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Study trip to Iceland

 

Scratch er Æðislegt!” – or “Scratch is fun!” we learnt our first Icelandic sentence in the frame of our recent experience sharing project. Here is our report! 🙂

 

Before we set foot on Iceland, Eyþór, Vala és Guðrún had traveled to Budapest, directly from Iceland.They participated in the project on behalf of Kóder, a non-profit organization working on the programming education of Icelandic youth and Tækniskólin, the largest vocational school in Iceland providing IT education.  We have not just talked a lot about how Skool works, what a workshop look like and who takes part in our programs, but they could also experience all these by participating in the very first Skool workshop of 2018.

 

After our partners’ visit to Budapest we traveled to Iceland to discover what a Koder workshop look like, to share experience and take inspiration.

 

01.02 Thursday – Welcome to Iceland!

 

Arrival to Iceland around 3pm. Eyþór és Vala received us, then we went to the headquarter of Kóder in a community office where we learnt a lot about Kóder’s operation, goals and programs.

Kóder also works to increase women’s interest and participation in the technology sector. Besides this, Kóder’s goal is also to promote equality by shrinking the barriers to technical knowledge and to increase opportunities for all youngsters in Iceland to access good quality programming education. In order to achieve this, Kóder cooperates with plenty libraries around the country, where they organize various tech workshops for kids.

 

02.02. Friday – Socks and cap in the school

 

The second day started at a local school, where we made a very important discovery: majority of the kids were running around wearing socks and cap in the school. 🙂 After this immediate discovery there were many other things to see and learn: we visited how children aged 10 to 11 are introduced to programing at Kóder’s course thought in the school. In Iceland, programing education is not part of the curriculum. This school, in cooperation with Kóder, tries to bring programing education to the classes. We also learnt about the school’s “genius club” program. The main idea behind this program is to promote and facilitate the use of various technological / ICT tools in the education of different subjects by building on the peer-to-peer learning methodology.  One student – either the most advanced or the most creative / active – is delegated to the club by the teachers. Then, in the first phase, the teacher works with this group of children: she gives separate “lessons” to the kids, where they often work on projects and use a wide range of ICT tools (bee-bot or various applications for instance). In the second phase, the kids will teach their peers about what they have learnt, with the supervision and attention of the teachers. Thus, in the end all kids are involved in the program.

 

03.02. Saturday – Intelligent gatekeeper, 3D printed heart and computer assembling

We spent most of our Saturday at UT Messan, the largest tech fair of Iceland. A great number of companies, schools and libraries exhibited their interactive boosts, while Kóder was also present. We talked with the medicine student, who presented us a 3D printed heart for instance and told us that based on various medical records, a patient’s heart was printed and thanks to this 3D model they were able to detect a previously unrecognized disorder so that the doctors could carry out life-saving surgery. Besides this, we also saw a robotic gatekeeper with sensors and 99,8% performance. And we met a university student girls founded organization which promotes the field of IT among girls in Iceland.

 

05.02. Monday – Revolution in Libraries

In Iceland – as in many other Nordic countries – they talk about the revolution of libraries. Their goal is to become community spaces providing both opportunity for innovative experimenting and accessibility to technological tools to the wider public. This is why many of the libraries cooperate with Kóder across the country: they organize various coding workshops for children together.

 

Importance of peer learning

One of the most important lessons from the study trip to Iceland is the conscious and emphasized use of peer-to-peer learning. Besides the practice of “genius club” in the school, we could discover it many times: at Kóder’s workshops kids are encouraged to look for help among themselves first, and if they are done, they are told to look around and help the others if they need. Mentors are rather like supportive “old brothers and sisters” to the kids.

 

This is very well in line with our endeavour to organize more programs to Skool-girls where they can grow and be inspired from each other’s experiences.

 

Thanks for the support of EEA and Norway grants!

The study trips were organized in frame of the “Teaching Young Women in Tech – Hungarian-Icelandic Cooperation” project supported by the EEA and Norway Grants.

 

Photos