Categories
Marketing & Communication

It doesn’ t have to be that complicated….

In mid-March we, Minke Schepers, Marketing and Communications department of Terra, and Evelien Kist, paid a visit to the province of North Holland for a meeting with a director of a pre-vocational secondary school of the Vonk College. I came to the address because of the excellent network EUROPEA, both at home and abroad. I had plotted the demand for successful training/growing educational institutions and a few colleagues responded. This was number 1 on the list and all the way in North Holland!

This school in Purmerend is a Pre-VET school with “green” practical subjects”. In the practical lessons they work with plants, animals, flowers, food, nature & environment and indoor and outdoor styling. Of course, information science, technology & technology and green entrepreneurship are also part of the practical program. In the whole of Europe (Weidevenne), the Vonk College Purmerend has a “green shop” where students can do an internship in a real business environment. A visit to the flower and plant auction in Aalsmeer and a green wholesaler are also part of this. Their motto is therefore: “Green: the basis for a colourful future”.

The school offers high-quality education from a professional organization, in which pupils and students are challenged to get the best out of themselves and does this by making the (learning) conditions as optimal as possible. The Vonk College is the first to reach employees, students, parents and the business community thought when it comes to good education because it:

• offers a safe and stimulating learning environment;

• challenges everyone to get the best out of themselves;

• cooperates with parents, the business community and other stakeholders in the region;

• is a professional organization with a modern personnel policy, and

• is characterized by transparency, responsibility and quality awareness.

The core values ​​of the Vonk College are involvement, quality and fun.

It was a real pleasure to talk to the director, Mr Kees Schilder. He told about ‘his’ school with enormous enthusiasm and warmth. About the difficult years at first and then the enormous growth that was almost impossible to keep up with. But where does such growth come from?

What is striking, is that the school makes little or no advertising. No Marketing and Communications department, no expensive advertising agencies. No, the advertising is provided completely free of charge by the students and their parents.

The school delivers quality. Much attention is paid to the individual student. So that works! A student who feels seen is comfortable in his own skin and in this way contributes to a pleasant atmosphere. And, very important, it advertises the school spontaneously and selflessly.

The school in Purmerend touches some of the 17 sustainable development goals: 4. quality education and 3. good health and well-being but it is not something the school is consciously concerned with. When you ask about sustainability, you actually end up with the relationship with the immediate neighbors.

What PROGRESS can use as Good Practice is actually nothing more or less than ensuring that you are known as a school that provides constant, high-quality education. Sustainability then actually lies in the continued existence of the school with sustainable relationships with the outside world. The other SDG goals come into play when everyone is aware of their necessity. How ‘simple’ can it be!

Categories
Curriculum & Program

Practical training at Savonia

Students from Savonia university has to do practical training at a farm or company for 90 days during the summer period after their first year studies. The content of placement: 1/3 crop production work, 1/3 animal husbandry work and 1/3 other work (for example forestry work, agricultural fair‐ visit, painting, fence repair)

The following requirements are imposed on the farm or company

  • Production should be large enough and developing;
  • There should be versatile work available;
  • Work safety and health should be in order;
  • Supervisor of the training should have agricultural; education and interest to teach and guide the trainee;
  • The farm should support learning and social development!
  • Salary/payment for student?

The application of companies/farms include:

  • Contact information;
  • Production, arable land, plant production, forestry;
  • Information about livestock, machinery, buildings, use of contractor;
  • Education, guidance, accommodation and meals, what kind of work available;
  • After improvement a contract is signed between Savonia and the farm/company for one or several years;
  • Placements are registered

The agreement between student and company includes:

  • Name of the company, name of the trainee;
  • What kind of work the trainee will do (plant production, livestock, other work, workload;
  • Accommodation, meals, payment, working period and working days);
  • The farmers commitment of guidance and give the information for the written tasks of training.

Preparation of Student’s placement

  • Second year students will present their placement experiences to the first‐year students;
  • They check the list of the companies;
  • Can go for pre‐training period to the farm (1‐2 weeks);
  • Have a short conversation with their teacher /supervisor about the placement and personal aims of their practical training;
  • Evaluation if the farm or company is suitable for their aims;
  • Make their own targets of the placement;
  • Write a CV and a motivation letter to the farm/company;
  • Contact and visit the farm /company;
  • Take part in preparation lessons about work/ labor legislation, work safety, protection against animal diseases and instructions for the written tasks of training.

Preparation of company of the placement

Information to the farms/companies will be sent by email before placement, and its content is:

  • Curriculum of the education;
  • Content and the purpose of the placement;
  • Labor legislation;
  • Assessment: include criteria, certificate to be full filled contract of employment to be full filled;
  • The length of placement is 90 working days (8 hours/day) during 5 months period (May‐ September);
  • The content of placement: 1/3 crop production work, 1/3 animal husbandry work and 1/3 other work (for example forestry work, agricultural fair‐ visit, painting, fence repair).

Responsibilities during the placement

After placement

  • Student finalizes written tasks in Moodle
  • Give feedback about the placement
  • Introduce his/her experiences, learning and the farm
  • company in seminar for the first‐year student


Categories
Vision & Ambition

Savonia university and Climate security

Jyri Wuorisalo, RDI Adviser in Human Security and Climate Security at Savonia University of applied science presented the vision of Savonia about climate security.

The awareness is increasing that humanity stands at a crossroads with regard to the legacy we wish to leave to future generations. Now is time to reform the story of mankind by creating a link between civilization and sustainable development. Other wise we will be we are swamped by some very big waves: the effects of COVID is small compared to climate change and the collapse of biodiversity. Just look at the IPCC report about climate change 2022 and there is only one conclusion possible: we have to act now!

Savonia’s strategy 2021-2030 is in line with this urgency. They want to be the most socially responsible and influential university of applied sciences through

  • co-development in education and RDI-activities,
  • maintaining a network and hub enhancing the competence network of business,
  • renewing their expertise through international activities,
  • being meaningful and productive and
  • taking care of the Students’ wellbeing by supporting the growth of tomorrow’s professionals.   

This strategy is realised through cooperation in several networks. For example the Human Security network in which human protection and empowerment are the main goals, the SDG are the central focus and the principles to leave no one behind and do no harm are important.  Another example is regional cooperation in which partners are working together on a roadmap to a carbon neutral Pohjois-Savo region.

Cooperation in national and international projects is also important for their strategy. PROGRESS is a good example of such a project in which partners learn together to grow towards a future proof sustainable school that is attractive for students.

Climate security is also implemented in the curriculum with a Master’s degree diploma Climate security with the following subjects: Climate security essentials, Health, Technology and Agriculture.

Are you interested in the PowerPoint upon which this blog pots is based? You can open it through this link.

Categories
Professional Development

E-learning at Savonia in Finland

Senior Lecturer in Business Economics and E-learning expert Hannu Viitala at Savonia university in Finland inspired the PROGRESS-parteners with his inspiration ideas and good practices in the field of E-learning.

Savonia teachers use all kinds of online tools during their lessons and COVID naturally enhanced their use but teachers were already used of using them. Tools like Microsoft teams, Moodle, Padlet, Exam and much more. But the pedagogy the teacher uses using these tools is far more important. It is not only about online learning but hybrid blended learning in which face-to-face learning is combined with online learning. At Savonia every class is a hybrid class.

Online learning is important for students and teachers. For students online tools are reasonable, motivational and practical that will also be important for their working life. Online tools make life easier for teachers and improve the quality of teaching.  Working life need employees who are willing and able to learn new things!

All Savonia courses are available in Moodle and teachers are trained to develop the courses by themselves. The analytics functions of Moodle are used to evaluate and improve the course. That is the normal way of doing things at Savonia. To make it more attractive students also have entrance to a video lecture library.

Are you interested in the PowerPoint upon which this blog pots is based? You can open it through this link.

Categories
News

Meeting in Iisalmi in Finland – Savonia University of Applied Sciences

This meeting in Ilesanmi in Finland from 7 till June 9 2022 was all about knowledge sharing about the education vision and strategy of Savonia Univeristy of Applied Sciences and their professionalisation approach.

June 7, 2022

During the fist day of the meeting we are welcomed in Iisalmi at the Savonia university of applied sciences by Petri Kainulainen with a presentation of the university. The university got the award Great Place to Work (2019 – 2023) because 91% of the students found a job after their study at this university. The university itself determines the curriculum. Jobs they train for in the agricultural sector are livestock farmer, herd manager, consultant, project managers, teacher in agro business and agricultural management. The Food Business area focuses on primary production, food processing, catering and gastronomic tourism. The university works a lot with innovative and intersectoral projects, for example a combination of agriculture and technology. This is also their most important strategy to professionalize teachers.

We proceed with a presentation from Hannu Vitala, e-learning expert with the online attendants Jolet Dingen (Terra), Lotte Skjaerbaek (Jordbrugets) en Nadine Pfennings (Yuverta). He pleads for more use of internet resources. He introduced ‘micro-learning’. A sort of appetizers: a slight taste of what the learner can learn when he/she will follow that course/training. These micro-learning units can be used very well in the recruitment of new students, also via podcasts. When asked whether there is an ideal division in your lesson of virtual or physical, Hannu indicates that there is none. However, it is very important that you create an atmosphere that makes the student feel as if he is actually in the classroom. Examples of tools that Hannu uses: Padlet, Peppi and many others. All those tools are ‘single-on’ systems: only a login is required. One needs good pedagogy then you don’t need many tools.

When asked how to get the teachers to use the tools, Hannu gives the following tips: time, money, updates, motivation. Make it easier for your fellow teachers to apply e-learning, help them!

Finalizing the first day Hilda Weges from the Netherlands talkes about the sustainable development goals and the role of teachers and students their competence to realise these goals. She stresses that professionalisation of teachers is important because they are role models: they need to act sustainable and not only present sustainable knowledge to their students. Therefore we have to keep in mind the importance of inner development goals.

June 8, 2022

Hilkka Kamarainen and her colleague Inka start the second day with a presentation of the agro and forestry education in Finland and the competences needed by farmers.

Yiry Wuorisalo (RD advisor, international relations officer, human and climate security at Savonia University in Kuopio) is our next speaker about the new course ‘climate security’ in which teaching and learning for a sustainable future is the main goal. They focus on SDG numbers 2, 7, 16 and 6 in this training.

After a short break, Inka provides a workshop: what are our future challenges? How circular economy and sustainability can help us to adapt the future. In a Padlet exercise, each partner writes down his/her ideas. The ideas are being categorised: blue – attitude, mind set; rose – food, demands of the consumers; yellow – climate changes; purple – soil.

During the discussion it became clear that people are a bit tired by the word sustainability. It would perhaps be better to talk about quality of life instead of sustainability. We need people doing something, not only spectators.

The last part of this day was used for a farm visit where students of Savonia university show us around and Inka learns us a lot about her research regarding soil and the role and function of worms.

June 9, 2022

We leave for Kuopio in the morning to be welcomed at the other location of Savonia University by the head International Projects. The vision of the university: to be the most socially responsible and influential university.

Harri Auvinen tells us about the international HOOP project about bio and circular economy. Cities like Murcia, Almere, Kuopio, joining HOOP, make bio based products from urban bio-waste and wastewater (urban circular bio economy initiatives).

After lunch, an Albanian teacher, also visiting Savonia, tells us about their professionalization of staff. Listen to the podcast on the website. Interesting!

We proceed with discussing the things we have learned during our visit and the professionalization tactics in the different partner countries.

In Finland Students learn mainly from teachers, work based learning, trainers, parents, friends and role models. Teachers teach the basics, create a path, stimulate and motivate the students. Teachers learn mainly from each other, the students, the environment and innovative projects. They attend seminars, lectures to keep themselves updated. They exchange knowledge and experiences with colleagues. They do pair teaching which is easier to do in Higher Education than in VET because of their flexible time tables. They receive feedback from their students and based on this, a development interview is held with the manager.

In Spain, training is being organised by a centre and all teachers can attend the courses they want. But… teachers are not all motivated any longer and don’t show.

Yuverta in the Netherlands has its own academy to train teachers. Staff with certain knowledge or skills, are invited to share this with their colleagues. They do that digitally or physical during lunch time so everybody is able to attend. When a fellow worker has a question, the academy develops a training about this question.

But, what does professionalization have to do with attracting new students? There is a direct link: innovations are attractive. Teachers should show what they do on social media! Advertise yourself as a teacher!

We close the official part of the meeting.

Thanks to all for a pleasant TPM!

Categories
Students & Target Groups

What do students think?

Juan Carlos Garcia Salvador from CIFEA MOLINA de Segura in Spian has worked out a continuous evaluation system for students and presented his ideas and example during our project meeting in Murcia. The presentation can be downloaded.

It was a very inspring session in which we spoke with students about their ideas on developing a sustainable school and training programs.

Most important questions to discuss with students are:

  • How can VET institutions contribute to a more sustainable society?
  • Is the education system in tune with a sustainable society?
  • How can the students contribute to achieving our vision as a VET institution?
  • What needs do our teachers have?
  • What examples of good practices have the students in mind?

The example susrvey is also available (in Spanish).

Categories
Vision & Ambition

Towards a sustainable school

CIFEA de Molina de Segura in Spain worked on ideas becoming a sustainable school in 2026. Their mission:

Education is the way , and we can offer you a wide range of
reasons to be part of our sustainable community. Learn
and be free. Vocational education is your way.

Juan Carlos Garcia Salvador

Main challenge regarding this mission is that students should feel that they are part of the solution. The VET students have to feel useful for a sustainable society and the school should give them the tools to make the students feel like this.

The first ideas of CIFEA de Molina de Segura were presented during our meeting in Spain and they can be found in this presentation.

[Picture Gerd Altmann via Pixabay]

Categories
School Environment

Renewal of the job market?

CIFEA DE MOLINA de Segura in Spain provides students with training related to the processed food and environmental sectors. For these vocational training schools it is essential to be one step ahead of the social and professional reality of both sectors.

Each course, from the CIFEA DE MOLINA, around 70 students are
promoted in training cycles of families in the food industry, safety and environment that joins the labour market.

To improve the training of our students and provide them with the skills for sustainability that society and the labour market requirements, we share with other European green schools, cooperation and innovation projects of the Erasmus program, which pose the same questions and provide us with feedback in the process of self reflection.

These questions are:

  • With whom do we learn?
  • What is the environment in which we develop our learning?
  • How does the environment affect training?
  • What are the needs of society and the labour market concerning sustainable development?
  • How can we cooperate with companies and partners so that training contributes to sustainable production systems?
  • What green skills do we have to strengthen in learning?
  • How can we adapt the curricula of the cycles?
  • What teaching methodologies are suitable for teaching the SDGs?

In this presentation CIFEA MOLINA present the answers to these question from their point of view.

Categories
Professional Development

Sustainable Competences for learners of all ages

Education and training, like all sectors, must take action to respond to the climate emergency.

Learners of all ages need opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to live more sustainably, embrace healthier lifestyles and contribute – both individually and collectively – to the green transition.  

Acquiring sustainability competences, can help children, young people and adults to understand challenges related to climate change and the environment, reflect on their behaviours, and engage in action for a sustainable future.

The European competence framework on sustainability contains a proposal for these kind of competences . This framework called GreenComp can be used in edu­cation and training programmes and policies in formal, non-formal and informal settings.

Are you interested? The framework can be downloaded through the Environmental Sustainability Learning page.

Categories
Building & Business operations

A green paradise to attract students

During our TPM in October we visited Yuverta College in Nederweert. This pre-vet school invested in the development of a green paradise at their school to attract new students.

The amount of students entering the school declined during the years from more than 450 students in 2010 till almost 240 in 2019. Because of this decreasing trend the quality of the school was under pressure
and actions were needed to attract more students.

The new director of the school Marisol Becerra beliefs in the power and attractiveness of a green learning environment and invested with her team in the greening of the environment of the school both outside and inside the school.

First of all the tiles at the schoolyard were removed replaced by a natural pond and garden, a vegetable garden and a wooden open outdoor classroom.  The old ugly wall surrounding the garden was also renewed through an inspirational green artwork.  They call it the green paradise to indicate that it is a very friendly and attractive place to learn, work and relax.

The interior of the old school was also tackled. Through a partnership with a local nature photographer the hallways and classrooms were
changed into green classrooms by adding beautiful pictures at the walls of landscapes, animals, plants and flowers. Even the lockers of the students were changed into green lockers by adding a large picture of a butterfly.

The effect of these changes  were very clear. Teachers, students, parents and visitors were very enthusiastic and really felt at home in this new green paradise.  This year the inflow of students has increased instead of declined. Will this be beginning of a rising trend?  And is this the effect of greening of the learning  environment? It is is not certain, but there seems to be a positive effect.

But how did she get the budget for all these changes?

Her main advise is to be active and creative to realise different kinds of budget. There are all kinds of budgets which can be applied for and can be combined for you own benefit. Also think about sponsoring and crowd-funding. A lot of companies, even MC Donalds, want to help and allocate money for greening, sustainability and education. So connect to your environment en invest in developing a good network with local partners.

Recommendations

This Good Practice makes clear that investing in an attractive
and inspirational learning environment  is important and will support the raise of students entering your school.

It also makes clear that connecting with partners in your
local en regional environment is important because it can help you to realise your ambitions and goals. Invest in a proper network with companies, other schools and your local government.