Teaching at Omnimundo, our school in Antwerp, Belgium, asks for a lot of creativity. Many of our students don’t speak our native language, and others need individual learning paths. For a teacher, adapting to this climate of continuous change is challenging. We had to establish a safe environment and create special programs for teaching our students the different languages, sciences and, of course, mathematics courses. We also tried to improve the communication skills of the students while keeping in mind the key values of our school: inspiration, participation, expertise, openness and confidence.
Together with Microsoft and i3 Technologies we decided to take on this challenge, using modern technology and combining it with innovative learning techniques. We provided every student with a Surface device and incorporated OneNote for Classrooms as the backbone for our lessons. We wanted to focus ourselves on using technology in a natural way, to help students develop problem-solving and communication skills. What we really liked was working through class projects – we always chose a specific theme and tried to fit in every learning point relevant to that project. That included math, language, science, and a lot of social skills, like communication and collaboration.
OneNote proved to be a perfect fit for my class. With a few clicks you can organize your lessons and establish individual learning paths. The distribution of work to the students, and following up on it is extremely easy. For my students with learning disabilities, I can support my lessons with speech, images and videos. By using OneNote this way, it becomes an “extra teacher,” or “coach,” to guide the students through every ongoing project. Combining this way of working with other programs, like Office 365, Sway and Skype, along with physical material like Lego bricks, has created a strong learning environment. In it, we can prepare our students for their bright futures.
Finally, I can say that our use of technology in learning has gained us a lot of time. We are now working very efficiently, so extensive homework is often a thing of the past. Though you may expect technology in your class to minimize the need for collaboration or communication, I don’t think so at all. These skills are represented more that ever in my class!
Omnimundo, a kindergarten and primary school in Antwerp, Belgium, personalizes learning for students from more than 20 countries by using Microsoft Surface Pro devices, the Windows 10 operating system, and Microsoft Office 365 for Education.