Innovation at H-International School
H-IS integrates the programmes of the International Baccalaureate with a series of educational projects that use the digital world as a basic tool for learning through developing ideas and creativity. Pending the completion of H-CAMPUS, at the current site of the H-INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL we are beginning to provide the school with new content and tools, focusing on innovation along various types of learning itineraries: Digital Afternoons, Family Days, Digital Native Seasonal Labs, Multimedia Laboratories, etc.
The Digital Afternoons are structured as learning units on specific subjects, a kind of topic ‘snack’ in which students are encouraged to focus on a certain activity, using new learning tools. Two programmes are already active, with appointments lasting two hours each, designed and structured to involve an age group ranging from 4 to 13 years.
The first is an iStopMotion Lab. Children are naturally inclined to listen and tell stories from the moment they hear their first fairy tale from their parents’ lips up to their learning about the worlds contained and narrated in books and movies.
With this lab we teach, by means of digital tools, what the narration of a story is and how it is articulated: we cover matters such as digital photography, framing, the birth of a story and its production, showing how it develops from the storyboard to the final assembly of a video.
To do so we combine traditional educational tools (paper, colours, plasticine) with less conventional objects (Lego blocks) and hi- tech (iPad).
The second is a Digital Comics Lab. Comics are a special narrative mode that by its very structure is well-suited for getting children’s attention. This workshop builds on one of the skills that each child experiences early on: making up a story. And it provides the tools to do so in a new, creative and interesting way.
In this workshop we will teach our pupils how to design a storyboard, create characters and scenes with drawings, Lego blocks and plasticine and how to use the tools of digital photography to turn their story into a true digital comic.
Digital Native Seasonal Labs
The Seasonal Labs are week-long seasonal workshops where our youngest to oldest students are immersed in aspects of digital technology in an intensive, engaging and entertaining programme.
The programme is structured in 8 training courses, differentiated according to age groups and varied creative stimuli, ranging from storytelling to graphics, computer science to robotics, electronics to MakerLab, all of which provide specialized, structured forms of expertise through play, programming and design.
During the Digital Native Season Lab participants will have the opportunity to explore many of the technologies used for achieving the most varied creative projects, from the production of video games to the construction of robots, and from the creation of works of art to animated storytelling.
In order to do this within HFARM’s facilities, participants will be accompanied and guided step by step in an entertaining and stimulating environment, an atmosphere of discovery and experimentation, both through the use of computers and tablet computers and through computerless activities.
Through learning to instruct the computer to carry out their projects the kids will master many elements useful to them in making their way in the world, such as abstracting a problem to replicate its solution in other contexts, describing in a simple way the steps needed to solve it, and identifying and correcting errors in the solution process.
During the week the children will be able to carry out personal and group projects which they can show to their parents and friends at the end of camp, during graduation ceremony.
These are some of the aspects in which we will involve both primary and middle school children (the list is temporary and subject to modifications)
• Graphic Design
• Digital Storytelling
Every year, each class will take two or three different Labs conceived and designed according to the age groups of the participants.
Multimedia Learning Labs
During the school year, we will progressively introduce innovative platforms for teaching and learning various subjects (math games and tests and new language software, through flipped classroom experiences).
This is software that enables users to access educational content through personalized and more interesting, dynamic and interactive itineraries. The potentialities of the web are exploited to address some of the key topics of educational programmes from an unconventional viewpoint.
This is the case, to take another example, of the software platform designed to teach and develop, at the same time and according to age difference, aptitudes toward entrepreneurship. Rather than using platforms that encourage the sharing of study subjects, this stimulates research through the use of media sources or the use of game books that can foster the urge to read about and learn new concepts and words, to the point of utilizing successful experiences already developed abroad, such as the use of kits specially designed to employ new educational strategies.
Improving Soft Skills
Among the aims of this new educational approach is incentivising the growth of soft skills. These are a set of individual characteristics casually related to a given activity, not referable to specific activities but capable of being activated tangentially to the activities themselves.
Soft skills include initiative, adaptability, empathy, leadership, conflict management, persuasion, group management, self-awareness, self-control, positive approach, pattern recognition, systems thinking and verbal communication, to name but a few.
Several studies have shown that work efficiency depends on such indirect, unconventional skills more than individual intelligence or technical knowledge. Our goal is to promote their development in our students.
These are days dedicated to the family, parent-child interaction through or with digital technology acting as a tool of comparison/discussion.
They are structured as actual school days, but carried out within H-FARM facilities between the children and their parents.
The goal is to create a sharing of values and best practices around the use of digital technology in everyday life: from apps ensuring safe navigation to choosing the best digital tools for experiencing family life, and analysing the risks and opportunities associated with the use of constantly web connected tools in the presence of children. Learning together through play.