During our project meeting in Denmark we visited the Nature school of the Green Academy of Aarhus located at a farm not far from the School. Green Academy has set up this nature school with a great variety of activities from pre-school activities to masterclasses. Main goal is to increase the interest in nature and modern agriculture and thereby the recruitment of new students.
The activities vary from Summer camps, to long term learning activities or projects, to 1-day-based learning activities and Team building activities.
Potential new students get inspired to work with innovative technologies and new developments in the agriculture sector like the cultivating of insects and mealworms as an alternative protein
At Yuverta in The Netherlands it is a custom that our graduates are given a flag of Yuverta to show off that they have graduated.Of course our flags are made of reclycled materials and they have to bring it back. Unfortunately they often end up in the attic or worse, in the garbage bin.
The school in Nederweert had the genius idea to ask for a deposit. Dutch people are very used to pay a deposit for e.g. plastic bottles at a supermarket, but to pay a deposit when you are given a graduation flag is completely new. But it worked! 95% of the graduates brought their flag back, only 3 flags are missing. This means that we do not have to produce new flags for next years graduates. Very sustainable and a fun example to communicate in order to show that sustainability is important to us.
At Yuverta in The Netherlands Sustainability is one of the core values. We have written a policy with goals we want to achieve within a few years. One of our board members is responsible for achieving these goals. We also have a few dedicated colleagues to work on sustainability projects, to communicate internally and to find and collect sustainable ambassadors within Yuverta. They have developed a very nice idea, which is easy to copy to your organisation!
At our intranet our sustainability collegues have their own pages to inform and inspire others. They have made a sustainability calendar for every month of this year. Every month has a theme, which has a connection with one of the adopted SDG’s.
E.g. the theme of September is zero waste. This month they share tips, they share educational materials for our teachers and they challenge their collegues to change their habits towards sustainability. For example this month: don’t use paper cups, but use a mug or a glass.
They organise a ‘GreenTalk’ every month with one of our collegues. A 2 minute talk (video) about the sustainable impact he or she makes. It is very nice to hear collegues talk about their way of living, their passion for educating others on sustainability, and simply share their knowledge with others. You can find them on YouTube. Youtube offers the possibility to change the language of the subtitles (in screen you find a gear wheel).
This is a print screen of our intranet pages on sustainability with many news items and information about our sustainability strategy. On the right you can see blue tiles on several subjects. Links to our own sustainable calendar, SDG Netherlands, a Dutch initiative which is called Together for Biodiversity, a nature organisation, and several websites where you can find educational materials and projects.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.