The Gemini College in Ridderkerk is a school for pre-vocational secondary studies, higher general secondary and advanced secondary education. The school has been using itslearning since 2008, and uses it to give its students a wider education than that available just from textbooks.
"We can offer activating methods with itslearning that make the lesson more interesting for both the student and the teacher,” says Jeannette Frank, math teacher and e-coach at the Gemini College in Ridderkerk. We can also get parents more involved in their children’s learning process."
From small-scale to wide-scale implementation
The Gemini College decided to initially implement itslearning in the theoretical learning track of the pre-vocational secondary programme and to later expand it to the other programmes. To use the learning platform as effectively as possible, a number of teachers underwent special training.
“We decided to start on a small scale and to first achieve success with one programme, so that it would be easier afterwards to achieve broad support,” says Jeannette. “More and more teachers are also starting to realise the advantages of the platform. It does require a considerable investment at the start, but it becomes much more convenient and beneficial over time.”
Adapting to students working methods
According to Jeanette, project-based working is effectively supported at the school by itslearning. The teachers create project groups and prepare the material in itslearning, which means that students do not have to be at school to access the material. Students who are ill, for example, can collaborate with their project group from home – and this allows them to keep up with the course work.
“It’s become obvious that the students are changing their working method,” she explains. “They no longer write down as much in their planner, instead opting to use the study guide in itslearning to do their homework. They are also less hesitant to approach their teachers with questions. If they see that a teacher is online, they are more inclined to approach that teacher using the message service than by e-mail, as was customary in the past. The students also prompt teachers to put more information on itslearning. In this way, they reinforce one another in terms of motivation to use the platform.”
Increasingly further integration
After the successful implementation of itslearning in the theoretical learning track of the pre-vocational secondary programme, the higher general secondary level is scheduled to start using the platform more next year. The school will also expand its use of the platform in the pre-vocational secondary programme. “Next year, we plan to use the mentor function more, so that we can prepare and update individual curricula. We also want to keep track of student behaviour through itslearning and, in the future, implement the portfolio function,” Jeannette explains.
“Another major change next year is that we will be working with laptops in many classes and itslearning will play an important role in this. Henri Kortholt recently held an inspiration session for us to show how we can more effectively use itslearning for the language subjects. The teachers received a number of handy tips and tricks, which they all plan to implement. It was extremely worthwhile for them to participate in this session before the start of the new school year.”