Last week (21-22 Nov 2018), the 3rd LEA consortium meeting took place in the beautiful and historic city of Braga in Portugal. The event was hosted by the Municipality of Braga, one of the LEA partners, and took place in a location with a very interesting history – the GNRtion building, former home to the Portuguese National Republican Guard, now used for art exhibitions and community events. Ricardo Rio, the mayor of Braga, paid a visit to welcome the project consortium and present his city.
The LEA partners gathered to discuss project events and developments and looked back at the last few months of project work since the previous meeting in June in Sweden.
One of the main tasks completed in LEA since the summer was an international needs analysis which took a look at schools in Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Around 1300 answers to the needs analysis questionnaire were received from schools across these countries. The results were presented and discussed in the consortium meeting. Among the top priorities, the needs analysis found that schools want to motivate students to reach educational goals, save teachers’ time, and have access to easy to use technology tools. Partners also discussed the concept and outcome of LEA school labs, where the needs analysis was completed in a classroom setting.
Another essential topic on the meeting agenda was the preparation of a PPI proposal for an upcoming COSME call that LEA procurers, together with several expert support partners, are currently working on. The “PLEASE PPI” will trigger an innovative purchase process of smart, intuitive, intelligent and easy to use K12 Personal Learning Environments (PLEs), initiated by several procurers of education in Europe. The buyers group will be supported by a Joint PPI support office (legal and technical expertise) and additionally, a PPI support office for suppliers (focus on SMEs and start-ups) will be opened in order to raise awareness and understanding of PPI as a dynamic tool for growth and development.
Visit to Escola do Ponte
To round off the partner meeting, a school visit was organised by the hosts. Partners were able to see the renowned Escola do Ponte on a tour guided by four of the school’s students. Founded in the 1970s, Escola do Ponte (for children from 5-14 years of age) is a very special school, as it encourages independent learning and freedom of choice and gives the students a lot of responsibility from the very beginning. Students study according to their own, individual lesson plans, which are created under guidance of a study coach, as the teachers are called. These study plans o adhere to the national education plan, but they are highly individualised. Students are also encouraged to use technological devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and computers for their studies. Escola do Ponte is a public school, but has more liberties than other institutions and it is the only school of its kind in Portugal. Their style of learning is very different from traditional schools, but the students of Escola do Ponte achieve remarkable test results in standard tests, which they all have to take at the end of each school year.