To celebrate the completion of our project results and to share our experiences gained throughout our project, the Smart Hands partners organised a final internationally oriented event in Brussels on December 6th. The afternoon took place at Muntpunt library in the heart of the city. We were joined by teachers, education practitioners and policy makers plus workfield representatives from various countries. It featured presentations and workshops to introduce the participants fully to the Smart Hands way of organising education.
Eileen Blackmore in her opening statement gave insights into how ‘head’ and ‘hand’ type of work got separated over time in the workplace and the urgent need for (re)valuation of smart craftswomen and men and the role education can play in this. She demonstrated the Smart Hands School Leader Guide as a toolkit to structurally adopt policy and practice throughout a school, facilitating an integrated way of working together in a cross subject manner rather than a fragmented approach.
To give teachers a complimentary resource to work with, Frank Hiddink demonstrated the Smart Hands Teacher Guide as a hands-on resource for teachers to arrange their lessons in a multidisciplinary way. The Teacher Guide allows teachers to review what they already have in terms of lesson materials and assignments and to effectively seek the cooperation with colleagues, parents and the workfield to truly put the A in STEAM. The Teacher Guide comes with a portfolio of Smart Hands assignments, tested in practice and ready to be used by teachers inside and outside the classroom right away.
Minna Haataja made it clear that the Smart Hands approach is not only confined to school and school time. Via various examples of intergenerational learning she showed how at home (grand)parents can facilitate the discovery of the talents and interests of youngsters.
The late afternoon featured a Smart Hands workshop based on the Smart Hands Kit, led by Eileen. The Smart Hands Kit is a set of cards to brainstorm together with other teachers of other disciplines to create new multi-disciplinary lessons or workshops together, right op the spot. The main focus of using these cards is to combine the head to the hands and make lessons more tangible and easier to understand. The participants worked together in small groups and enthusiastically came to various new ideas for cross subject assignments for pupils! All of them got a deck of cards to take home with them and introduce the concept to their colleagues. The Kit comes with instructions and is available in professionally printed form and will be featured digitally as well on our Smart Hands website for download.
After this fruitful working session, the participants and organising Smart Hands partners enjoyed an informal drink together at Muntpunt’s library café to further discuss the insights gained today.