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Innovation Award for the Digital Learning Lab

The world seems to turn much faster today than it used to. Algorithms, artificial intelligence, data analytics and machine learning are the new cultural technologies that are driving the rapid changes in science, business and society. The most important role of schools is to give young minds a firm foundation for their futures, preparing them for study, business and taking on social responsibility when they graduate. This goal is why today, more than ever, we are faced with the question:  How can education respond to change and best prepare young people for the world?

At the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz campus in Switzerland, we search for solutions by breaking new ground and involving not only teachers but also students and external experts in the process. Together, we want to find out how to best learn, research and work in the future. The school has now been awarded a Swiss Innovation Award for this project.

Learning in the Digital Laboratory

In spring 2019, the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz conducted a Digital Learning Lab for the first time. Together with teachers and support of 30 external experts from the world of start-ups, science and programming, the students developed and tested their ideas for the ‘School of the Future’. On campus, projects, programs and events were developed, which tested linking digitalisation to traditional teaching and new forms of collaborative learning. These included Digital Balance, Learning Nomads, Student Feedback, Global School, Personal Learning Data Logbook and 3D Simulations in Class.

The digital projects were based on central questions and problems in education: How can we embrace the fact that all students learn at their own pace? How can the experiences of educational trips be shared digitally? How can pupils be enabled to organise their digital time in a meaningful way? And how can feedback on lessons be made more meaningful?

Hot Spots of Creative Technology

In a follow-up project in October, 14 students along with faculty members were able to meet with researchers from the renowned MIT, Harvard University, University of California Berkeley and Stanford University as well as from the software industry in Silicon Valley on an epic ‘tech trip’ full of engaging innovation workshops and technology talks. All students worked on their own projects on digital change during the trip. These resources helped them lay the foundations for their theses and essays and connected them with creative pioneers and drivers of digitisation and data analytics services.

Presentation of the Digital Learning Lab

The Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz was invited to present the Digital Learning Lab project to other schools in Switzerland and at an EDUCA forum of the Swiss Conference of Directors of Education. The symposium was entitled: “Which data usage culture do we want in education?” The Digital Learning Lab is developing a practical approach by encouraging schools to reach their potential by shaping their own processes and programs.

At a kick-off event for the InnHub of miaEngiadina at the Lyceum Alpinum, we were also able to present our contributions to the future of learning. The Co-Working-Space of renowned architect Lord Norman Foster in La Punt plans to connect our school and the Engadine educational site with the world of international education, innovations and start-ups and create a thinking space for the school of the future.

Swiss Innovation Award

On 30 October 2019, the Digital Learning Lab was awarded a Swiss Innovation Award for innovative development as part of Spotlight Switzerland - Digital Transformation at School at the Campus Seminar in Zurich. Thanks to the publicity surrounding the prize, a delegation from Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz was then invited to be one of the projects presented at the international HundrED Innovation Summit in Helsinki in November 2019, where innovative educational projects from all over the world were presented. The Swiss Innovation Award is a recognition of the combined work of teachers, experts and students and supports our development as a school of the future. At the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz, we want to utilize the opportunities of digitisation and international networking while creating a balance in which learning in community and experiencing nature also have a high priority. The Swiss Innovation Award encourages us to believe that we are on the right track towards an awarding future.

Interconnectedness

The Digital Learning Lab is an experimental space suitable for all school communities and educational institutions. The workshops follow a ‘hackathon’ format and focus on central aspects of learning: cooperation, research, exchange and individual curiosity. For two days, the ideas are driven to ‘project maturity’ in a collaborative experiment. The drivers behind the Digital Learning Lab, opendata.ch, Kickstart Innovation and the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz do not see digitisation only in technical terms, but rather in social ones. They want to encourage schools to shape the discourse about the opportunities and risks of digitisation and to share the results with other educational institutions.

Balance in Learning

New media and devices not only provide us with new possibilities, but also have the power to permanently tie us to the screen as we spend a lot of time in a virtual environment. In an increasingly digital world, balance must, therefore, be assigned particular importance. In the future, schools will have to pay special attention to the role of teaching concentration, conversation, creativity and perseverance. At the Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz we strive to achieve this balance: Our students should be ready for the digital future and be able to use and shape technology. At the same time, they should learn to get involved in the full range of education and root themselves in culture, nature and society. For us, this balance is at the core of innovative education.

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