COOL – Cooperative Open Learning a model-project
from Steyr, Upper Austria spreading all over Austria
- Project was initiated by a very engaging team of teachers and has been put to work in our three-year business-oriented school-model since 1996 and transported over to Handelsakademie (five-year with final exams) four years later.
- it is based on the principles of the Dalton-plan (USA):
- Freedom - freedom to choose what is learned and when – all within a student’s own responsibility to achieve a learning progress
- Co-operation – cooperation with other team-members
- Budgeting time – the planning and self-organization
- the concept was first introduced within a development co-operation between schools in the Netherlands and Denmark.
- at the business-school HAK Steyr this principle is used with 5 classes emphasizing on human resources with a special focus on soft skills and in our three-year-school-model
- 2001 the center of cooperative open learning was founded (sponsored by the Federal Austrian Ministry of Education) with the goal to spread the idea, involve partners in networking-activities and continuously develop the concept – this is also done by organizing courses for interested teacher across Austria.
- 24 certified impulse-giving schools participate in a continuing development of this innovative form of teaching.
- 2004 the quality-brand „cool-networkpartner“ was introduced, 32 schools have become certified so far. 80 more schools have adopted the system and over 1000 teachers have knowledge of the concept and partially use it during their classroom-work.
- 2006 was the start of the eCool-intiative to integrate eLearning into the concept of cooperative open learning within a blended-learning-setting.
Which relevance does COOL have during daily work?
- work is done within teacher-teams who meet on a regular basis
- work with students is done using written activities – with workplans and – whenever useful involving several subjects.
- open learning phases are an integral part of the schedule having the goal of openness: students can choose what to do when.
- class-council: functioning as a steering-group to solve problems and strengthen communicative skills a class-council is held regularly with topics that students consider important to be solved.
- reflection and evaluation of classroom-work and work within the team
Where are the advantages for employers of COOL-alumni?
- targeted education for future employees having good „soft skills“ and self- and social-competences, developed elearning-skills towards life-long-learning
- life-long-learning (for example: using elearning-platforms outside of regular course-times,)
- quality-management by standardization (i.e. structured eportfolios for application for employment…)
What activities are performed by the Center of cooperative open learning in Steyr?
(staff members: 3 in Steyr, 3 regional coordinators in Vienna, Linz and Bregenz)
development of curriculum
- development of content of curriculum with practical content focusing on „open learning“, „social competence“ and „soft skills“
- analysis, review and rating of innovative reform-paedagogical concepts regarding their use and implementation in the secondary school system
- development, evaluation and monitoring of new paedagogical/didactical models to be used in classes using information technology „it-classrooms, notebook-classes,…) in vocational schools.
- development of course-material to be used in this form of education
- design and development of infrastructure for the conception, organization and monitoring of the academic-level teacher-training „social competence by cooperative open learning“.
- development of a center of education focusing on social competence and reform-paedagogical concepts for teachers in vocational schools.
- development, administration and support of a school-network for continuous development of innovative approaches in the areas involving our project-goals (self-direct learning-forms, key-qualifications, social competences,...)
- development and administration of a information- and coordination-center (virtual info-room, library, video-library,...)
- cooperation with scientific institutions (universities, private institutions,...) both inland and abroad regarding information-exchange, results of latest research in the fields of paedagogy, didactics, social competences and evaluation.
- co-operation with universities in the field of research and development (project-seminars in the fields of open learning, social competence and emphasis on different subjects.,...)
- contact with industrial partners to maintain a good connection with local businesses and a focus on practical orientation especially regarding soft skills and social competence
- public relations