By developing tablet learning scenarios and activities, guidelines and recommendations, it has enabled policy makers and schools to take informed decisions on optimal strategies for implementing 1:1 initiatives. The project was one of the first ‘policy experimentations’ funded under the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme.
The CCL project idea was developed in 2012 by European Schoolnet in conjunction with nine Ministries of Education who were interested in exploring the added value of tablets as part of 1:1 computing strategies for schools, as well as in addressing policy challenges regarding how tablets can be effectively integrated in classrooms.
The project entailed development of teaching and learning scenarios by the policy makers and teachers in the project to address the key topics of collaboration, flipped classroom models of learning, content creation and personalised learning. Forty-five classrooms in eight countries took part in pilots where teachers used the CCL scenarios to develop innovative learning activities that included use of tablets.
The University of Wolverhampton, one of the project partners, carried out classroom observation visits to document and report on the experiences of the teachers and students. The investigation found, for example, that the integration of tablets in classrooms impacts on whole school issues. For effective use of tablets, teachers need more flexibility within the timetable: where lessons were longer (around 90 minutes), students had more time to investigate topics more deeply and implement the tablet based learning activities.
Policy makers are advised to develop a coherent approach for the integration of mobile devices in their country, which needs a vision and a set of implementation strategies including: communicating the need for pedagogical change, providing ongoing support to schools, investing on the capacity building of teachers, and gathering evidence about effective approaches.
As Marc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet, states: “It is more important than ever before for schools to know why they are using technologies for learning and teaching. Fundamentally, the underlying issue is that pedagogical change is necessary to improve learning outcomes for students. The Creative Classrooms Lab project has shown that there is still much work to be done, but there is more than a curiosity with the technologies, there is now evidence to show that teachers benefit from a methodological process to change learning and teaching alongside pedagogical support in their classrooms and the opportunity to reflect on innovation in practice.”
The CCL policy experimentations were an important first step in helping the Ministries of Education develop strategies for the deployment and mainstreaming of mobile technologies. A great deal, however, still remains to be done, such as further exploring the challenges and opportunities of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategies and the potential offered by emerging cloud services for schools. There is also a need to continue short policy experimentations, such as CCL, with pilots that involve a more in-depth evaluation of the innovative use of mobile devices in and out of schools, and could perhaps also include longer-term impact studies.
European Schoolnet Academy