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School-in-Focus: Escola Profissional de Almada

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Tell us a little about your school.

Escola Profissional de Almada is a Vocational Educational Training School situated in the Lisbon area in Portugal. To our school, we receive students from a variety of profiles, though mostly boys. We believe in a continuum analysis and search for evolution in teaching methods and technologies.

From 2010 to 2012 we were part of the TL+Q project with innovations like Geocaching in Education, Interactive Whiteboards, Simulations and the use of the Moodle platform as a tool for the teaching and learning process.

In 2014, Project Based Learning was introduced in our Civics classes along with the Junior Achievement Portugal Contest. We also changed the methodology to Inquiry-Based Science Education in our Physics and Chemistry classes, through the Go-Lab project. In the Go-Lab project, we were considered the best school with the most active users (students) and the school with the highest number of created and shared Inquiry Learning Scenarios. In 2016, we opened our “Laboratório de Inovação e Aprendizagem” (Innovation and Learning Laboratory), inspired by The Future Classroom Lab movement (by European Schoolnet), with a group of twelve teachers. In that year we were invited to be part of the Co-Lab project to share our experience. In July 2017, we here invited to share our experience at the Portuguese “Projeto de Autonomia e Flexibilidade Curricular” (Curricular Autonomy and Flexibility Project) meeting.

And in 2017, we became one of the pilot schools working under the Curricular Autonomy and Flexibility Project. We received the STEM School Label (by European Schoolnet) and we also became a pilot school in the "Open Schools for Open Societies" project.

Why do you want to be a HundrED School?

We don’t want to stop our evolution. We believe in sharing as a vehicle for a faster evolution of all and that knowledge should be free. We want to be a HundrED School because we identify ourselves with the HundrED principle that “the purpose of education is to help every child flourish in life, no matter what happens”. We feel that education is not changing at the rate that society is changing and we believe that together we can make that change grow faster.

What innovative things are happening in your school?

We are working on using Project Based Learning and Inquiry-Based Learning methodologies on 21st Century Learning Competencies and Skills.

Innovation 1
Our school and classes don’t have boundaries: the students work on the same projects in Civics, English Language, Information and Communication Technology, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and Portuguese Language classes. Our students work on real daily life problems in Cacilhas, finding problems, working in the field, talking with people, searching for solutions, identifying stakeholders and proposing solutions. Students also create the evaluation rubrics for their own work and final products.

Innovation 2
We have gamified our classes with Classcraft and share soft skills evaluation among teachers. Students now play/work together in groups and each one has a different hero with different powers, having to collaborate and help each other along the way.

Innovation 3
Students build Remote Controlled Airplanes and Remote Operated Underwater Vehicles and use sensors to study air quality, the city lake and the Tagus river water quality. In their works, students use Science, Electronics, CAD design, Handicraft, Portuguese Language, English Language and Vocational Skills for the Airplanes and ROVs construction and missions.

Innovation 4
Our 9th-grade students created mobile applications and games using MIT Inventor. Examples include Sons dos Animais, SistemaSolar, etc. 

Innovation 5
Our 9th-grade students program mBot robots and Airblock drones for different scenarios/histories.

Innovation 6
LIA - Laboratório de Inovação e Aprendizagem, inspired by Future Classroom Lab. A place that was created so that every teacher and student could use new technologies in a future like a classroom environment and where the access to knowledge was made easier by the different types of tools available: computers, netbooks, tablets, cameras, etc.

Innovation 7
Raspberry Pi classroom - an IT classroom equipped with 20 Raspberry Pi computers where students have classes, learn to program using Scratch, Python, etc. and develop different projects related to programming.

Innovation 8
The use of social media for evaluation. Students use Twitter and Instagram to show the evolution of their work. With the help of hashtags, teachers can follow the works and evaluate.

Innovation 9
Students from 9th grade teach 12th grade students and teachers how to program and make mobile applications.

What kind of innovations are you looking for?

All kind of innovations. We are here to share experiences, to be inspired by other projects, to work in order to improve our teaching methodologies and to make our students fulfilled adults and professionals, prepared for the 21st Century Challenges.

Three HundrED innovations you love and why?

It’s very hard to choose only three innovations, but we can choose:
- Global Learning
- Initiative for Peace
- Universe Awareness

We chose these three because we believe these projects create awareness and respect for others, promoting world knowledge and world peace.


Shared by César Marques (cesarmarques@epalmada.pt), the Physics/Chemistry Teacher and Project Coordinator for Escola Profissional de Almada. 

More about the school: http://www.epalmada.pt/