Introducing playlists to Salesianos Pamplona’s teachers, what experience!
Written by Miren Garate*
In April, I had the opportunity to participate in the 2nd project meeting of Let’s Play VET. We had the pleasure to host this meeting and welcome project partners who came from Italy, Hungary, Lithuania and Belgium. During this session, our school got involved in focus group one for teachers and other for students. But why? We want a project that tackles both target groups. Discover how their involvement was reading my own experience!
Involving target groups since the beginning
This occasion was a golden opportunity to start to see in reality how the development of learning playlist could have an impact in my school, Salesianos of Pamplona. We organised, together with UNISER and Badgetcraft a focus group with four teachers from the Department of graphic arts. The goal of this activity was to analyze what are the needs that are needed in regulated education post-compulsory of a medium-level training cycle in Vocational Education Training, specifically digital pre-printing. Imagine, the first steps of the project and we were involving teachers to understand our/your needs.
What are the main problems?
Teachers from our centre detected that one of the main problems for students is MOTIVATION. Indeed, imagine how teaching professionals can keep the attention of students during classes or engage them with curricula. But, this is why Salesianos of Pamplona decided to get involved in Let’s Play VET: introducing an innovative teaching method which will support students to find their passions while learning. Therefore, this can help to tackle the second problem: students’ involvement and active participation during lessons. I am sure that you already understand what we are talking about as a teacher.
A new approach
New teaching methods should be as innovative as based on teamwork. This is key to develop tolerance, motivation, engagement not only for students but also for teachers.
As a Graphic Design Department Director, I found that the Let’s Play VET project will surely improve learning methodology for students but also it will introduce new technologies, which indeed, are already present in their life. Combination of devices that are already using can be a key tool to engage them and understand that they can develop their passions even during the lessons (which normally they found not that exciting). The main advantages of the use of digital tools according to my experience in the Classroom platform are:
- The students by themselves easily obtain their needed information, such as emails or work delivery dates.
- It is an excellent way to promote the responsibility of the students and to organize their work.
- Learn that it is a safe place to store your documents.
Though the great advantages of digital platforms, we should beware of the difficulties that this platform can bring. I am sure you know what I am talking about: how to be sure that they are focused on their task rather than playing online. This is an issue that we will observe during the project development and I will keep you updated.
As a teacher I firmly believe that this innovative methodology will place students at the centre of the teaching, matching with their passions and needs. Even more, learning playlists will boost their creativity and develop that motivation that seemed to be lost on the learning path. Let’s prepare future professionals with a teamwork spirit!
What about students?
Yes, even we had the opportunity to organise a focus group with students. Let’s Play VET has two target groups: teachers but also students. Therefore we could not develop the platform of playlists without taking into account their point of view.
Eight students from our school of the first course of pre-printing in graphic arts (from 16 to 18 years old) were invited to share their main concerns, taste or passions while they work online. We were really interested to find out where they get their learning resources to become a good graphic designer.
Students’ passions: a mystery?
Have you ever stopped to ask students what are the real passions? That is exactly what we did during the focus group. We found out that all had in common their passion for photography and text editing with digital retouching programs, text processing to create posters, magazines and digital publications.
Out of traditional passions, we found that they love Youtube, Instagram or to visit graphic design websites. How do they learn outside of curricula? Visiting graphic design websites with tutorials from programs such as photoshop, illustrator or InDesign where they find interesting tutorials and tools as for example new brushes that can then be used in design programs.
Social media: a new window to develop your skills
While talking with the students, indeed we found out the important place that social media platforms such as Instagram or Youtube has in their daily life. But why? Students can see the work of professional photographers or on youtube, they can also see videos with very interesting information in general where experts in the field talking and teaching effects. Afterwards, they will apply to their own photos and in this way share and learn everything that you can do in your jobs. They find it very rewarding to see what others do to be able to learn but they are young people who also like to share their own layout work, photographs or designs on online platforms so that other people can see them.
Not everything is perfect
Students are realistic, and they understand that Instagram can find unreliable profiles of people. Besides, they look for more casual wording instead of too technical. As a teacher I can understand as they already get the technical talks in class, the online world will offer them a fresher approach.
Another of the problems they can fear, even myself I find this one: language. Most of the interesting pages are in other languages and sometimes they don’t find subtitles to fully understand the content.
In short, they are young self-taught with affinities and tastes for design and photography that use social networks and platforms that are on the Internet to continue expanding the knowledge they acquire in school.
As you can see some of the teachers’ fears are also shared by students. Thanks to Let’s Play VET we will find a new educational approach, that I strongly think will be positive for both.
*Miren Garate has been working as a graphic department teacher for 23 years. During this time she has dedicated herself to teaching classes in intermediate and higher grade cycles of text processing, collating and raw materials among other subjects. Education is her great vocation and is what she always wanted to dedicate, so she considers herself a lucky person to be able to work on what she likes most. Since 2010 she shares teaching with the head of the graphic department.