The innovation project that I have chosen to explain from the open book of innovational education was created at the National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training, the ICT Unit of the Ministry of Education in Spain. The project is called ‘Aula del Futuro’ and it started in 2017 thanks to the Ministry of Education, Samsung Electronics Iberia, and Steelcase. It consists of a project in which they reorganized the learning space (European Schoolnet, s.f).
DESCRIPTION AND CONTEXT
The origin of this initiative started in the Future Classroom Lab project of European Schoolnet (EUN). This new space created at the National Institute of Educational Technologies and Teacher Training, the ICT Unit of the Ministry of Education in Spain, provides teachers, educators and schools the opportunity to use new technologies and explore how we can organize the space in a classroom while focusing on how our students learn and what skills they have to acquire knowledge in a more active pedagogical way (Licht, A.H, Tasiopoulou, E., Wastiau, P., 2017).
So, the main goal of the ‘Aula del Futuro’ is to help people that are implicated in education to visualize how we can re-organize our current classrooms to promote changes in teaching and learning styles ( Licht, A.H. et al, 2017). Because as we can see in Spain everyday much more schools are investing in reshape their spaces, in encourage the personal skills of every child, and also in install new electronic devices that can help into the teaching and learning process, but the reality is that there are still many schools that don’t innovate at all, so European Schoolnet want to made workshops in this places to improve this situation.
ON WHAT DEPENDS CLASSROOM ORGANIZATION?
The classroom organization depends on the teaching approach that the school or the teacher wants to follow. For example, in one school we can find a learning method in which the lead role is performed by the teacher, and in another, we can find that this lead role is performed by the students and that they are the sponsors of all the activities that are organized in the school. Also, the classroom organization depends on the relationships that we want to encourage. Besides, depending on the teaching approach the activities that we do in the class can be group, individual, research and experimental activities (López , A., 2005). So this project can give us ideas of what we can do and how we can organize our classroom.
ON WHAT CONSISTS THE LEARNING METHOD USED IN ‘AULA DEL FUTURO’?
If we describe the learning method that is meant to be in the space made in the ‘Aula del Futuro’ we say that the teacher would become a mentor and the students would become the centre of their learning, also students develop skills that are applicable in different contexts and allow them to successfully navigate through the personal, social, and employment worlds in which they live. In this type of space teachers are encouraged to use active methodologies where students become researchers and creators of knowledge, resources, and ideas in a flexible and active environment because in the ‘Aula del Futuro’ many different pedagogical approaches like flipped classroom and technologies like Gear VR are put into practice (European Schoolnet, s.f).
Furthermore, other services and projects as on-site and online continuous professional development opportunities for teachers, European projects leaded by INTEF., Educational innovation services in the Spanish Ministry of Education and the Autonomous Communities, Experimentation projects with technologies in which Spain participates (Samsung Smart School, etc.) are connected with this one.
Moreover, ‘Aula del Futuro’ has the following learning areas: Interact-Present, Investigate-Develop, and Create and Explore, as we can see in figure 1 (Licht, A.H. et al., 2017).
Figure 1. Structure of the space in the ‘Aula del Futuro’. By European Schoolnet.
To conclude, the main objective of this project is to encourage teachers and schools to do methodological changes by flexible areas with active pedagogies in the schools. Because ‘Aula del Futuro’ is not only the physical area and the technology, it is also an experimental space to promote a better learning process (Licht, A.H. et al., 2017).
The ‘Aula del Futuro’ project takes similarities with the one made in Finland called UBIKO. As Licht, A.H. et al. (2017) said UBIKO is a research-based development project to renew the school and to understand what kind of school promotes inspired and skilful learners, so as the project ‘Aula del Futuro’ they want to teach new generations into a different way to be successful in all senses and to be capable of facing the new challenges of our society.
The name UBIKO means ubiquitous technology-supported learning, so they include technology to learn as in ‘Aula del Futuro’. UBIKO wants pupils to be aware of their abilities so they can set personal goals for their learning and modify those if necessary. They should be able to utilise efficient learning strategies to monitor the attainment of their goals. To support their learning, pupils should know how and when modify and regulate their environment. As well as we can see in ‘Aula del Futuro’, in this space students have to choose what room of all they want to utilise to assimilate better the knowledge, ‘Aula del Futuro’ have four different classrooms and UBIKO have five, so they also can regulate themselves where and how they want to learn by learning strategies helped by technologies (Licht, A.H. et al., 2017).
UBIKO as ‘Aula del Futuro’ has flexibility, versatility, and comfort as the key properties of the facilities provided in physical means because structural changes were implemented and new furnishings were acquired (Licht, A.H. et al., 2017).
WHAT DO I THINK?
In my opinion, it is a project that I would like to have had when I was in school. I remember that my school years were normally very boring, the only class in which we could run and do more or fewer things on our own was physical education. Also, I remember that we all were in a traditional class, our lessons were monotonous and we ever do homework by using any technology. I love that in this project children be the creators of their learning, that’s because I think that when we are only children we don’t really want to acquire knowledge like we as adults understand this, I mean when we are adults we sometimes want to only follow a traditional class because we really want to learn what someone is saying, but when we are in this ages we are only attracted by new and creative things so by the way that the project proposes we can make that our children made a significant learning.
Although it seems to be impossible to install this type of new resources into every school of every country we can organise our humble school with other cheaper resources without making any structural changes that implicate to spend money to make the class less monotonous and to make our students aware of their knowledge.
Also, I have to say that these types of projects are very important because by this we can motivate our students to be every day more curious and if we have this predisposition we can do more quality activities into our lessons.
To conclude, I believe that ‘Aula del Futuro’ works to encourage all the competences that our children need to operate in daily life, and also that is a great idea to make visible this option to improve schools and to make continuous formation for teachers.
Do you think that type of project would be sustainable? If you were a teacher and you were in one school with a similar project do you think that you could be adapted?
→ European Schoolnet. (Sin fecha). European Schoolnet structure of the space in the ‘Aula del Futuro’. ⦍Figura 1⦎. Retrieved from http://fcl.eun.org/tr/aula-del-futuro-spain.
→European Schoolnet (sin fecha). Aula del Futuro, Spain. Retrieved from http://fcl.eun.org/tr/aula-del-futuro-spain.
→ Licht, A.H, Tasiopoulou, E., Wastiau, P. (2017). Open Book of Educational Innovation. Belgium: European Schoolnet.
→ López , A. (2005). La organización del espacio escolar: Un factor determinante para el cambio de la estructura organizativa. Bordón. 57 (4). 53-67.