A DLaB team of teachers from Northampton International Academy, three ITT students and lecturers Helen Caldwell, Jean Edwards, Karen Woolley attended a digital playdate in Aalborg, Denmark to plan this year’s collaboration on the theme of sustainable cities.

International days connecting classrooms in Denmark, England, Norway and Belgium were planned to combine ideas about technology outdoors from year 1 and STEM to STEAM from year 2, with a new focus on language and communication for year 3.

This year’s work will be presented as a series of eBooks and a free online course in May.

Alongside the planning workshops, the group was inspired by visits to the Utzon Centre where they made architectural models and experimented with animation and virtual reality, and to the sea at Løkken, where they looked at coastal erosion, a whole group sustainable cookery session, and a session on graphic facilitation.

English Students in Aalborg, Denmark as part of Digital Learning across Boundaries (DLaB) project. October 2018.

Third year student, Charlotte Bennett, made a film and write up of the visit:

In October 2018, we were given the opportunity to join the DLaB team on a trip to Denmark with the focus on CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning). We collaborated with lecturers, teachers and students from Denmark, Norway and Belgium. On Monday 8th October we travelled to Aalborg in Denmark where we had some welcome baguettes and drinks. After a long journey, we were keen to rest for the night.

On Tuesday 9th October, we met at UCN university for the welcome meeting where we were introduced to this year’s focus on CLIL. We were introduced to some different apps including HP Reveal, Quizlet etc. We were then divided into subgroups for our initial planning. It was very interesting to hear everyone’s ideas about the changes we would have to make for the water level rising which is the main theme for our international days.

“It was fascinating to work with such a diverse group of professionals and be able to share ideas and have your ideas recognised used in our plans and as a student teacher it was great to feel valued.” – Cora.

Afterwards, we visited the local beach in LØkken where we debated coastal erosion and whether anything should be done to stop it. The expert shocked us with the fact that 2 metres of land is lost to the sea each year. We also discussed whether or not it was possible to do anything to save the houses on the coastal line. We saw a dead jellyfish and toad as we explored the coastline. We discovered some Viking remains in the sand as well.

We had dinner near the beach at a lovely restaurant called Havs restaurant. It was a quaint little space with a boat as the till and an amazing kitchen as they were able to cater for us a delicious meal. Then we all had some refreshing naps on the coach back to our hotel.

On Wednesday 10th October, in the morning we walked to the Utzon gallery where we took part in a variety of workshops including making our own Lego towers creating them from a large pit of Lego. Cora could not resist jumping into the big pit of Lego to do some Lego snow angels.

“My feet are so sore from the Lego pit, hopefully they’ll recover soon.” – Cora.

We then renovated our Lego sculptures on Minecraft and then saw our sculptures on Minecraft in virtual reality.

“I really enjoyed the Lego workshop as you could be very innovative and imaginative. It was amazing to use virtual reality to bring your Lego sculpture to life.” – Charlotte.

In addition, we used stop motion video to create a scene using Lego figurines with our Lego sculptures.

“It was interesting to learn through the perspective of a child, I could imagine using the technology as a teacher and as a student.” – Sophie.

After a light lunch, we then completed a workshop renovating our ideas on housing structures and we were able to build housing prototypes on stilts. In the evening, we carried out a cooking workshop where we worked with different people to decipher a cooking recipe which was lots of fun. Cora said

“My favourite thing about the trip was exploring the different foods and diversifying my palette by taking it on a taste vacation” (basically Cora really liked the food).

It was great to taste all the delicious dishes. We then went to the Irish pub with live music where we could enjoy a cocktail and a dance. Then we headed back to the hotel ready for our early start to Urban City.

On Thursday 11th October, we visited the Urban City which was in a large warehouse comprising of refurbished caravans which were individual businesses. We were taken upstairs to the sky room to participate in a graphic facilitation workshop where we learnt how to draw simple characters to display emotion, speech, places and processes. We then visited a local school Seminarieskolen, where we were offered the opportunity to look at different teaching and learning strategies in Denmark.

“It was really interesting to see how other countries have different teaching and learning strategies.” – Charlotte.

We then returned to UCN university where we re-visited the new staff room for a buffet lunch before returning swiftly to our vital planning for our international days. We divided our groups up even more to efficiently complete most of the planning.

“Our planning sessions gave us time to demonstrate our own abilities to other countries but also learn from them as well. I really enjoyed taking part in the discussion where we were all seen as individuals within schooling environments rather than as a hierarchy. Saying goodbye was very difficult as we’d progressed significantly as a group.” – Sophie.

The rest of the stay was devoted to completing our planning in our groups and then we travelled back to Northampton.

We look forward to having our international buddies come visit England to reconnect and complete our MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). We can’t wait to show everyone our brand new campus and show you how great Northampton is.

By Charlotte Bennett, Cora Taylor and Sophie Price (3rd Year Primary Education students in University of Northampton