Have you ever faced the issue that you forgot to close the window before it starts raining? In that case, the children of the primary school in Gröbming, Austria, have a solution for you. And many more solutions for different types of issues, all of them developed during a roll-out activity of DOIT. The DOIT challenge was one opportunity to show what they have created during the organised programming days of the school. And indeed, what they invented is most convincing: alarms for saving water in the household, a prototype for protecting hydroelectric power stations from damage, flooding alarms, football field water stop&go lights and tools providing water for animals. Also the DOIT expert jury found these ideas extraordinary, thus the children of the primary school in Gröbming won the top three ideas and prototypes in the category of 6-10 years-old of the DOIT challenge.
How comes that these kids are so successful? Clearly, initiatives like the DOIT activities need to find an already fruitful ground in order to grow. The director and the teaching team provide exactly this: for several years already the school has been very keen on implementing the idea of creation, programming and problem solving into its curriculum. The focus lies on the smooth integration of multimedia and programming skills into the day2day teaching methods, following a holistic learning and teaching concept that leaves sufficient space for creativity and individual development. Multimedia and programming is considered as a tool for learning and development that supports at one hand to fulfil the requested curriculum. On the other hand it fosters students’ individual capabilities and the development thereof.
The tools themselves play a subordinate role, provided that they adapt well to the different age of the children. Thus the children of the primary school in Gröbming have learned i.g. with BeeBots, LegoEducation, Calliopes and Microbits, just to name some of the tools. In this holistic learning environment, the children found it easy to develop solutions during the programming days in spring 2019. Within several hours the children managed to identify many different issues and problems dealing with the overall topic ‘water’, to find creative solutions and to produce a fully functional prototype including programming.
This fruitful environment that is driven by the director and supported by teachers needs time to grow, the acceptance by the parents and the support by local and national authorities. It also requires an understanding of how to adapt to the framework and the school environment itself, including the cooperation with existing networks and local partnerships.
This consistent work is one explanation why these kids can adapt so well to new challenges and at the end of the day invent water alarms and detectors, tools for the household or hydroelectric power stations.
And yes, the success story continues. In this school year the Volksschule Gröbming is part of an Erasmus+ project, sharing their ideas and experiences with schools from Greece and Italy. (https://www.volksschule-groebming.at/de/aktuelles/meldungen/erasmus.php)