By Bart Verswijvel, Future Classroom Lab pedagogical adviser
The Future Classroom Lead Ambassadors are a group of professional European educators appointed by their Ministries of Education. Their role is to set up local informal networks for teachers and to promote initiatives and projects by European Schoolnet. Future Classroom Ambassadors organize or contribute to local events and quite often they are involved in the creation of a Future Classroom inspired by the Future Classroom Lab at European Schoolnet.
Since the launch of the network of Future Classroom Ambassadors at the end of 2014, the group has met a few times in Brussels but also virtually at several conference calls. Last September the ambassadors had their face-to-face meeting in Tallinn, Estonia. The regular meetings were combined with a study visit to two institutes that host a Future Classroom.
The first day Triin Kangur, the Estonian Future Classroom Ambassador, welcomed us at HITSA, the Innovation Centre for Education in Estonia that supports the implementation of information and communication technology. Since the opening of the HITSA Lab two years ago, hundreds of Estonian teachers found their way to Nutiklass to experience learning activities in a flexible space. The standard approach is that staff of HITSA visits the school of the teachers first to prepare the visit to HITSA.
The network of teachers in Estonia is very well organized. In E-country Estonia a common platform for teachers is a driving force behind Continuous Professional Development for teachers, providing info about many courses, both online and on-site.
The second day the Ambassadors visited the University of Tallinn where different types of classrooms have been installed and are used for initial teacher training. We see that more teachers training institutes in Europe follow the same approach and prepare students to teach in non-traditional classrooms.
The visit to Tallinn has been very inspiring and relevant for the work of the Future Classroom Ambassadors.