In 2014, European Schoolnet (EUN) launched EUN Academy, a platform where teachers and K-12 professionals can learn about innovative practice in the school and classroom. The courses offered on EUN Academy, which are free of charge, target teachers at primary and secondary schools, as well as other educational professionals who are interested in innovation in teaching and learning. Written by Douglas Armendone, Scientific Collaborator at educa.ch
The EUN Academy courses offer an introduction to key concepts and ideas that are relevant when developing innovative teaching practices. Moreover, they provide teachers with the opportunity to discuss ideas and share experiences with peers. The main goal is to make teachers feel empowered and inspired to try out something new in their practice. Currently, EUN Academy offers two courses: “Future Classroom Scenarios” and “Innovative Practices for Engaging STEM Teaching”.
EUN Academy also offers its platform to host open courses (MOOCS) for teachers, as long as the courses are funded by European Ministries of Education or partner organisations offering training to teachers.
Teaching and learning with ICT: Swiss collaboration at European level
In order to foster learning and teaching with information and communication technologies (ICT) in Swiss schools educa.ch is involved in a range of international activities. It acts as the official representative of Switzerland at European Schoolnet, a network of 31 European (including many non-EU) ministries of education. As member of EUN’s Steering Committee and its Board of Directors educa.ch shares responsibility for the management of EUN with the other ministries involved. Switzerland thus exercises considerable influence on the programs, the projects and the topics that are pursued by European Schoolnet. Moreover, educa.ch is operationally active in such projects and working groups of EUN whose topics are in line with the principles defined in the ICT strategy of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK).
EUN is thus a central place for discussion and sharing of best practices in key issues such as digital competence, interactive classroom, special needs, online training of teachers, including assessment, certification and the use of learning analytics all over Europe.
The goal of the Swiss collaboration at European level is to reinforce the integration of relevant ICT for teaching and learning in Swiss schools according to EDK specifications. As a member of EUN, educa.ch at the same time makes an active contribution to the development of relevant ICT for teaching and learning at European level and benefits from the experience and knowledge of other countries represented at European Schoolnet.
International projects with Swiss participation
Since 2010 educa.ch has been involved in a project called “iTEC” (Innovative Technologies for an Engaging Classroom). iTEC is a major EU-funded project in which European Schoolnet is working with education ministries, technology providers and research organisations to bring about transformation in learning and teaching through the strategic application of learning technology. The project focuses on the pedagogical issues involved in a successful integration of ICT in education. Since the start of the iTEC project more than 2’500 classrooms from all over Europe participated in the designing and testing of pedagogical scenarios and learning activities with the use of ICT. Various technological tools were used to support the teaching community in reflecting on the classroom of the future and the role of technology in educational innovation. In August 2014 iTEC will publish and make freely available the Future Classroom Toolkit, which will enable decision makers, school leaders, ICT resource persons, teachers and researchers to structure the discussion about the future classroom in their institutions and to make informed choices while integrating ICT in the teaching practice and adopting innovative ideas in schools.
In the field of the so called MINT subjects (mathematics, information technology, natural sciences, and technology) yet another project, called “Scientix”, promotes and supports European collaboration among teachers of MINT subjects, education researchers, policymakers and other MINT education professionals. The project aims to reach out to national teacher communities and contribute to the development of innovative approaches in science and maths education.
In both cases educa.ch is responsible for the implementation of the projects and the dissemination of project results and products to Swiss stakeholders such as Universities of Teacher Education, schools at K-12 level, educational institutions and decision makers at cantonal and federal levels, in all language regions of Switzerland.
Coordination of ICT integration in the Swiss education system
In its function as Swiss Media Institute for Education and Culture, the non-profit cooperative educa.ch is the national competence centre and coordination platform for various projects in the field of ICT in education. Its two focal points are the management of the Swiss Agency for ICT in Education and of the Swiss Education Server.
The Swiss Education Server serves as information portal to all strands of education and vocational training in Switzerland. It offers for instance an overview of the Swiss education system from pre-school level to continuing education and provides information for foreign teachers, students, and parents who may be looking for a teaching job in Switzerland, planning to study at a Swiss university or who want to enrol a child in a Swiss school. At the same time it runs educanet2, the official platform for ICT-based learning and teaching in Swiss schools at all levels.
The Swiss Agency for ICT in Education facilitates the integration of ICT in the Swiss education system. The Agency’s task consists mainly of informing, documenting and advising the various decision makers in the education system on ICT and its purpose in education. The services of the agency are geared to both school authorities and teachers at all levels from preschool to upper secondary including vocational training and special needs education.
educa.ch receives its mandate from the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK) and the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
educa.International (French, German and Italian)