Note: This post is written in English (instead of Norwegian) as it adresses a European expert meeting in education known as the EMINENT conference.
This week (15-17 November) the annual EMINENT conference took place in Brussel. EMINENT is organized by the European Schoolnet and is “…an expert meeting in education networking bringing stakeholders from across Europe together to discuss the next challenges and potential solutions to ensure an innovative education for all”.
Important keywords for the conference this year was learning spaces, time and eco-systems, and EMINENT 2017 brought key actors from across Europe to contribute to the relevant discussions. This included four of our Nordahl Grieg students at the Green Innovation Line. In a live streaming event Thursday around noon, Henrik, Maria, Andrea and Mathias spent 10 minutes in their Technology and Research lab at Nordahl Grieg upper secondary school (NGV), explaining for the European education stakeholders what matters when it comes to learning space, time and eco-systems. This Norwegian learning lab was joined by students from Austria, Estonia and Spain, giving the youths an important voice during EMINENT 2017.
Our students in their learning lab at NGV
The same students via projector screen on stage in Brussel
As an introduction to these student presentations, this short movie about the Green Innovation Studies at NGV was shown to the audience (courtesy of Sara Kolsrud Ellingsen).
Then the floor was given to the students, and Maria started the show, explaining in more details what the Green Innovation Studies at NGV really means:
“In Green Innovation studies, the learning is project based, which means we try to learn the curriculum through cooperation and projects. Students doing physics and information technology, work closely together with students doing marketing & leadership, and entrepreneurship & corporate development. All students meet in technology and science class, in this lab. Interdisciplinary is the key to everything in these studies. Everything has a “green” profile, and we work with a focus on a greener future. In our projects we always try to come up with sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions“.
Also, Maria mentioned some of our partners: “We have been cooperating with a lot of businesses and organisations here in Bergen, like Impact Hub, Innovation Norway, the University of Bergen and VilVite“.
Students at the Green Innovation Line visiting the science centre VilVite
Then it was Henriks turn, focusing on the many learning spaces:
“In Green Innovation studies we have multiple learning spaces, not just our technology and research lab. Our learning spaces depends on the projects we are working with – we choose our learning spaces based on our needs. Nowadays we have an ongoing project where we are making an electronic product or device. For this type of project we need the lab and what comes with the lab, the 3D printers, laser cutter etc. During other projects we use different learning spaces like our city center, different companies and institutions whom our studies are cooperating with. We work in the most relevant surroundings during our many projects, where the learning environment is facilitated for our studies”.
The “Green Innovation” way of working compared to more traditional work was adressed by Andrea:”
“The fact that we use spaces and facilities that are located outside of our school for learning purposes, makes the experience within the subject that much more real. We grow more personally attached to the things we learn about, and it is so much easier to get motivated or inspired if you’re out learning in the field, instead of sitting behind a desk working on papers. We strongly believe that this is in fact the best way to learn new things, and we’re all really happy with our decision to choose Green Innovation”.
Students at the Green Innovation Line meeting and discussing climate science with experts from the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research
“In our classes, the four of us are much more active and participative than we would have been in regular classes, and we think this is because we have a combination of very good teachers, and a lot of “field-work”. We are certain that this combination makes us go deeper into the subjects we are learning about, which results in the fact that we learn much more, both in a fun and practical way“.
Also, Andrea pointed out important differences between Nordahl Grieg upper secondary school and other more traditional Norwegian schools:
“For starters, we try to use our computers as much as we can in every subject, so we hardly use any books. This use of technology in class, is something that the four of us have never really experienced before, but now that we have gotten used to it, we wouldn’t be without. We all know that technology plays such a big part in all of our lives, and it evolves every day. We can proudly say that our school is one of the few who tries to keep up with it, and we all personally think that this way of working and learning online, is a process we will be lucky to bring into business later in life. But technology and Green Innovation are not the only things that make Nordahl Grieg Vgs stand out from the rest of the schools. The school building itself is designed to give us students the best learning experience possible. All of our classrooms are separated only with glass walls, which makes our school open and including. We think our school itself represents our vision – “daring minds in interaction”.
Finally, Mathias provided the following summary to the European education stakeholders:
“So you may already have understood our opinions by how passionately we have talked about Green Innovation, and by how much we have focused our presentation on the study and it’s connection to learning spaces. The four of us are quite ecstatic about our choice of subjects in high school. After thinking about why we chose these topics in school we came to the conclusion that we liked having a diverse school day and having classes in new places and in new ways, (like when we have worked at different companies), has made this year more interesting. One of the real benefits of this is that we want to work instead of “having to” work. To prove this, last week we were told we were having a planing day and that we weren’t having marketing class. All the 14 students in class were disappointed that we were getting a day off :).
The other big reason we chose this study is because in the future worklife we will have to work interdisciplinary, since our coworkers will have other prerequisites and education. In big companies you have people working in economics, most likely IT, someone in the leadership, PR and more.
To make the world a better and greener place we need innovation, green innovation. Just exactly one month ago our school was selected by Ashoka, (the world’s largest organization for social entrepreneurship and changemaking), into Ashoka’s global network of innovative schools“.
After their talk, our four Green Innovation Students received much praise on twitter for their great performance, and below follow some of the many tweets from the EMINENT 2017 conference that day: