Ramblings of a Digital Educator

May 8, 2007

A Day in a school in Sevilla, Spain!

Filed under: General Blogging — dtrask @ 11:32 am

Today was AMAZING! I had the opportunity to visit a school here in Sevilla, Spain. The school was more of an “inner city” school, but it was a shining example of what the “junta” (government) of Andalusia has accomplished with technology in schools. ALL the schools in the program (and soon it will be ALL the schools…it takes time)…have a 2:1 ratio of kids to computers. Some schools have laptops as well. I was particularly intrigued by the reasoning of the 2:1 ratio and the desks designed around that purpose. The intent is to foster teamwork and collaboration. Students learn to work together and collaborate in the learning process. This is not to negate any effectiveness of a 1:1 deployment, but the educators of Andalusia feel that working together is also quite important. It was made clear that it was a conscious decision that had nothing to do with cost…there was enough money for 1:1, but it was decided to do the 2:1 in most cases. The computer desks were made in Portugal specially for the project. They are RUGGED! I was impressed. EVERY single classroom has computers on every single desk. By building them into the infrastructure, they have essentially built them into the learning process. Very cool idea. Every teacher uses the computers as a tool in the classroom (this was stated repeatedly) in nearly every lesson. When I asked the kids how they felt the computers had helped them, they felt more connected and felt that the school had merged the old ways with the new in a manner that would better prepare them for college and work.

On a more personal note…I had a BLAST! I was a bit of a celebrity as word got out that I was an American, a teacher,…AND a DJ. One of my Spanish colleagues is a local DJ as well and he told everyone else about me. The kids gathered around us during a break in the cafeteria….peppered me with questions….and then I offered to help them practice or try out their English. (fortunately I had a translator) We listened to music that I had on my n800 and the kids danced a little and laughed. Turns out they are big fans of the music style “reggaeton”. It was very fun. Later in the morning I had the opportunity to observe a high school philosophy class with the group. Good kids. We got the chance to check out how they use computers in their lessons and they in turn were proud to show off their skills. Through it all though…even part way around the world….kids are more alike than they are different.

In the end, the thing I really learned the most about is the need for and level of technology integration in today’s classroom. The region of Andalusia is a shining example of where most of us should be headed (including myself). Technology is part of everyday life now…the Spanish have taken the “bull by the horns” (an apt analogy given the art of bullfighting in Spain) and are working to move their entire society forward. The school/home connection is very strong…even with regard to technology. Hopefully, soon we can all learn from the lessons of Andalusia and find better ways to integrate technology as a tool in today’s classroom.

Pics and videos below:

My gallery from the school visit:

A Day in a School in Seville

Videos from the visit:

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