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Issue #5                                                                                 April 2020

Dear reader,
Welcome to SWIRL project

If you have received our previous SWIRL newsletter, then you might know that SWIRL aims to enhance the development of teaching and learning methods and contents, to ensure students gain appropriate competences for future working life and make learning more attractive. SWIRL supports new forms of working through new forms of learning: letting VET students collect, execute and present real-job tasks using the latest pedagogical and digital tools.

In this newsletter we would like to present you the progress we have been making within the project and some news from the partnership:

SWIRL Platform

Join SWIRL platform available online!

SWIRL platform has 3 main functionalities:

First of all, the platform functions as a place for VET educators and trainerscompany representatives as well as interested students to communicate with each other, express their ideas and questions, or/and monitor and complete tasks which are assigned to the students. Furthermore, the platform serves as the online resource base where all other developed Intellectual Outputs of the project will be available as Open Educational Resources (OERs). All the Intellectual Outputs will be available, free of charge and in a format that allows the adaption to local circumstances.

Finally, the platform facilitates the community of all SWIRL stakeholders, directly and indirectly involve or interested in the project. Facilities for discussion or sharing are now available on our project’s Online Platform for Vet education. This allows all members of the community to become an integral part of the product development. Moreover, the aforementioned Online Platform with its lively community of learners in conjunction with experts in the VET field will ensure that the regional and international networks will stay intact and active after the project has finished.

Take the opportunity to increase your VET knowledge and skills through project’s platform and training material! You can find the platform and the educational material are available here!


About the last Project Meeting

6th Transnational meeting online!

On the 27th of March 2020, the SWIRL-consortium was ready for their 6th transnational meeting which was held online.

The SWIRL project enhances the development of teaching and learning methods and contents, to ensure students gain appropriate competences for future working life and make learning more attractive. SWIRL supports new forms of working through new forms of learning: letting VET students collect, execute and present real job task using the latest pedagogical and digital tools.

The project meeting was held online on 27 March 2020, during when partners discussed how the COVID -19 will affect the SWIRL project. The final meeting and multiplier event in May were postponed in December 2020. The travel is not possible, and the schools are closed, and all partners are working from home. Moreover, each partner, was supposed to organise a multiplier event in each partner country to disseminate the project to the regional network, but this cannot take place gathering or people is not allowable anymore. The SWIRL project will be extended by the end of December 2020.

We finalised the final IO2 and IO3 and SWIRL Online Platform. For more information on the project and its ongoing developments please visit the project websiteFacebook page, and Twitter page.

Partners news

Different kind of school days this spring – students are learning from home

Vocational Education and Training Institute SEDU, Finland

The spring 2020 is very different from any springs before in Vocational Education and Training Centre SEDU. The school is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and SEDU students and teachers are working from home. Distance teaching and learning has meant new challenges for everyone, and teachers and students have had to adopt a completely new way of learning and teaching.

Luckily, there are multiple online tools and applications available and the support from the school IT and digital teaching department have enabled an amazing digital leap in a very short time. Teachers were given training in the use of distant learning tools such as Microsoft Teams and Moodle and now, they are giving their lessons through video conferencing and different kinds of distance learning platforms.

Student’s point of view
SEDU students have been learning from home three weeks now, and the school carried out a survey to find out how students have experienced this new situation. The students were invited to send their comments and pictures about their daily lives. This is how Lotta Rajala, a 17-year-old business administration student at SEDU describes the new situation and distance learning:

"Distance learning is going well for me. I like the independency and that I can do all the school assignments at my own pace. One thing I do not like is that it is sometimes more difficult to understand the assignment when you do not have the teacher standing next to you and explaining what is expected from you. When working from home, I have more responsibility on my assignments and learning than I had before in school."

"My daily rhythm has also changed. I sleep a bit later than in normal days, and I also stay up later than normally. This is not so good. Because assignments are not due in the morning but later in the afternoon, I have a plenty of time to finish them."
"The equipment I use are mainly my laptop and my phone. The most important applications are Word processing programme, Whatsapp and my pocket calculator. I have also used Powerpoint, Geocaching and a map. Video lessons are nice, I like them, although technical problems are sometimes really annoying, when the microphone does not work etc. The assignments have not been too difficult and teachers have used new methods to teach, which have made learning more interesting."

The school closure and SWIRL project
The schools are closed in Finland until 13 May, and possibly longer depending on the developments in the virus situation. SEDU has also restricted the number of incoming and outgoing mobilities until the end of July. For the SWIRL project this means that the final project meeting and multiplier events both locally and in Brussels will be postponed until later this year.
As Lotta describes above, during the distance learning period , students will learn new digital skills and how to take more responsibility of their own learning. These are also aims in the SWIRL project, and the project platform with student learning materials provides an additional learning environment for the use of teachers and students to during the school closure. When the pandemic is over, schools and companies can start working together again to create partnerships and join forces to recover from the crisis.

Top tips for remote work for businesses

Institute of Entrepreneurship Development, Greece

To save the planet from the current epidemic of the coronavirus, businesses worldwide have decided to start adopting a remote work policy for their employees. It is a way to keep the business safe, to keep the employees healthy and of course, to help the company continue its course and operations.

By working remotely, employees have the chance to continue completing their tasks. Most of the businesses nowadays have an online presence and, especially those that only offer services will be able to continue working through these difficult times. However, a lot of company

employees do not have any experience in remote work.

If this is the very first time your company has had to work on a remote level then, you and your employees will need to adjust to certain policies that could prove to be quite difficult in the very beginning. However, in this article, we will try to attempt to give you a few simple yet important tips that you will need to follow when it comes to working remotely for a business. These tips will be separated between business and employees. Let’s start with the business.

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Opportunities and threats of remote working for a company

Institute of Entrepreneurship Development, Greece

The business world goes through difficult times quite often. At the moment, we are being threatened by the coronavirus Covid 19. In the past, other viruses shook the very foundation of the business world. In the future, there will be more. And viruses are just one of the many different factors that could change the way the business world works.

The world labor market is changing daily. There was a time when remote working was considered to be a very risky process for a company out there. Nowadays and due to current situations, remote working is growing more and more

popular. It has been proven that the concept of remote working has a lot to offer in the world of business.

Yes, of course, there are opportunities and there are threats as well. Remote working is definitely the new model of working and until all businesses adapt to it and all the different types of strategies have been created, there will always be problems when it comes to remote working. However, we must not turn our eyes away from the opportunities that remote working can provide for both the businesses as well as the employees.

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How to prepare for emergency remote work

Institute of Entrepreneurship Development, Greece

Remote work is a fast-growing trend that is proving to be very effective in various fields of work. There are many different reasons why a company might require remote working from the employees. Unfortunately, at the moment we are going through a difficult time with the pandemic of the Covid 19 virus right outside our doors and remote work is a true solution to many.

Of course, just because this virus has now appeared that does not mean it is the reason why remote working is something companies might need. However, because of this bad situation, we have come to realize that nowadays companies are not a hundred percent ready to establish a remote work protocol in case of an emergency.

In particular, according to studies over the past few weeks, only 30% of business leaders believe that their organization is ready to rise in remote work. At the same time, less than 10% of the business leaders agree that the organization or

business they worked for has the right foundations needed to manage and have a sustainable growth development in a digital economy. After all, remote working is the definition of a digital economy.

Last but not least, a stunning 38% of workers appear not to have any training on how they can remotely work from home. Training that needs to be provided by the business they work for. This is a great concern for businesses worldwide seeing as now with the threat of the virus, many businesses have no alternative for their employees other than working remotely.

In this article, we are going to attempt to give you a few guidelines on exactly how you can prepare your business and how you can train your employees for remote work. We are going to highlight the most important tasks that will need to be taken care of, starting from the most important ones and moving forward.

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EPALE's thematic focus from April to June is on Digital skills as a way of accessing learning opportunities in a society becoming increasingly digitalised and inter-connected, and even more during emergency situations such as the one we are currently facing.

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UNESCO has published a list of educational applications and platforms to help parents, teachers, schools and school administrators facilitate student learning and provide social care and interaction during periods of school closure.

Read more

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Project n° 2017-1-FI01-KA202-034750
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