Transforming school classrooms into real innovation labs
The project was inspired by the need to promote coding in Greek primary education. It fostered the exploration of the actual use of digital technologies in the Schools, the way new technologies could transform School classrooms into real labs and the level of impact in the improvement of the digital skills of teachers and pupils.
The project fostered the exploration of the actual use of digital technologies in the Schools, the way new technologies could transform School classrooms into real labs and the level of impact in the improvement of the digital skills of teachers and pupils.
The project was designed by the Unit of Innovation, engaging different stakeholders, such as public and private sector organizations, service providers, pupils, teachers and professionals from local authorities. The stakeholders contributed to the design team thinking, helping identify challenges, strategic opportunities, and project management.
At first, when areas of intervention were agreed, a gap analysis was performed in order to assess the current and expected situation so that the added value of the implementation of this experimental pilot project could be evaluated. In addition, the innovation team benchmarked findings of the data analysis stage with the use of cases and results from other countries, as well as E.C. studies and action plans, which were taken into account.
The project started in September 2018, with a train-the-trainer workshop for ICT Teachers of Primary education. 21 Teachers from 18 schools from different regions of Greece followed the workshop.
In October 2018, 109 pupils 7-9 years old attended the Launch Event of the project and an intensive 2- day coding workshop and produced -with the guidance of their school teachers- animated graphics in teams.
For a period of 5 months, the pupils worked using their resources to accomplish their tasks. They uploaded the intermediate and final deliverables in a collaborative platform used by all the schools, developing project management skills ending on creating animation videos, during their ICT class in the School.
On 30 March 2019, at the Closing Ceremony, the pupils came together to present through the animation they created with coding their city and received a Certificate of Completion of the Project by the Minister of Interior.
The project was scaled up in classrooms and engaged more than 350 pupils. During this project pupils and teachers developed a set of digital and soft skills, such as project management, communication, teamwork, etc.
The findings of the project will be used in the design of future projects.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
Most important innovative features of the project were:
• User-centered design and orientation of the project
• Working out of the box
• Upgrade of the school material and streamline of the use of the infrastructure for the purposes of the project
• Transfer of knowledge from external experts
• Creating networks- connecting pupils on a national level
• Creation and learning
• Pupils are creating and presenting the deliverables for the project
• Bottom-up approach to introduce innovative projects in the public education system
• Multiplying the effect of the project
• Combination of skills
What is the current status of your innovation?
With the completion of the project, a culture of experimentation and testing and co-creating has been introduced, so the learnings from this project will be embedded in future projects.
1. More specifically, the Schools which participated in the project, participate also to other innovative actions organized by the Unit of Innovation, such as the event «Greek Toys», an interactive workshop for pupils. In this way, the network created by the «Code my city» project is not only kept alive but is being reinforced and is getting bigger and stronger after every action implemented.
2. Also, teachers are participating in training designed by the Unit of Innovation in cooperation with external experts to support further their teaching skills and methodology.
3. Some schools were supported by permanent technical infrastructure.
4. Schools became members of an active network which is going to expand in the next years.
Collaborations & Partnerships
The Unit of Innovation has taken a user-centered design approach, testing the proposed direction for a new model with a cross-section of users and key stakeholders including pupils, teachers, School Directors, local community officials, public bodies, service providers to ensure a successful pilot implementation of the new model.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
The development of the pilot project involved extensive consultation with more than 20 stakeholders, including public and private sector organizations, NGOs, pupils, teachers, local authorities, top-level management from the government, industry representatives and service providers.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
The project in numbers:
• 21 schools, with 27 ICT teachers and 21 teams took part.
• 14 of 21 schools succeeded in transforming their classrooms into real labs.
• 27 ICT teachers in 27 classrooms followed an innovative teaching methodology.
• 109 pupils acted as multipliers of the effects of the project and hundreds of pupils developed their digital technical and soft skills in coding, creativity, analyzing and problem-solving, communication, presentation, creativity, decision-making, working on body language, negotiation, etc (estimated impact 350 pupils).
• 153 pupils participated in the last phase of the project, of which 64 completed and presented their end deliverables.
• More than 3 schools upgraded their infrastructure in order to accomplish the project.
• 85 intermediate and 14 final projects were produced into classrooms.
• 8 out of 9 months, in a school year, schools worked on a project.
Challenges and Failures
The project team faced a number of challenges for the completion of the project, the main ones being the lack of necessary technical equipment of the teams, the lack of time within the school curriculum to work on the project and keeping the teams engaged.
Conditions for Success
The main driver of the success of the project was the high-level commitment at all levels of leadership, as well as the engagement of the teachers, who acted as the ambassadors of the project.
As a Unit, the Unit of Innovation has already started to strengthen the way it uses the latest user-centered co-design approaches and evidence to introduce new approaches in the education system. The approach undertaken in the design of the pilot innovation projects has highlighted that it is possible to lead transformational change through a process where the government has listened to users to achieve better outcomes.
Taking a user-centered co-design approach is a critical factor for success. The approach undertaken in the design of the project has been very well received by stakeholders, to the point that all the beneficiaries commented that they would like to continue working on the project and to participate in other innovative projects too.