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Exploiting iTEC results

Future Classroom LabIn order to help exploit emerging iTEC results, European Schoolnet is putting in place a new Future Classroom Lab that will help the porject to showcase iTEC teaching and learning scenarios. Moreover, a new project called CPDLab (Continuing Professional Development Lab) starting in October will help to find new ways to provide ongoing teacher training and support beyond the end of the project.

Future Classroom Lab

The initial response to project dissemination activities from Ministries of Education, regional education authorities and ICT vendors indicates that iTEC has the potential to become a more permanent ‘Living Lab’ or ‘Ideas’ Lab’, a platform that enables key stakeholders to rethink teaching and learning in 21st century classrooms.

The Future Classroom Lab will consist of a room designed as an interactive classroom to illustrate how a traditional classroom setting can use technology to enhance interactivity and student participation, plus a large reconfigurable open space (divided into five learning ‘zones’) equipped with the latest technology. In particular, the Future Classroom Lab will be used as an environment to:

  • Stimulate discussions and illustrate practice related to a range of current and prospective innovative teaching and learning scenarios.
  • Provide hands-on training facilities for teachers, head teachers and ICT advisers.
  • Act as a venue for meetings, workshops and events for Ministries of Education, regional education authorities and commercial partners.
  • Provide a platform where policy makers, practitioners and ICT suppliers can come together in order to rethink how teaching and learning can take place in 21st century classrooms and other learning spaces.

One of the first companies to support the Future Classroom Lab is RM Education, a leading provider of ICT software, infrastructure and services in the UK which has set up the REAL (Rethinking Education and Learning) Centre at its headquarters in Abingdon.

The aim is that the new European Schoolnet Future Classroom Lab in Brussels will be equipped and ready for a series of launch events starting in December 2011.

CPDLab project

This new, two-year project, supported by the Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme, will commence in October 2011. Its aim is to improve the quality of ICT-related Continuing Professional Development available to teachers, school leaders and other school staff and help schools become effective learning environments by offering a portfolio of training courses directly related to the needs of teachers in the future classroom.

In particular, the project will specifically design, test and disseminate three, five-day CPD courses that support:

  • Innovative pedagogical use of Interactive Whiteboard technologies in secondary schools.
  • Improved safety policies in secondary schools, addressing issues such as cyber bullying, use of social networks, responsible use of mobile and Internet technologies etc.
  • Implementation of teaching and learning activities for the future classroom based on scenarios that have been developed and evaluated in iTEC.

Each five-day course developed in the project will be delivered in the new Future Classroom Lab.

Support and CPD being provided to national coordinators and teachers in iTEC is primarily carried out using online tools. The CPDLab project will make it possible to develop a suite of iTEC modules and training materials that can be delivered face-to-face within a reconfigurable physical space that contains all the technology that is needed to deliver any iTEC scenario. The aim is that these face-to-face courses can also be localised and adapted for use at national and local level by iTEC Ministries of Education and other partners.