Immediately following our meeting at Lin Education, we boarded our coach and headed towards Gothenburg, which is about a five hour drive from Stockholm. We stayed in Gothenburg for two days and nights and visited a few more schools, another Lin Education office, and the Research Institutes of Sweden (RI.SE).
We arrived at Fridaskolan at around 9:30 the next morning (and it rained). Fridaskolan is probably my favourite school out of the all the schools we visited (the Anna Whitlocks Gymnasium is a close second, though). The school building is surrounded by large glass windows, letting natural sunlight in. There is a big grand staircase that leads down to the school cafeteria right by to the main entrance.
As soon as we arrived, we enjoyed a time of Fika which was strawberry panna cotta served with tea / coffee. There were also some students selling smoothies to raise funds for their next school trip! The students can take turns to sell snacks and food at the cafeteria every week to raise money for whatever causes they choose – I love this idea!
Most of the classrooms and activity rooms are located above the cafeteria level with a lot of open spaces as well. The class sizes are quite small with no more than 20 students in a class. Students are also allowed to work in the open spaces outside the classrooms during the lessons as well. There is no bell indicating the beginning or end of a lesson because every level follows a different schedule and timetable. They even have lunch at different times. We got to visit science, design and technology, English, and art classes.
The student that led the school tour for our group could speak fluent Mandarin as well since her mother is Chinese and her father is Swedish. She greeted us and even explained a lot of the things in Mandarin, I felt so ashamed and embarrassed that I could barely understand her!
After the school tour, we headed back down to the cafeteria and enjoyed another delicious free school lunch. Seriously, I’m amazed that free school food can be this good! I also loved seeing the kids sitting on the staircase to eat their lunch as well! It was absolutely adorable!
It was still raining when we had to leave and I was surprised to see that students still played outdoors in the pouring rain! This would never happen in Hong Kong! Schools have a rainy day recess arrangement and all outdoor activities would be cancelled, automatically resulting in indoor or classroom recess.
I absolutely fell in love with this school and secretly wish that I had attended school there when I was young!
Lin Education – Seminar and exchanges with Edtech companies
We visited the Lin Education office on both of the days that we were in Gothenburg. The first day, we were given a seminar by an educational scientist who had been doing research projects in schools and conducted a project called ‘Purified by Fire’ with over 100 students. Students were given various tasks to complete through an online platform. They had to conduct their own research – both online and by exploring local historical locations – to complete missions. They interact with different actors and characters in the game and can play it whenever and wherever they want. It is next level gamification! It was so interesting to hear about the project and how students responded to the experience. What a fun and exciting project to be a part of!
This Lin Edu office was very unique and well-designed as well, the ground level provides a lot of space for comfortable seating for social gatherings and meetings, including a ping pong table, two spiral staircases on opposite sides leading up the employees’ desks and work stations, a meeting area that is linked by a ‘glass bridge’ opposite the work stations, and of course, an area for Fika, fully equipped with a kitchen counter and sink, coffee machine, fridge, cupboards and even a dishwasher! Seriously, why can’t HK offices be like this?!
On the second day, we got to listen to several Edtech companies present about their products and services. I was most impressed by Lexplore, which uses eye-tracking AI technology for reading assessment and intervention. I was selected by the group to test it out and read a sample passage and answered comprehension questions while it tracked my eye-movements. It was really quite amazing!
The other Edtech companies were very innovative as well but I won’t go into detail about them. If you are interested, the links are provided below with brief descriptions.
Soundtrap – An online collaborative platform where people can create music or audio recordings together.
Strawbees – Prototyping, coding, robotics and construction kit using ‘Strawbees’ to connect straws together. Provides activities and solutions for developing skillsets for the future through hands-on exploration, electronics and programming.
Sensavis – Interactive and visual learning tool that can create personalised learning videos, let students learn by exploring and discovering, activate learning by including students in the learning process.
Loops Education – Brings learning objectives together in visual maps designed to engage students and makes learning collaborative.
Polhemsgymnasiet is an upper secondary school located in Lindholmen, Gothenburg. It was founded in 1829 as a branch for younger students out of Chalmers technical university and later became a technical college and upper secondary school in 1937. The school provides preparatory education for universities and has four main programmes – Natural Science, Technical, Economic and Social Science. There are three principals at the school that oversee the different programmes. The areas of development focus in the programmes include formative assessments, development of language in teaching all subjects, and digital development of teaching and teaching digital competence. They also have collaborations and exchanges with other institutions in different countries including China, Spain and Germany. There are also interdisciplinary projects where students work on developing different skills including perspective drawing, modelling, CAD, graphic design, animation, manufacturing, report writing and even public presentation. In their grade 3 programme, they will do a diploma project that includes problem solving and entrepreneurial skills, and finally participate in an exhibition. We got the chance to see the exhibition showcasing students’ architectural designs and models.
Lindholmen Science Park, Chalmers University and RI.SE
We got to take a quick tour around the Chalmers University library where 90% of the books are online. The librarian facilitates and guides students to do research rather than searching or locating books. The library serves more as a space for students to study or do group projects rather than for storing books. Many of the shelves are empty with mostly reference books.
RI.SE, which stands for Research Institutes of Sweden, promotes and encourages research and international collaboration within the industry, academia and public sectors to maintain competitiveness of the Swedish business community and contribute to a sustainable society. The institute offers unique expertise and more than 100 testbeds and demonstration environments for future-proof technologies, products and services. Their research areas cover innovations in AI, digitalisation, health and safety to transport systems, urban development, water, and even the work environment. We got to see the office and work stations of their staff and saw devices and gadgets I had never seen before!
End of Part 8
Continue to Sweden (Part 9)