Every school in Hordaland County, in Norway, supplies all secondary school students with their own personal computer, but one school has gone a step further in introducing technology into the classroom.
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More than 450,000 people live in Hordaland, a county which consists of 33 municipalities in south-western Norway.
According to Kjetil Brathetland, special advisor in Hordaland, the county wanted a pilot school to test how technology could be used to change methods in learning.
Nordahl Grieg Upper Secondary School, Bergen
The school chosen was Nordahl Grieg Upper Secondary School in Bergen. In Hordaland county, lies the city of Bergen a major port city with large fishing, shipping and oil industries and home to 271,000 people.
Nordahl Grieg was inaugurated in 2010 with the theme of “transparency” which the school exercises through internal communication, but also literally with the majority of the school being constructed of glass.
Lin Holvik, headmaster at Nordahl Grieg, says the idea was to create an environment that is transparent and open.
According to Holvik, the building was planned to fit in with the school’s digital technology strategy: “Glass walls, stairs, electrical outlets, wireless networks, stages, large and small rooms, traditional and digital resources, books and social media.”
Erlend Gjerdevik Sørtvelt, who is in his third and final year at the school, drew attention to the hot topic of including gaming in education: “Why would someone want to include gaming in education? One word – visualisation.”
He explained that digital tools are used to visual what we cannot. For example, he dropped dice to the floor and said he would like to know what the dice would look like if it fell at 1% less its speed. This could only be achieved through technology and visualisation.
“Visualisation makes the subject more interesting, so I find physics more fun,” he says.
The school, which has the motto of “Bold minds in harmonious interaction”, has a focus on using Facebook and blogs for communication and cooperation. Second-year student, Lotte Haug says she chose Nordahl Grieg because of its focus on digital tools and social media.
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Margreta Tveisme, head of ICT and research contacts, at Nordahl Grieg says students must be capable of handling today’s media, coping with rapid change and used to being part of several networks: “I want our students to be brave and proud and go out and change the world,” she says.
Christine Akerø and Mariell Osksnes, both second year students studying media and communications, say social media is a major focus at the school with many students using Facebook and hosting their own shared photo blogs.
Civilisation IV – Gaming as a learning tool
Teachers at the school, Aleksander Husøy and Vegard Relling believe that gaming should be used in schools in the same way that novels, music and movies are.
The teachers are piloting a cross-curricular project which brings together social science, English and Norwegian through a game called Civilisation IV.
Lotte Haug explained that the goal of the game is to become the greatest civilisation in world. This is achieved through both diplomatic and military force to take over other territories. The game shows the student the positive and negative consequences of each decision made.