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VerDi

location_on Kuopio, Finland

A peer learning model for digital skills

This innovation helps teachers and students learn digital skills utilizing methods from peer learning. Newly trained students teach younger students and thus skills are systematically passed down from grade to another. New aspect was to start to write mathematics electrically by using L'Math-editor in primary school.

Finland 100

Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

Finland 100

2016

Established

-

Children/users

1

Countries
Organisation
For-profit
Updated
November 22nd, 2022

About the innovation

What is it all about?

The fast-paced digitalization of society challenges schools to keep up with the change. Training opportunities for teachers and available resources within a school community may be very limited, even if society requires teachers to be able to teach students modern technological know-how.

It is, however, possible to teach and to receive training in digital skills in everyday school life, within the school community. The existing resources – electronic devices and the digital skills of teachers and students – should be identified and their use organized efficiently.

VerDi (Finnish acronym for Peer Learning in Digital Skills) is an operating model for teachers to collaborate in teaching, learning and introducing digital skills.

The VerDi model engages teachers and students in peer learning to boost digital skills. Children and adolescents use technology in inventive ways. This model allows the whole school to benefit from their skills. Teachers receive regular ICT-training at their school and in-depth learning of ICT-skills takes place in a pedagogically meaningful way as a part of everyday school life.

In practice, the school’s teachers receive expert knowledge and practice new digital skills in school training seminars. After this, teachers pass down the skills to the students in the highest grade. The older students teach the younger students until every grade-level has sufficient digital skills.

Learning these skills and the hours spent on them are tied to a pedagogically useful learning unit, and not practiced separately. Learning is thus implemented in a systematic and coherent way, in which each student is offered the opportunity to use ICT for meaningful learning with peers. The students’ positive perception of themselves as learners and information providers is emphasized through sharing and responsibility.

In Kuopio Pyörö school, the VerDi model has been implemented extensively. With the VerDi model, the school has taken a great leap forward in digital skills. By sharing responsibility across the whole school, anxiety over accomplishing the digital leap has clearly diminished.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Innovativeness

The model improves the skills of both teachers and students that, in turn, benefit the whole school.

Impact

Technology becomes a pedagogically meaningful part of teaching. The use of electronic devices and software also highlights collaborative skills.

Scalability

The VerDi model can be used in various work communities and multidisciplinary modules.

Media

Steps

Getting to know your local ICT curriculum
Learn about the content and goals of your local ICT curriculum. If it doesn’t exist yet, you can design one for your school with the teachers interested.
Choosing an ICT tutor
One or more teachers can be allocated hours for acting as ICT tutors and teaching other staff the necessary ICT skills.

If the municipality or school office has ICT staff, you could also appoint one of them as an ICT tutor. For example, in the City of Kuopio, the ICT tutors design the ICT plan at the City’s Education Department and work as peer and co-teachers in schools. They all have assigned schools they regularly visit.

Designing teaching content
Build suitable content together with your tutor and teaching staff, which you will go through systematically one step at a time using the VerDi model.

Persons familiar with the ICT curriculum plan together which subjects are studied during the VerDi lessons and how it will be implemented within the school. The plan should illustrate the multidisciplinary modules connected to the subjects as well as the timetable.

Designing peer learning implementation
Agree on how to implement peer learning.

Depending on the size of your school, peer learning can be arranged in different ways. It is essential that teachers familiarize the oldest grade level students and they in turn teach younger ones. Students in the same grade can also tech each other. While planning, you must ensure that VerDi lessons between grade levels suit both learning objectives.

Agree in the teachers’ meeting which classes would benefit from VerDi collaboration.

The VerDi lessons can be held in your own classrooms, for example, using iPads or robots, but your VerDi lesson may also require a computer lab.

Teachers’ training and practising themes
Practise the chosen ICT themes under the direction of your ICT tutor.

Teachers participating can be either highest grade teachers or teachers interested and enthusiastic about ICT skills. Teachers participating in training will teach the highest grade levels of the school after learning. This is why participation of teachers of these grade levels in the training can be practical in terms of arrangements.

Lessons for the teachers held by the ICT tutors are implemented by doing practical exercises in the chosen ICT themes. Ensure the competence of all teachers in selected themes.

Download the instructions to your school’s VerDi site, to which you can return to, if necessary. For example, O365 or G Suite works well for this purpose.

An example of a skill, which every teacher involved acquires, could be the use of an image editing program.

Teaching students
A trained teacher will teach the subject to their class as soon as possible after training.

The teacher teaches the theme to their students (for example, for ages 11–12) and tells them that they will teach the subject to the next students (for example for ages 10–11).

At Pyörö School:

A sixth grade teacher taught their class what they had learned about scanning Edison robots. The students tested different functions and took notes. They were also told that they would be teaching the use of Edison robots to a fifth grade VerDi class.

Arranging time together and a place for the VerDi lessons
A teacher who has completed VerDi training makes an appointment for their own class and the class they are collaborating with.

During this lesson, the teacher's own students teach the subject to the other students in accordance with the school's own VerDi implementation model.

This is repeated until you reach the youngest grade level.

Spread of the innovation

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