Originally uploaded by mthorn_hawkesfarm.
The hotel is full now that members of the SPICE project have also arrived in Sandviken. This morning we joined them for a second school visit, half our group visiting one school and half another.
The school I was taken to is a medium-sized primary school of 220 children in the centre of the town. After a pleasant welcome of songs and tin whistle playing we started a tour of the classrooms.
The most immediately striking thing about the school was the adult-pupil ratio. In some classes there were three adults - all teachers - to as few as eighteen children. Some of these teachers were ´pre-school´ teachers and I am not usre that I have properly understood the term, as many of these were working alongside children of 10 years old.
The headteacher explained that the generous staffing levels were a consequence of the relatively high numbers of children from other countries in his school.
As far as evidence of digital competences was concerned, the practice was patchy, though it has to be said that the focus for the SPICE project is not IT and therefore there was no special effort being made by the school to demonstrate this. One ten-year old boy who had moved from England did say he used the computer much less in Sweden.
However, we saw children researching on Google and using email. And an Indian girl who showed us round was enthusiastic about the Conference forums and obviously participated in them.
The emphasis seems to be very much on children using IT as an enquiry and communication tool as required. Once again there were no interactive whiteboards in the school, though we were told one was on order.