to support learner acquisition of 21st Century skills
  • Evaluating the use of Learning Activities

In the project was developed also Edukata, for the design of innovative Learning Activities. Edukata is based on a research-based design approach, successfully used to design digital tools for learning. Edukata is an adaptation of that method for educators to design learning activities for their own educational context. Edukata was developed by the Learning Environments research group in Media Lab Helsinki, in Aalto University, Finland.
 

Beyond iTEC - Mainstreaming the results of the iTEC project

With school pilots in over 2,500 classrooms in 20 countries, iTEC has been the largest pan-European project to date focused on teaching and learning in the future classroom. As such, it is essential that the project’s results continue helping teachers and schools to innovate with ICT and to find new ways to improve their practice long after the project has ended.

A key part of the iTEC mainstreaming strategy is the European Schoolnet Future Classroom Lab in Brussels that showcases project results and provides training on the iTEC change management process both via face-to-face courses and online. This provides a permanent platform or ‘Ideas Lab’ where policy-makers, industry partners, teachers, and school leaders can rethink how innovative practice should be developed and supported in 21st century classrooms.

European Schoolnet has also developed a family of related projects under the umbrella of the Future Classroom Lab which have built on the iTEC methodology and outputs. In turn, these projects are now providing resources, training, networking opportunities and guidelines that align with the iTEC project objectives. For example, the CPDLab project (2011-2013) produced and ran successful courses for teachers on Future Classroom Scenarios, Interactive Whiteboards and eSafety. The Living Schools Lab project (2012-2014) has complemented the iTEC focus on mainstreaming innovative practice by developing new models for supporting whole school use of ICT. Moreover, the ongoing Creative Classrooms Lab project (2013-2015) is using the iTEC methodology to develop Scenarios and Learning Activities for policy experimentations and school pilots focused on the use of tablets. The following pages provide a flavour of what has been happening in these projects and some new initiatives which will further ensure that iTEC results continue to be mainstreamed.

Embedding iTEC results successfully at national level will particularly rely on the 17 Ministries of Education that took part in the project as well as the on-going commitment of school leaders and teachers. Here the signs are encouraging. For example, it is already clear that the Future Classroom Toolkit will be customised and translated for local use, not only by a number of iTEC ministries, but also by initial teacher training organisations and iTEC industry partners. Another positive sign is the resounding success of the Future Classroom Scenarios online course delivered through the European Schoolnet Academy. An upcoming network of Future Classroom Ambassadors, supported by the Ministries of Education, will also help to take the iTEC message to the local and national level.

At the end of the project, iTEC Future Classroom Scenarios and Learning Activities have been tested by teachers, not in 1,000 classrooms (the original target) but in 2,500 classrooms. The results from the evaluation also clearly show how iTEC has not only inspired and motivated teachers, but also provided students with more independent, collaborative and engaging learning across Europe. Nothing like this level of ‘bottom-up’ response could have been predicted at the start of the project. So, although iTEC has finished its work, there is most definitely a solid base on which to build as we move forward with the mainstreaming of project results.