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Teacher interview: Bjørn Helge Græsli

Students leave their comfort zones with itslearning sound recorder

We always like hearing how teachers use itslearning. So we made our way down to the 2013 itslearning user conference held in Bergen from April 15-17. We wanted to find real teachers using our platform in their classes.

Bjørn Helge Græsli, a teacher at Kristen secondary school in Trøndelag, was a natural choice for an interview subject. An active itslearning user, Bjørn was also a conference presenter. His talk about assessment for learning held his audience’s attention from start to finish. He was sure to have valuable insights into how teachers use itslearning, and he did.

“itslearning is a point I am always returning to. It’s a hub for learning activities and class management,” says Græsli, who teaches English, Norwegian and social studies.

How long have you used itslearning?

“I've used itslearning for about six years.”

What is your favourite itslearning feature?

“I like best the possibility for sound recording in itslearning. Students can record themselves, allowing students to practice oral skills with my feedback, not just hand in written assignments.

“This provides variation, especially for language subjects. But it is also beneficial for students who are uncomfortable with speaking out in class. It allows them to speak without the whole class listening to what they are saying and to practice until they are happy with the result before showing it to me.”

How does itslearning help you in your teaching?

“itslearning can help free up time in the classroom. For example, instead of reading aloud in front of the classroom, students can access materials on itslearning and watch videos explaining the curriculum lecture at home. This frees up time for me to give feedback, have more discussions or collaborative work during class time.”

How does itslearning help your students?

“itslearning makes it easier for my students to demonstrate their knowledge of a subject in a more varied way than without digital tools. It provides a great arena for students to practice. They can work on assignments in peace and quiet, without having to worry about what other students think of their work. They can therefore do things they had not dared in the classroom setting.”

What percentage of your job involves itslearning?

“Everything and nothing. Everything because I use itslearning to plan my teaching, communicate with my students and colleagues, publish links and assignments etc. But, at the same time, learning happens in the classroom. But, if I had to guess, I probably spend an hour a day on itslearning in total. It’s a point I am always returning to. It’s the place where everything starts.”

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