e-learning - a part of regular school life
eLSA is an innovative project initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture in Austria for students aged 10 to 15. It is the main objective of the eLSA network to make e-learning part of regular school life, thus fundamentally modernizing and adjusting didactics to the requirements of the world students live in.
In 2002 eLSA started as a pilot project including four schools and was a few months later extended to nine schools, each of which was located in one of the nine Austrian provinces.
In autumn 2004 eLSA II started with 15 new schools and in 2009 a high profile ‘eLSA advanced’ project was initiated taking e-learning to an even higher level.
The ‘eLSA advanced’ project includes eleven top eLSA-certified schools, and by spring 2011 there were 130 member schools. Now there is ‘eLSA advanced’, ‘eLSA’ and ‘eLSA associated’.
The additional value of e-teaching was systematically evaluated by the University of Innsbruck to give reason for initiating the project.
Since the beginning eLSA teachers have been working on implementing e-teaching and e-learning in their lessons by offering students a variety of didactically meaningful, diverse and creative tasks online.
Cooperation, exchange and transfer of knowledge between the schools has been supported and furthered by a nationwide eLSA platform put online in March 2006.
Also, international cooperation is encouraged, so there always is a high proportion of eLSA schools participating in international e-Twinning and Comenius projects.
The secret of writing the ‘eLSA success story’ is the challenging demand for a school to commit itself to theeLSAgoals before joining the project. Therefore it is essential to convince a qualified majority of teachers as well as the administrative staff in a school of the additional value of e-learning.
Once participating in the network eLSA schools need to document their transformation into an eLSA school. Schools are required to undertake a three year certification process before being rewarded by being awarded the title ‘Certified eLSA School’.
Present goals of the eLSA network focus on internet safety, quality management, mobile and game based learning, virtual and personalized learning environments and even more cooperation between teachers, as the challenges a modern teacher is confronted with today are hardly manageable by one person alone, at least it is less fun!
Project manager: MR Mag. Helmut StemmerFederal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture, Dept. I/9 A-1010 Vienna, Rosengasse 8
Erika Hummer, Walter Hermann