The Skills Lab has teamed up with the Latvian Education Ministry and other partners based in Austria and Cyprus in a European Union funded project to develop a Blended Learning toolkit.
“B-Learning” Project will initially research Blended Learning Best Practice. This know-how will help identify a strategy to allow schools to successfully combine physical and virtual classroom bringing together technology, pedagogy and content. A Toolkit will be developed to help schools organise teaching and learning more meaningfully and appropriate for learning needs in the 21st century school.
We are living in a constantly evolving digital world where Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has an impact on nearly every aspect of our lives and technology becomes more and more embedded in our culture. ICT plays the vital role in supporting economic development and making dynamic changes in society.
The digital age has transformed the way young people communicate, network, seek help, access information and learn. It is recognised that young people are now an on-line population and we have to look for ways how to provide them with relevant and contemporary experiences that allow them to successfully engage with technology and prepare them for life.
Widespread use of information and communication technologies in schools requires not only competent use of technical tools, but also a new kind of understanding of why, how and when technologies support students learning. “The context in which digital technology is deployed needs to change if we are going to drive better educational outcomes” (Nesta 2013).
Learners are motivated and purposefully engage in the learning process when concepts and skills are underpinned with technology and sound pedagogy. Being aware of the significant role of ICT in our life educators should be wise enough in implementing the strategies to empower ICT in supporting the teaching and learning process. ICT is not just the bloom of the educational activities, but also an option to make pedagogical process more effective and meaningful.
“The Survey of schools: ICT in Education” (European Commission, 2012) points that teachers in EU are unanimous about the fact that ICT use is essential to prepare students to live and work in the 21st century, however most schools don’t have policies on ICT integration in teaching and learning.
B-Learning Project Details
The Project “B-Learning: Curriculum Design for Blended Learning” (B-Learning) will focus on the pedagogical innovations that allow technology to achieve its potential to impact learning.
The Project aims to provide resources and training for school leadership teams how to transform traditional schooling by combining on-line and off-line teaching – learning experiences. In this process school leadership teams together with teachers will be trained to become the main motivators and initiators of the ICT implementation and agents of change from the classical method into the modern one which is also known as blended learning (BL).
The project objective is in line with ‘Europe 2020’ Strategy promoting synergies of experience and know-how among four EU countries and different types of institutions involved in education and training.
Balancing the use of ICT and traditional learning models is a challenge for schools in all European countries. The project ambition is to take on the task of supporting school leadership teams in project countries to develop innovative and creative solutions for implementation of blended learning at schools.
Project will be implemented by 6 partners from 4 countries. Each partner has its own experience and expertise in the development of ICT based teaching learning methodology. However, none of these countries have developed tools for implementing BL on a system level. Putting together expertise and experience of people, who are involved in the same work, even if in different contexts, will allow through processes of cooperation and collaboration develop know-how of introducing BL at schools. Opportunity to reflect on specific learning and teaching processes in different contexts will create new knowledge, thus increasing the impact and action for change in education.
Project partnership was established taking into consideration previous cooperation and international project experience; partner’s expertise in BL, readiness and willingness to implement innovative approaches to improve education processes. All partners have strong national and international networks and high capacity for development, implementation and dissemination of project results.
Consortium represents different types of institutions (national bodies, non-governmental organizations, research and/or education, training institutions).
Partner composition will promote synergy between local and international innovative practices in different fields of education and regions of Europe.
Each partner will have its responsibilities in the project.
- VISC (Latvia) is a public administration body experienced in implementation of education policy on a national level – development of national curriculum, coordination of teachers continuing professional development, designing assessment procedures. VISC is Project Lead partner and will be responsible for all project management issues, dissemination and ensuring sustainability of project results.
- CARDET (Cyprus) is the e-learning Centre in Cyprus and is one of the leading institutions in the Mediterranean region for research and development in education, innovation, Information Communication Technologies, and social justice. CARDET has participated in numerous projects related to the development of blended learning and e-learning. CARDET will bring to the project expertise in education research, evaluation, and human resource development. CARDET will be responsible for the development of project Output 1 – Needs Analysis Report and organizing piloting of Survey Tool in Cyprus.
- REGS (Latvia) is a secondary school in Latvia known for its high educational standards and development of innovative teaching – learning materials. School implements basic and secondary general education programs and its profile allows to elaborate BL practices for different student age groups, as well as to develop focused activities for teacher CPD and to adjust research findings for their use in schools. REGS is experienced in working in international projects. In the Project REGS will coordinate piloting of Toolkit in partner countries.
- BEST (Austria) is an independent Austrian organisation for providing continuous training, vocational qualification and career services with strong experience in e-learning/b-learning and teaching material development. Its main activities comprise the development of innovative training programmes. BEST will be responsible for the project Quality Assurance issues.
- EduLab (Latvia) is a recently founded NGO focusing on integration of ICT in education.The organization brings together researchers, school leaders and ICT sector specialists with considerable expertise in education and ICT use in schools. Members of EduLab have international experience as Microsoft Partners, in Learning Global Forums and other related activities. EduLab has developed and implemented programs for school leaders and educators, as well as the system for evaluation of ICT based learning outcomes. EduLab will contribute to the project with its experience in the work with school leadership teams and together with Skills Lab will be responsible for the development of Toolkit.
- The Skills Lab (UK) provides education innovations consultancy facilitating cultural change in education; support, guidance and training both in the UK and overseas. The Company works in partnership with education institutions to create services, programs and products that drive cultural change in organisation. The Skills Lab will be responsible for the development of Project Output 2 – Toolkit and leading the joint staff workshop for B-Learning professional development program development.
All partners will contribute to project management, dissemination, quality assurance, development of 2 main intellectual outputs and ensuring sustainability of project results