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Digital Co-Teaching

location_on Vantaa, Finland

How can technology be used to facilitate teacher teamwork?

Technological progress changes teaching. At best, digitalization makes teachers’ jobs easier. With the Digital Co-Teaching, information and communication technologies can be genuinely welcomed to assist the teacher and promote co-operation between teacher teams.

Finland 100

Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

Finland 100

2016

Established

-

Children/users

1

Countries
Target group
Teachers
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
It’s time to harness digital tools to help teachers!

About the innovation

What is it all about?

The world is increasingly technological, which is reflected in the change of teachers' work. Schools and teachers’ work environments are digitalized and the introduction of new digital equipment can sometimes complicate teachers' basic work. In this model, teachers’ work is made easier by using technology as a key tool for co-planning.

In Digital Co-Teaching, four teachers teaching the same grade plan the year together. The planning will be primarily done using cloud-based applications, which enables sharing tasks, easing workloads as well as personal planning.

The starting point for the whole model is the platform, that is modified for teachers, students and guardians. The platform includes all learning-related electronic materials as well as teacher and student evaluation tools all in one place. However, the whole learning community must have access to digital tools. 

During the following academic year, the materials can be easily exported to teachers teaching the same grades. These teachers can develop the materials even further. This is how teaching materials are improved and defined along the way.

The electronic environment also serves as a channel for communication across the whole community, where teachers and students work together. In addition, guardians can follow the learning and evaluation process through the files shared with them.

The model was first developed at Veromäki school during the 2014–2015 semester. It is part of a larger framework of ​​individual learning.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Innovativeness

Digital Co-Teaching combines modern digital tools with the on-going development of teachers’ job duties.

Impact

Teaching materials are improved through openness and better database management.

Scalability

The model can be used in various kinds of online platforms, although it requires longer commitment.

Media

Implementation steps

Assembling your teacher team
The team can consists of two teachers or more. The main agenda of the team is sharing the workload through teamwork.

The team can be assembled in different ways: you can have teachers teaching the same grades, teachers working in a similar environment, or teachers of the same subject. Everyone can strengthen team activities with their own set of skills as teamwork develops. At least one member should have good technical know-how (modifying and developing the platform).

Planning and the actual work are done physically in different places and at different times, but finding time for a regular session will improve co-operation.

At Veromäki School

At Veromäki School, the team is made up of of teachers teaching the same grade. The teachers have different skills, all contributing to teamwork . There are three class teachers and one special needs class teacher. Students are guided to co-operate with all other students from the same grades. The purpose of the team is to build a learning community for the teachers and students.

Creating your digital co-working environment
All teachers in the team have to be capable of managing the platform, which is planned and created together.

In the beginning it is good to have an open discussion for mapping out skills while planning the contents and functions of the platform. During the discussion you form an understanding of each teacher's expertise and strengths.

The teacher team chooses which cloud-based platform suits them best and agrees on the procedures. It is good to start by listing the desirable features of the platform and paying attention to convenience. Some examples of cloud-based tools are G Suite and Office 365, where you can create separate files for teachers and different subjects. This way every teacher can track the materials in real time.

An important point in choosing the right tools are the collaboration capabilities for teachers. As work progresses, you must always take into account students’ user privacy and network security. This is also emphasized in teacher-parent communication.

At Veromäki school

At Veromäki school, teachers modified the platform to suit their needs and agreed on a division of labor to develop it further.

One of the team members took more responsibility for modifying the platform and familiarized the other team members with using it. It is good to set aside enough time for this, so that all members in the team feel properly acquainted with the new working environment.

A cloud service platform (G Suite) was used for sharing content between teachers and students. By controlling privacy settings content can be shared with students and their guardians. Content is produced with G Suite tools (Drive, Classroom, Docs, Calendar, etc.). Third-party applications can be used to build additional functionality when needed.

Evaluation tools have been developed using Google Sheets. This makes students’ self-assessment easy and the teachers can access them straight away.

Teachers are not the only ones who use digital tools at Veromäki School — students benefit from different digital platforms, as well. Each student has access to a Chromebook as a personal device that can be taken home. In addition to the laptops, the students also have textbooks, exercise books and notebooks.

Resources: One machine costs around € 300, purchases are made possible partly by the reduced textbook budget.

Working methods, the content of the shared work and the division of tasks
Agreeing on working methods, the content of the shared work and the division of tasks are a continuous process and these can be modified along the way.

Responsibilities can be divided among teachers, for example by subject, whereby each teacher is responsible for the planning of a certain subject. In addition to this, different responsibilities for content production, such as newsletters, can be divided among teachers. Other shared tasks may include the development of evaluation tools and student body activities as well as planning other activities and informing about them.

At Veromäki school

Veromäki school uses a weekly work model. This means that the students receive the week's assignments at the beginning of the week and finish them mainly independently during the week. Teachers share responsibility creating assignments. The following week’s assignments need to be completed by Thursday of the previous week. All material is shared in the platform.

Teachers create learning paths tailored to suit different types of learners. The students can determine their own pace in whatever method feels most comfortable to them. Organizing the material into the paths is divided between the teachers by subject. The materials organized by the teachers are shared with the students along with weekly guides.

Each teacher is responsible for one or more subjects. Organizing the teaching material, assigning instructions and assignments to the students, and adding tasks to weekly work in each subject is done for the whole team by one teacher. Each teacher follows the progress of their students' work and learning in their class. The same method is repeated in tasks other than planning teaching whenever possible. Responsibilities are adjusted and developed as teamwork proceeds.

Continuous development of co-operation
In addition to the work and tools, pay attention to the teamwork itself.

Teamwork is a continuous activity that promotes personal professional development. Close teamwork gives you a great opportunity to learn from your colleagues.

At Veromäki School

Veromäki School aims to utilize all possible co-planning time for the development of teamwork. The teacher team holds a brief, weekly morning meeting before the start of the school day. The meeting is used for planning, making updates and changes in dividing tasks.

Google Hangouts has been used for communication.

Transfer of knowledge and materials
At the end of the academic year, it is good to “polish up” the material and transfer it to the teachers teaching the same grades in the following academic year.

It is a good idea to share information with the teachers about the implementation of teaching, for example at a joint meeting at the beginning of the academic year.

Interested?
If you are interested in the model, contact Veromäki School teachers’ team!

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