Professor Giovanni Torrisi wandered between the rows of desks talking with students – most of whom had laptops open on their desks – and peppering their teachers with questions.
The tour guide took the bespectacled Italian to another classroom where he showed the same enthusiasm for learning about how itslearning was used at Akademiet, Norway's largest private high school with 2,500 students in six cities. Torrisi, who teaches in the Faculty of Sociology at the University of Urbino, liked what he saw.
International educators tour Norwegian schools
The professor was one of about 30 international delegates attending the itslearning Norwegian User Conference in April in Bergen, Norway. The delegates were toured around Akadamiet and the Norwegian Business School. As he toured the school, Torrisi was becoming increasingly convinced that itslearning would be the right choice for his university.
Akadamiet math and science teacher Arvid Ådnanes and Prof. Giovanni Torrisi sharing teaching secrets.
"itslearning seems to be a good choice for our needs. It provides an excellent infrastructure for students, teachers and parents to collaborate. And if you look at the total operation cost in relation to the life of the product, it's a good option for us," Torrisi says.
Joining him on the tour were 15 Turkish delegates representing schools and unions as well as IT staff and school managers from the UK, the Netherlands and Finland. The school tours were intended to give the delegates, who were either considering itslearning for their schools or had been using it for a short time, insight into how itslearning is used in Norwegian schools.
Torrisi said he appreciated the opportunity to see first-hand how itslearning was used by teachers and students in a real-world setting. "This goes a long way in terms of being able to trust the company. That is very important to us," Torrisi explains. "We realise that itslearning is here but, not only that, itslearning is here to stay and expand."
Considering platform for 20,000 private school students
Dr. Serdar Dagtekin attended the conference on behalf of Bahçeşehir College, an education network comprising 98 primary and secondary schools in Turkey. He said he wanted to learn more about whether itslearning would be a good fit for the College's schools, with a total student population of 20,000. In 2012, Bahçeşehir University, which is associated with the College, started using itslearning.
"We use itslearning at our university, and it's very useful for us. With itslearning, it is very easy for teachers to communicate with students," he explains. "It is very easy for me to assign homework to students and get fast results."
Dr. Serdar Dagtekin and Mustafa Elmasdere of Bahçeşehir College said attending the conference strengthened ties between their school and itslearning.
In particular, Dr. Dagtekin was curious learn more about using itslearning on an iPad, as iPads were recently distributed to all students in the primary and secondary schools. This is part of a government initiative called the Fatih Project that saw 15 million tablet computers distributed to schools across Turkey. The Fatih Project was spearheaded by education researcher Gokhan Yucel, whose Bergen Model was the subject of another itslearning blog post.
Helsinki students get innovative by using e-portfolio as resume
Riitta Repo, Training Manager at Helsinki Business College, visited the itslearning conference to get to know the company and platform even better. In the three months HBC has been using itslearning, students and teachers are already using the platform in innovative ways. Students place all practical and academic experience in their itslearning e-portfolios, which they then use as a kind of CV to show to potential employees. They also make good use of the itslearning video recorder. They make recordings where they demonstrate skills that are difficult to relay proficiency of on paper, for example language and customer service skills.
After first introducing the platform to eight teachers, now all 80 college teachers use it. Riitta says the transition to itslearning from Moodle has been relatively painless. "Both teachers and students find itslearning easier to use than Moodle. Everything was easier in a way. The interface was user friendly. It was easier to follow the pedagogical processes. The more they used it, the easier they found it. itslearning gave them different options for developing their instruction," she said
Posted on Mon, April 29, 2013
by Mark Macdonald