22.11.2016

Learning beyond the classroom walls: the case of Vedruna Ripoll School

Nowadays, many schools are successfully modifying traditional teaching methods by introducing mobile technology into the classroom. Such is the case of the Vedruna School in Ripoll, an education centre which belongs to a network of schools with more than 22,000 students and approximately 1,500 teachers, who have embraced the mSchools programme educational resources and methodology.

After taking part in the first edition of the Edu_Hack co-creation workshop, Montse Jiménez, teacher and Head of Innovation of the Vedruna Schools in Catalonia, decided to adopt the methodology used and apply it in the classroom according to the students’ needs. Since then, the 2nd Year ESO students at the Vedruna School in Ripoll have followed a learning model in which teamwork allows them all to feel that they play an important role and can make successful contributions. 

“mSchools is an umbrella that covers all the teaching needs in the classroom. The programme’s initiatives meet the needs of what we are working on, involving different elements within the education world ─students, teachers, the local community, the surroundings…,” explains the teacher. The students at Vedruna School work on projects using the Edu_Hack co-creation methodology, geoposition elements in their local surroundings using Mobile History Map, design their own apps with App Education and the support of mSchools industry experts in the development of their projects and, finally, share their classroom experiences on Toolbox.

“For us, Mobile History Map is a good way to geoposition using technology”, says Montse. “Through MHM students upload contents about the heritage sites that surround them, with the advantage that it is the students themselves who participate in the activity.” The scope of work is a key element: “The collaborative work in school must have an immediate impact on family members, classmates and the community…The projects need to reach beyond the classroom walls.”  This was reflected in the project “20th century trains in Ripoll” which won the 1st Prize in the Mobile History Map category of the App Awards 2016. 

For the Vedruna Ripoll School, Mobile History Map has become a cross-functional tool that can be adapted to any subject. Ultimately, the mSchools programme aims for it to be used by each school and teacher according to their own specific needs.

Introducing technology into the students’ everyday lives has proved to be an asset in their education. “We realised that when working with digital tools, they participate, each student contributing in their own way – even students with more difficulties in communication,” explains Joana Murgou, Director of Vedruna Ripoll School. “All projects worked in our school are inclusive.”

The Vedruna Schools have also been successful in implementing other mSchools initiatives such as App Education, a course that focuses on the design and creation of apps for digital devices, and will soon begin to share their experiences in the classroom with Toolbox. As the Head of Innovation of the Vedruna Schools points out, in this new technological era it is essential for the education community to share experiences, particularly in a context in which – according to a survey by the OECD – 83% of teachers in Spain have never exchanged information with other teachers.

In conclusion, Vedruna School in Ripoll is a clear example of the fact that using mobile technology in the classroom opens a world of opportunity for students and prepares them for a future in which digital competencies will be required in 90% of jobs. “The key to the entire project is understanding that technology is another leg on the stool: it is a means to an end. The social aspect of learning, its interdisciplinary aspect, is what is most important.”