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Vega

location_on Gurugram, India

Want to revolutionise school learning through culture and design?

A school thoughtfully designed to facilitate project-based learning, with a school culture centred on flat leadership, collaboration and international sharing.

HundrED 2018
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Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2018

2015

Established

-

Children/users

1

Countries
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
We started Vega not to impact education in India, but to change the world. We truly believe that if we can dream it, we can achieve it.
Dr Steve Edwards, Co-Founder, Vega Schools

About the innovation

What is Vega?

Vega Schools are uniquely designed schools in India that, at the core, use project-based learning (PBL) as the foundational learning methodology. The architecture of Vega Schools was deliberately designed to support and promote PBL. There are no traditional classrooms. Rather, teachers utilise many different open and versatile learning configurations. Each grade level consists of spacious, flexible learning spaces that are designed to inspire and facilitate different activities, group interaction, and collaboration. The open layout of the learning areas allows for frequent movement, rather than forcing students to be confined to a desk. Children also have the freedom to interact in mixed age groups. A key school philosophy is that when learners have the freedom to pursue personal interests, behavior and attitude towards learning are intrinsically motivated and more positive.

At Vega, educators are referred to as learning leaders rather than teachers. They are tasked with facilitating learning experiences and allowing learning to happen in a more organic way. Learning leaders at Vega receive ongoing, in-depth, and hands-on training in applying PBL techniques and strategies with an inquiry approach.

Learning leaders introduce a new project each quarter, typically building from smaller projects to a larger one that culminates in an exhibition. They carefully create learning experiences and opportunities that allow children to shine in different ways. Projects are hands-on, service-oriented, and benefit the wider community. PBL starts with the youngest children who engage in real world problems that are often local and spontaneous, rather than fixed. For example, when the school’s air conditioning system failed, the learning leaders used this as an opportunity for students to understand heating and cooling systems, examine air quality and pollution, and build their own air conditioning unit. In this way, ordinary events are used to stimulate new, rich learning experiences for the children. 

In addition to quarterly PBL exhibitions, student further share and reflect on their learning through Student Led Conferences (SLCs). Each quarter, parents are invited to the school to take part in an SLC. Children share specific examples and artifacts of their learning and explain how they are applying their learning in new and different situations. During the SLC, parents are encouraged to ask questions and join in on a conversation with their child about teaching and learning. In this way, Vega moves away from the traditional academic approach of focusing solely on a final grade, and instead teaches parents and students alike to talk about the many varied learning experiences and opportunities that shape a young mind.

The Vega culture promotes continuous learning for all, and values input and contributions from the entire learning community, including non-certified staff such as janitors and cooks. Vega accomplishes this by applying a democratic process to all decision making.  Although this model takes more time, in the long run it contributes to greater ownership and investment in the school by all stakeholders. A collaborative and distributive leadership model means that responsibility is distributed between and among staff members in a non-hierarchical manner. To promote this philosophy and practice, offices for staff at Vega do not exist. Staff members are encouraged to utilise whatever space best fits their needs at any particular time. Team and staff meetings are organised using a PBL and inquiry approach, in order to model and reinforce behaviors, strategies and techniques that can be used with students. Learning leaders discover new ways to think about teaching and learning because there is a freedom to express, challenge and debate. A supportive culture means that faculty, staff and learners are encouraged to innovate and try new things, free from fear of failure.

Vega Schools continually challenge themselves to improve from a global perspective by being part of the Global Schools’ Alliance, a partnership of progressive schools around the world.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Innovativeness

Vega is a global ecosystem of learning and sharing from the beginning as a fully project-based school. Vega is inspirational and encourages dynamic interaction with people around the world.

Impact

Vega has asked students if they happy at school, feel socially included, like their leaders, and love of learning. 90% of children said yes in an initial survey, with that number growing to 98% after a second survey. Student and staff voice is at the centre of Vega.

Scalability

The school is a open source, hosting visitors from around the world as well as within India. The goal is to play a part in revolutionizing education by spreading Vega on a global scale.

Steps

Is PBL a good fit?

First and foremost, it is crucial to have an open dialogue about the PBL methodology.

Engaging the whole school team in a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) is a good way to determine if PBL is the right fit. It is also important to ensure that initiative is consistent with the organisation’s core values, mission and vision.

See PBL in action

Visit other schools currently using PBL and meet with faculty, students and parents to learn about their experiences.

Seeing PBL in action and talking with other educators that have adopted PBL as a school-wide learning model will provide great insight on what PBL looks like in practice. Learning from the successes and challenges of others will help prevent unexpected pitfalls.

Securing the services of an outside expert will provide a bridge until an in-house team can be assembled. An outside expert should focus on mentoring and coaching a team, observing early implementation, and providing feedback for continued growth and development.

Identify early adopters

In every school, there are individuals and groups that are willing to try new things. When meeting with the faculty, offer the opportunity to those who would be interested in exploring PBL further.

Select one individual to act as the facilitator for the group. Let the group identify, design and implement a pilot project. Taking risks and experimenting is all part of the PBL journey. It is likely that a portion of teachers at the school will have engaged their students in a project at some point.

Throughout the pilot project, the team must regularly update the rest of the faculty, encourage others to see what is happening, and participate in ongoing open and frank discussions.

It is also important to determine beforehand what the team will use as their evaluation metrics. Determining clear, specific and measurable outcomes during the planning stages will help in analysing the impact of this learning methodology.

Reflect, assess, modify and expand

Reflection is an essential element of PBL and for all learning.

Measuring the pilot project against the evaluation metrics will allow for an objective assessment of success and challenges. Based on both qualitative and quantitative feedback, necessary modifications can be made. This is a continuous cycle that must be repeated over and over again at various points of implementation.

At this juncture, administration will need to decide whether or not to continue with the initial team and design a new project, or to expand and engage another teams of teachers to broaden the depth and scope of PBL in the school.

Continuous training

To succeed with project based learning, continuous education of leaders is needed.

To maximize the opportunity for successful implementation and sustainability, as well as continued growth and development, systematic and ongoing training is essential. Ideally the training will include multiple components:

1) Find and partner with a “sister school” that has been doing PBL successfully.

2) Use an outside expert to conduct ongoing training and provide feedback.

3) Be proactive and continue examining current research and articles on the topic.

4) Build a set of internal trainers who can work with other teachers in a coaching or mentoring capacity.

Spread of the innovation

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