Hi everyone! My name is Leslie Ahern and I just started working as a Copywriter on the itslearning Global Marketing team. (You might have noticed a new face and name pop up at the top of this blog page.) I’ll be writing about the company and the learning platform, but first let me tell you a bit about myself.
I’m from the United States and I moved to Bergen, Norway 18 years ago. Before working for itslearning, I was a teacher for more than twenty years. I taught English, songwriting and translating, among other subjects. For many years, I was the vocalist and lyricist in a band called Tweeterfriendly Music. I’m excited to be working for itslearning now, a company that helps teachers teach!
I have great respect for the art of teaching because I know how hard it is! I’m proud to be part of a team making a learning platform that teachers enjoy using. I was able to experience this firsthand when teachers Bård-Inge Heggholmen and Martin Egset-Linneke visited our office. They came with 11 students (aged 18 and 19) from their Media and Communication class at Akademiet, an upper secondary school in Bergen. The class presented us with an excellent short film they made to demonstrate the benefits of itslearning.
This project was conceived in January, 2012, when my itslearning colleague Morten Fahlvik asked Akademiet teacher Bård-Inge Heggholmen if his students would like to make a film for our company website. The class was up to the challenge! One of the objectives of the film was to demonstrate how itslearning can support teaching. Another goal was to leave viewers with the feeling that they could easily use itslearning themselves, encouraging them to click through our website to learn more.
Work on the project started in the fall of 2012. The students were divided into four groups, each responsible for presenting itslearning from a different perspective: teacher, student, school leader and graphics/special effects. Over the course of the school year, the class completed various stages of production, their efforts culminating in an impressive display of creativity and hard work.
On June 3, my colleagues and I gathered in a meeting room at our office to watch the students debut their film. It was received with resounding applause. After the viewing, itslearning employees chose a winning group based on which group was most successful in presenting our company. The winning team consisted of Maria Kristine Stavang, Didrik Vågenes Bødtker and Lene Aarbø Svendsen. Each team member was awarded an iPad mini.
After the viewing, I had the opportunity to chat with one of the teachers, Martin Egset-Linneke. Martin was pleased with the project’s result, calling it “a high-quality film that puts both itslearning and Akademiet in a good light.” “The project was extremely rewarding because it gave the students real-world experience,” he said. “Instead of choosing their own themes and working individually, they were given a client with a specific product to promote and were forced to collaborate. This brought out the strengths of each student. Instead of competing, they complemented each other, which resulted in a better product.”
Our itslearning contact Morten acted the part of the “demanding client” presenting students with deadlines and asking them to revise their work several times. At times the students felt like the customer would never be satisfied; just how a real-world client might make them feel. Morten reflects, “I was 100% sure that they would succeed with a great film”. He is extremely pleased with the results.
The project gave itslearning employees insight into how secondary school students work with itslearning. It also allowed us to connect with our local community of itslearning users. I enjoyed chatting with students over pizza after the film was shown. I asked them ‘What’s the most unusual place you’ve logged onto itslearning?’ Answers ranged from “on horseback” to “while snowboarding” to “I think I’ve been on itslearning everywhere.”
Maiken Spjeld Sørensen said that the students use itslearning all the time at school. “We call it our Bible. It’s holy,” she said. Malin Fjell Olsen added that, at Akademiet, teachers have to use itslearning. “If the teacher forgets to put a class in the calendar, we don’t actually have a class.” Maria Kristine Stavang says she checks her itslearning calendar every morning and evening. “One of my favourite functions is the ability to save files to my ePortfolio and access them later, on any device, to continue working on them,” she said.
This project was a rewarding experience for all of us! My colleagues and I are extremely happy with the new film about the company and are proud to present it on our website and YouTube channel. Here’s the film. Enjoy, and please comment and share!