Aihearkisto: henkilöstö

MusicXchain – the project is ending but the network keeps going – join the celebration on 5 November!

The MusicXchain is a network of six (6) education providers from five (5) member states (Finland, Latvia, Germany, Netherlands and Slovenia) all offering upper secondary VET education in music.

The Erasmus+ KA2 project with the same name has focused on key competences of learners in the music sector by creating new and innovative ways for cooperating and learning and thus enhancing their networking and digital skills as well as fostering an entrepreneurial mindset necessary for a successful career in the creative industries.

The MusicXchain project main aims have been to yield a number of tangible results on completion of the project such as

• a structured platform for managing and coordinating the network activities including a calendar of mobility modules and other events offered within the network;
• a structured model for organizing learning mobility in the music sector taking into consideration the strengths and expertise of each participating college;
• a facility (within the platform) for virtual music lab activities where masterclasses, validated technique videos and e.g. career stories of alumni can be shared or music productions can be planned.

On the participating VET providers level the results have been

  • an exchange of knowledge, skills and experience between organizations;
  • a significant increase in the number of learners in the music sector gaining an international experience through virtual communication initiatives and physical learning mobility;
  • a stronger focus on fostering an entrepreneurial mindset within the staff and the learners;
  • embedment – project activities and results have helped to create an awareness that internationalization provides an attractive, modern and functional context for VET curricula;
  • upskilled teachers – the project has also induced the need for modernisation of teaching and need for professionalisation of staff e.g. in the area of using digital tools for music lab activities at home.

On both European and national level the intangible results have been the following:

A sustainable network of VET providers in the music sector – the project has involved international cooperation between VET colleges in five (5) EU member states whilst creating learning mobility opportunities, (virtual and physical) the projects core goal has been to create a strong and sustainable EU partnership for learning mobility;
More efficient use of European tools such as Europass and ECVET. The latter has been used to describe the knowledge, skills and competences learners can attain whilst doing a module abroad or virtual music lab activities at home, thus developing recognition, transparency and certification and to realise the latter, it has been important to have the developed products embedded in the partners’ curricula;

Join the celebration and learn more about the network and the project by coming to the MusicXchain webinar on Thursday 5 November 2020 13-17:30 CET/ 14-18:30 EET.

Register for the event HERE

Questions re. the webinar: Ineke Saade i.sadee(at) rijnijssel.nl

Information about the network and project https://blogit.gradia.fi/musicxchain/

Vaihtokokemukset jakoon!

Yli 30 gradialaista kokoontui tiistaina 19.5. Teamsin välityksellä jakamaan ajatuksiaan ja kokemuksiaan henkilöstövaihtoihin liittyen. Tilaisuudessa oli mukana myös Aarhus TECH -oppilaitoksen koordinaattori Flemming Olesen, joka on aiemmin tänä keväänä jakanut kokemuksiaan Gradian kv-blogin koronajuttusarjassa. Tilaisuuden pääteemat olivat kansainvälinen osaaminen ja vaihtojaksolle valmentautuminen.

Suvi Hirvijärvi, Stephen Clark., Flemming Olesen ja Pirkko Lahti
keskustelemassa kansainvälisestä osaamisesta ja keinoista, joilla sitä ovat hankkineet.

Sanomattakin lienee selvää, että Kiinassa vuoden alussa puhjennut COVID-19-tartuntatautiepidemialla on ollut suuri vaikutus erityisesti kansainväliseen toimintaan ja Erasmus+ ohjelman rahoittamiin kansainvälisiin liikkuvuuksiin ja hankkeisiin. Gradian osalta pandemia siirsi yhteensä noin 50 henkilöstövaihdon ja useamman hankkeen kokousten toteutusta eteenpäin tai verkkoympäristöön.

Vaikka matkat on peruttu, kansainvälinen yhteistyö jatkuu. Samalla kansainvälisyyden perinteiset mittarit, lähtevät ja saapuvat opiskelijat ja henkilöstö, painuvat nolliin. Nyt onkin hyvä pysähtyä ja pohtia ovatko mittarit riittäviä? Mitä muuta kansanvälisyys on kuin liikkuvuutta? Miten sitä osaamista, jota perinteisesti on haettu liikkuvuuden kautta, voidaan vahvistaa ja tukea myös ilman fyysistä matkustamista maasta toiseen ja millä mittareilla vaikutusta tulisi mitata? 19.5. tilaisuuden osallistujat pohtivat myös omalta osaltaan mitä kansainvälinen osaaminen on? Perinteisen kielitadon kehittämisen lisäksi tärkeiksi nousivat vuorovaikutus- ja verkostoitumistaidot. Myös kasvun ja kehittymisen “moottorit” – rohkeus ja uteliaisuus – mainittiin useaan kertaan.

Mitä omasta mielestäsi kansainvälisellä osaamisella tarkoitetaan?

Liikkuvuus, matkustaminen toiseen maahan, pysyy jatkossakin tärkeänä osana osaamisen kehittämistä maailmassa, jossa keskinäiset riippuvuussuhteet ovat yhä selvemmin ja konkreettisemmin näkyvissä elämämme kaikilla osa-alueilla. Koulutuksen yksi tarkoitus on valmistaa elämään kulttuurisesti moninaisessa maailmanyhteisössä ja toimimaan rakentavasti ja vastuullisesti yhteisen maapallon hyväksi ja tämä kevät on osoittanut sen, että aivan kaikkia kokemuksia ei kuitenkaan voida kokonaan siirtää Teamsiin tai Zoomiin. Akuutin koronatilanteen jälkeen meidän on kuitenkin syytä jatkaa sen pohtimista mikä rooli matkustamisella on ja milloin se tuottaa juuri sitä lisäarvoa, jota tavoittelemme.

EU-komissio linjasi toukokuun lopussa, miten rahoitusohjelmien ulkomaanjaksoja voidaan toteuttaa loppuvuoden 2020 aikana, jos koronaepidemiasta johtuvat poikkeusolot jatkuvat. Linjauksen mukaan ulkomaanjaksot on mahdollista aloittaa virtuaalisesti verkkototeutuksina ja niitä voidaan jatkaa kohdemaassa sitten, kun tilanne sen sallii. Henkilöstövaihtoja voidaan toteuttaa jopa kokonaan virtuaalisesti, mikäli poikkeusolot jatkuvat. Tarkempia ohjeita virtuaalivaihtojen säännöistä ja rahoitusehdoista ei vielä ole. Seuraamme Gradiassa komission tiedotusta ja viestimme niistä heti, kun rahoitusohjelman ohjeet ja Gradian linjaukset tältä osin valmistuvat.

Huhtikuussa päättyneen henkilöstövaihtohaun valinnat ja ohjeet myös koronan alta siirtyvien vaihtojen osalta on julkaistu intrassa 29.5.2020. Kevään 2021 vaihtojen suunnittelu ja valmennus onkin syytä käynnistää pian kesälomakauden päätyttyä. Syksyn aikana pyritään useimpien kohdalla käynnistämään vaihtovalmennus mm. tutustumisella kohteeseen verkon välityksellä sekä tavoitteiden tarkemmalla määrittelyllä.

Vaihtokokemukset jakoon! -tilaisuudessa pohdittiin miten vaihtoon kannattaa valmistua ja missä asioissa osallistujat kaipaavat oman organisaation tukea. Apua kaivattiin mm. kielivalmennuksessa ja kohteeseen perehtymisessä.

Millä vaihtoon valmentautumisen osa-aluella kaipaat eniten Gradian tukea?

Tilaisuudesta kerätyn palautteen mukaan tämän tyyppiset tilaisuudet koettiin tärkeinä (yleisarvosana 4, maksimi 5). Kokemukset ja vinkit sekä rennot haastattelut olivat vastaajien mielestä parasta antia. Osa vastaajista toivoi, että jatkossa tilaisuudet päästäisiin pitämään lähikontaktissa ja että vuorovaikutteisuutta olisi enemmän. Ensimmäistä ei voida luvata. Jälkimmäinen sen sijaan kyllä jatkossa onnistuu paremmin. Seuraava vastaava tilaisuus järjestettäneen lokakuussa 2020. Seuraa siis intraa niin tiedät milloin ja mihin tulla!

Rea Tuominen, kv-suunnittelija, p. 6159

It’s never too late to learn

 First days of the pandemic were espeacially challenging for Slovenia due to the resignation of their Primer Minister in late January and the consequent formation of new government. First case was confirmed one day after Janez Jansa was elected Prime Minister. In this article Natali Borinc and Darja Štiherl from Gradia’s partner college Srednja šola za gostinstvo in turizem Celje are reporting their experiences during the pandemic.

Empty street in front of the college in Celje.

The tourism college in Celje actually switched to distance learning already in the first week of the »stay-at-home« quarantine which mainly included setting up the MS Teams system for communication with students and staff, getting acquainted with the tools, creating relevant groups (classes, teachers’ groups according to the subjects etc.) The students were then given instructions and support how to deal within the Teams platform. “The biggest problem at the beginning  was to ensure that all students have a computer and internet access. This was partly solved by our school which provided 7 students with laptops and partly by donations of the mobile wi-fi routers” says Natali Borinc.

“Although ICT has been more and more integrated in our teaching and learning process in the past years we suddenly realized that creating a virtual reality was the only way for teachers and students to move forward and continue the work. The Corona crisis definitely made us all develop and upgrade our digital competences so to say overnight.  And it worked well!” adds Darja Stiherl. After two weeks it has become quite routine to hold online lessons or individual consultations, to participate in weekly conferences and meetings, to create online tests, check students’ assignments uploaded in the Teams folders etc.  “Will this experience bring any permanent changes in the way of our school work and life in the future? Yes, it definitely will. Namely, the feedback of all involved based on the analysis of questionnaires and personal interviews is very positive.” The college has been creating a database of numerous results of the distance learning activities like: recorded online lessons, students’ seminar and project works, video presentations etc. This database will represent a new resource for teaching and learning not only during the educational process at the school but also for the students on mobility periods, students who are often absent due to chronic health problems, for promotional activities etc.

Student Nejc Sovic learning online.

“As regards our transnational activities the Corona situation required immediate actions because we had two groups of students on mobility in Ireland and Finland when the EU countries started to close their borders.” With a strong support of their partners, including Gradia, in both countries they managed to bring all students home safely. A short-term impact has been the need to extend the duration of the current mobility project to make up for the activities which ended prematurely or have not been implemented at all. “It is difficult to predict the mid or long term impact, but we think that the selection of safe destinations and reliable partners will be one of the most important issues in planning the mobilities in the future,” Natali ponders.

Teacher Vid Burnik in his home office.

So what kind of an impact has the situation had on a more personal level? “As a project coordinator I am using distance learning tools to communicate with the future mobility participants instead of personal meetings and workshops which I usually implement within the preparation phase for mobility,” says Natali. She holds online group meetings and arranges individual consultations. And although her project work tasks were even previously mostly done by using ICT she has acquired some valuable new skills which will improve her future work with partners and participants before, during and after the mobility period.

“I’ve often heard and also used the saying “It’s never too late to learn”.  Yes, it’s true and I have experienced this just a few months before my retirement,” Darja remarks. It has been her most intensive learning experience related to development of  digital competences ever, a combination of self-study and support of her colleagues in the form of exchanging tips, advice, instructions and examples of good practice. “It was challenging, sometimes exhausting, sometimes fun-but the results are rewarding. And finally, I think that this experience improved the image and the importance of the teachers’ role in the education process.”

Natali and Darja would like to conclude with this: “At the end we would like to share our optimism for the future cooperation with Gradia and express our gratitude for the excellent support of their project team in organizing the emergency return journey of our students just before the airports and borders closed.”

Students from the tourism college in Celje are frequent participants in the tourism summer and winter schools arranged by the tourism programme in Gradia Jyväskylä. You can watch a video of one of the winter schools on Gradia’s YouTube channel: https://tinyurl.com/tourismwinterschool

The show will go on, just the rules have changed

Ave Paasikivi in her new office.

Ave Paasikivi from Kuresaare Ametikool in Estonia is working away from the office like most of us these days. ” I actually like it quite a lot! As Kuressaare is the corona epicentre of Estonia I moved at the very beginning to our summer cottage which is on a small island called Vilsandi. It’s the first spring I have the possibility to witness the spring arriving in full.” For Kuresaare college staf there have been busy weeks and very busy weeks. The biggest challenge has been to stay inside and work even when the weather has been good and the work load smaller. “We are allowed to work at our own pace – so I can work in the mornings and evenings and enjoy the day outside. I do, however, miss my office equipment – the printer and the copy machine 😃. So probably one day I have to go back to the office…” Right now the decision is that those who can work from home will do it till end of this school year. “My best tip for remote working is to create your own daily routine and follow it. Otherwise, keep a positive mind and try to enjoy the coming of spring.” Ave also appreciates her supportive friends and colleagues who have made it easier to make the best out of this unexpected situation.

Kuresaare Ametikool switched to distance learning on 16 March and it has gone surprisingly well. The school year had been planned in such a way most of the practical lessons were more or less already over and they are finding providing more theoretical studies from the distance fairly easy. “Our school is using Office 365 and it’s facilities mostly, but of course every teacher has their own favourite tools, too. “ In some curricula there have been lot of online learning already before. The situation has been challenging for some students as Kuresaare college also has a lot of adult students who have children and work. “It’s been pretty hard to handle children, work and school work for them, but by now things have more of less settled, I believe, ” says Ave. “And of course it has been hard also for some teachers who maybe had less experience in using digital tools. We’ve also learned that online teaching needs very clear planning as well.” Kuresaare Ametikool have also provided both students and staff with computers and technical support.

“We still have some courses which have to finish their practical work at the school, so we hope that we can start limited contact lessons from 18 May.” Another challenge is how to manage the company placements as most companies are closed. “We hope that things are going to be better soon and everybody is able to do their placements by autumn.” Right now they are hoping that all groups who should graduate this term, could do so by the end of June.

“Last week we had the traditional Health Week at the school so we published training, cooking and psychology videos on our Facebook page and those were really popular.” What they have learned from this experience is that actually everything is possible and maybe for some courses they will use more distance learning even when things are back to normal.

“I really hope that there will be no long term impact for our international activities. We just have to learn how to live with this new reality.”  Kuresaare college had to cancel almost 30 student and staff mobilities for this spring term but everyone of them still want to go as soon as it’s possible. “I also had to bring back more than 20 students from abroad earlier than planned, which is really pity – but I hope at least some can go back and continue at a later date.”

And finally Ave would like to remind us to “be healthy, be positive, the show will go on, just the rules have changed. ” 😀

Time for reflection

Carmen Romero wears many ‘hats’. She’s a teacher, head of department and international coordinator at one of Gradia’s partners in the Basque country, CIFP Construccion Bizkaia in Bilbao. Like many others, their college switched to distance learning on 13 March.

“Overall, changing to distance learning was expected to be a big challenge for all the teachers and students, but the response and reaction has been really good, better than we expected”, Carmen says in her new home office (= dinner table). Most of CIFP Bizkaia’s students are following the classes and making the tasks and jobs that teachers ask them to deliver. Meet is used for video conferences and, in the beginning, they also used Zoom. All the teachers are willing to help students and attend to their needs even outside of their “regular” timetable. Possibly an advantage of being an small organization. Learning and teaching are progressing relatively well under the circumstances and this way of working will continue, at least, until 15 May.

“The biggest challenge has been to transfer the tasks that should have been done at the college workshops for tasks that can be done at home.” Many of the technical skills of construction trade can’t be developed at home, so teachers have come up with different challenges in which the students can combine creativity, technical knowledge, measurements and budgeting. For example, the 2nd year students of interior work have to “set up” their own company and make a proposal for refurbishing their own houses. The task includes making the drawings, searching for materials and explaining how they should be used, taking measurements, budgeting and explaining which professions are needed to perform the work as well as make a work plan for the whole project.

“Initially we worried about the access to the Internet from home, but fortunately most of our students had it.” For those who didn’t (only two of them), the college loaned each of them a computer with a key for the Internet. All the schools in the Basque Country had the order to do it, being provided Internet keys if necessary.

Essential tools for remote working:
laptop, headset, colleagues via an online tool and coffee.

“None of us were prepared for this situation.” It has been a completely new way of working for our schools which are still very much based on in-person interaction and classes. But due to the willpower of the teachers we are dealing with it beyond anything we could have imagined. According to Carmen, it’s unlikely that this experience will change the way their college operates in the future. “Basically because, as I have mentioned earlier, our specific field implies the need of being at the workshops to gain the skills and competences.”

The coronavirus situation has of course had an impact on the college’s international activities. “The first impact happened when Italy closed their borders. Seven of our students were prepared to make their internships in companies there and, after waiting for two weeks to see the progress of the (at that moment) limited epidemic, they had to unpack their luggage and stay at home.” The second wave of events happened when three CIFP students who were in Finland at the time the state of alarm started in Spain and there was a mad dash to bring them back home quickly. “I became 10 years older in only 24 hours!”, Carmen recalls.

The third impact has been that the college has had to ask for change of duration of their Erasmus+ funding so that they could use the grants at a later date, if possible. The future of mobility activities depends greatly on the medical developments: ” While the vaccine is not yet available and there are no effective medical treatments for this virus, I don’t think we are willing to risk sending the students or teachers abroad. It feels like the most appropriate approach at the moment.” Carmen remains optimistic and thinks that, as all whole scientific community all over the world is working to find a solution, it will come earlier than we can even imagine.

Under Spain’s state of emergency regulations, citizens can only go out alone to buy food, seek medical care, for emergencies or to work in essential industries.  Despite staying indoors for weeks, Carmen says she’s coping very well. “As everyone here, I miss leaving my home, going out, seeing others in person.” But, at the same time, not having to invest time in going to the work place has meant that there is time left over to do other things. “I try to be dressed as if I were going to school every day. It can sound superficial but I’m sure that to spend the whole day wearing leggings and an old t-shirt makes you, how I could say it, feel scruffy and, consequentely, can make you feel unhappy after several weeks inside the home. But anyway, I just want to go out 🙂 “ , Carmen adds. She believes that the current changes to the way of living will continue while there is a medical solution. “When it comes, we will work and behave as we have always done. Spanish people, “genetically”, need close physical contact.”

And finally Carmen would like to remind us all that “many persons are suffering terribly with this pandemic. Some of our friends have lost their mother, father or other relatives; some of our acquaintances have died. It’s a good time to reflect on how we behave with our family, friends, schoolmates or neighbours. It’s a time to rethink our priorities and to be grateful for all we have, for the life we enjoy and it’s time to “send into permanent exile” the complaints and the selfishness.”


CIFP Construccion Bizkaia is a member of EMEU network http://em-eu.eu/