Learning Stories and Activities

Learning Stories are example narratives showing how a collection of Learning Activities would feel like when taken into the classroom. Learning Activities in turn are descriptions of various activities that can be used in teaching and learning.

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iTEC cycle 4 activities


Dream – You present a design brief to your class that ties to the curriculum and the local community, but leaves room for interpretation. You inspire the students by providing them with the motivation for giving their best and by telling them about the ownership and freedom over the task. You present the learning activities process and your schedule, and negotiate the assessment criteria with the class. Students form teams, discuss, question and familiarize themselves with the design brief. The teams refine their design brief, particularly in relation to whom they are designing for, initial design challenges and possible design results. Students record reflections and document their work online. Classroom time: Approximately 1 lesson Continue reading


Explore – Student teams explore the context of their design either by observing relevant practices or environments using digital cameras, notebooks and microphones, or by searching existing works that relate to their design brief by collecting examples similar to that which they are intending to design. The object of observation depends on who they are designing for, what they are designing and the initial challenges they want to address. They share their collected media files on their blogs and record a reflection. You guide their search and support them in the qualification of their material. Note that viewing and qualifying video material can be time consuming. Spending time viewing videos that contain inaccurate information, can be a detour from which a pedagogically meaningful conversation may arise, and may provide students with a first-hand experience about the appearance of an invalid source. Some students, for example younger ones, may need more guidance in performing this activity. Classroom time: Approximately 1-2 lesson(s) Continue reading


Map – Teams analyse their findings using mind-mapping techniques. They identify relations, similarities and differences between the examples and/or media files they collected. Based on their collected information and analysis, the teams refine their design brief, especially the design challenges, design results and audience. Then the teams record a reflection. Open ended questions can be challenging for students to answer initially. However, after passing the initial threshold, students are likely to have inspiring ideas. Classroom time: Approximately 1 lesson Continue reading


Reflect – Students and the teacher record, post and share audio-visual reflections and feedback of project progress, challenges and future steps. The students slowly build a shared collection of ways to tackle challenges, which can be used after the project ended. Classroom time: Approximately 10 minutes Continue reading


Make – Based on their refined design brief and design ideas, student teams start making. They create their first prototype, and discuss it afterwards. The discussion especially relates to how well the design address the identified design challenges. They then record a reflection and document their activities. Careful guidance through the learning activities and the process of creation is indispensable for students to keep their minds on learning potential curricular requirements. Highlight the reflection after this activity and ensure that everyone focuses on addressing the needs of an audience. To avoid free-riders or unequal workload division, carefully divide tasks and roles within teams. Classroom time: Approximately 2 lesson(s) Continue reading


Ask – Teams meet with 2–4 people, who could be future users of the prototypes, and communicate their prototypes and design ideas using prints, drawings or models. These participating people are considered to have an expert understanding of the domain the student designs are framed within. Expertise may be interpreted broadly, for example, a construction site worker can be considered to offer deep insight into the everyday practices of people on a building site. The expert participants are encouraged to use pens and post-it notes to modify and comment on the prototype. After the workshop the students analyze the comments and decide how to interpret them for their re-design. They then refine their design brief, especially in relation to the design challenges, context and added value of the result, record a reflection and update their documentation. This activity can happen more than once at varying time investment. Students can collect feedback on their work by asking experts, potential future users as well as from other student teams and the teacher. Classroom time: Approximately 2-3 lesson(s) Continue reading


Show – Students create a video with English subtitles presenting their design results and process, as well as learning achievements and possible future steps. They share this documentation with other iTEC students across Europe, their parents and their identified audience to transfer their learning, to communicate the background of their project, to let others know about the possibility to remix their work, and to receive feedback for improvement. Classroom time: Approximately 1-2 lesson(s) Continue reading


Collaborate – Students collaborate with students from other iTEC schools. Ad-hoc and serendipitous collaboration, driven by the students is encouraged. Classroom time needed: 1 lesson(s) Continue reading

iTEC cycle 3 activities


Design brief – You present an initial design brief to the students that ties the design tasks to the curriculum topics, but leaves some aspects open for refinement. During this lesson, you also provide the students with the motivation for and explain the responsibility they will carry for being involved. Students form teams, discuss, question and familiarize themselves with the brief. They refine their design brief context, particularly in relation of who/what they are designing for, initial design challenges and possible design results. Students record a reflection, set up a blog for their documentation, and start their documentation. Classroom time needed: 1 lesson Continue reading


Contextual Inquiry: Observation – Based on their design brief, students identify who and what to observe to inform their design result, for example practices or environments of particular people or animals. Their choice depends on who they are designing for, what they are designing and the initial challenges they want to address. Student teams perform their planned observation by using digital cameras, notebooks and microphones to document what they see. They share their collected media files and analyze them. Based on their collected information and analysis, the students refine their design brief, especially the design challenges and design results. They then record a reflection and update their blog. Classroom time needed: 1-3 lesson(s) Continue reading


Contextual Inquiry: Benchmarking – Based on their design brief, students identify what kind of examples of existing works to collect. Their choice depends on who they are designing for, what they are designing and the initial challenges they want to address. Student teams collect 10 examples of the kind of artifact that is similar to the one they are trying to design. They share their collected media files and analyze the differences and similarities of the example works they collected. Based on their collected information and analysis, the students refine their design brief, especially the design challenges and design results. They then record a reflection and update their blog. Classroom time needed: 1-2 lesson(s) Continue reading


Product Design – Based on their Design Brief 2 and their initial design ideas, students create their first prototype design. The students discuss their prototype and refine their design brief, especially in relation to the design result and the way the result addresses the identified design challenges. They then record a reflection and update their blog. Classroom time needed: 1-2 lesson(s) Continue reading


Participatory Design Workshop – The students teams meet with 3 - 4 people, whom they consider to be the future users of their design and perform a Participatory Design Workshop. The students use their prototype and Design Brief 3 to communicate their design ideas to a group of people they are designing for. This may involve prints of their prototype, drawings or models, pens and post-it notes that the participants can use to draw on and modify the prototype. After the workshop the students analyze the comments of the people and decide which ones to consider for their design. They then refine their design brief, especially in relation to the design challenges, context and added value of the result, record a reflection and update their blog. Classroom time needed: 1-2 lesson(s) Continue reading


Final Product Design – Based on Design Brief 4 and the analysis of the Participatory Design Workshop, the student teams create their final design prototype. The teams listen to all of their reflection recordings once more to update the challenges they encountered during each design activity workshop and to reflect on the strategies they used to overcome these challenges. The students finalize their documentation blog, and may present their final works to the entire class. Classroom time needed: 1-2 lesson(s) Continue reading


Reflection – The students record, post and share periodic audio updates about their project progression, perceived challenges, changes to the design brief and future plans. The students slowly build a database of learning strategies that is shared with the entire class. The audio recordings and the design brief can be used as a media to prompt reflection, and objects that should be more closely refined after each reflection. Classroom time: at least 15 minutes after each design phase Continue reading

iTEC cycle 2 activities


Ad-hoc collaboration – Your students collaborate with individual students or teams of students from other iTEC schools. The subject area, age group, language and country may be the same or different than your own. Collaboration is driven by the students, and only guided by the teacher. Ad-hoc and serendipitous collaboration is encouraged. Do not instruct your students to contact students they already know in other schools. Continue reading


Learning oriented browsing – Developing 21st century skills includes building the ability to use the internet in a focused way to find relevant information from meaningful sources. In this activity, the students use the internet in a structured way to collect information about a specific topic, and to locate online learning resources that they can be critically used in their inquiry. Continue reading


Reflection – Your students record, post and share periodic short updates about their work progress, perceived challenges, and future plans so you and other students can follow their progress. Recording short audio or video updates of their learning experience allows students to practice presentation and speaking skills, reflection, and planning. The recordings help them to quickly resume working in upcoming sessions. You can follow all student activities by investing a small amount of time after each reflection activity. Continue reading


Peer feedback – Good quality peer feedback is a merit to the student providing the feedback, as well as those receiving it. Students view each others’ work and provide feedback, praise, and criticism. Peer feedback can be used for project outcomes, or as an iterative activity during the pilot. Continue reading


Information grouping – Students write their findings, the information and the data they collected on pieces of paper and post-it notes, and visually group them. This is a professional method used to analyze collected information and data, and to identify relationships between findings. Continue reading


Prepare results – Students document their overall learning outcome, summarise the comments and explain possible future steps, in an audiovisual or other multimedia piece. Students share their work with others to transfer their learning, to communicate the background of their project, to let others know about the possibility to remix their work, and to receive feedback for improvement. This includes work in progress and final outcome. Continue reading

iTEC cycle 1 activities


Collecting data outside of school – Students go outside of school to collect data. The data can either be in the form of multimedia or scientific observations. Either the entire class goes outside, or only some of the students. Continue reading


Mental notes about learners – You record mental notes about learners. These notes are based on your observations of their working habits, personality traits, social connections, hobbies, and special skills. The mental notes aid in forming functional teams and also support your interactions with your students. You use the TeamUP tool to record your notes. Continue reading


Peerfeedback – Learners view each other’s work and provide feedback, praise, and criticism. Peer feedback can be used when students present their project outcomes, but it can also be used as part of a knowledge building activity, when students are discussing about a challenging topic. Continue reading


Team newsflashes – Independently working individual learners or teams of learners post periodic status updates for other learners and you to be able to follow the independent activities and progress. Continue reading


Teamwork – You divide the class into small teams of 4-5 learners that are optimal for collaboration. Each team has their own topic of inquiry that is related to the theme of the course. You let the learners suggest topics they are interested in and use the TeamUP tool to match learners and topics, using information stored in mental notes. Continue reading


Working with outside experts – Students receive additional and/or deeper knowledge from an out-of-school expert of a relevant field. In addition to a video interview, the expert may be involved in following teamwork and commenting on it. Continue reading

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