Description of Nordic CRAFT
CRAFT has been expanded to the Nordic countries right now including 8 Nordic countries. The project is called Nordic CRAFT and is lead by the steering committee Nordic@CRAFT; Utbildingsstyrelsen (FI), The Ministry of Children and Education/Agency of IT and Learning (DK), Skolverket (SE) and Utdanningsdirektoratet/The Norwegian Directorate For Education and Training (NO).
Nordic CRAFT is a practice-oriented initiative which reflects several of the student’s competencies currently discussed in relation to the 21st century skills, such as collaboration, problem solving, innovation, communication, critical thinking and Computational Thinking (CT). Nordic CRAFT builds on the vision that the Nordic countries are to be leading in relation to teaching CT in primary and lower secondary school, and that the Nordic students are to be the world’s absolute best at problem solving through technology, collaboration and critical thinking etc.
Nordic CRAFT contributions and members
In 2019 Nordic CRAFT has contributed to the competence development of both teachers and students in primary school, but also to an increased collaboration across 8 Nordic countries and self-government areas.
The participants have been provided with networks and ressources by the eTwinning-platform and the network, and in this way they have received help, knowledge, inspiration and feedback on innovative teaching with an innovative use of technology.
The following countries are currently a part of Nordic CRAFT: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Åland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
The next three years Nordic CRAFT is focusing on Sustainability, which the Nordic Prime Ministers agreed on promoting in 2015.
The CRAFT framework
CRAFT is an open frame that brings all school subjects into play, both separately within the subjects and cross-curricular. The project is envisioned as a renewal of the subjects and as an umbrella term for working with IT, problem solving, and innovation on global challenges and with authentic recipients. It is a method to develop good teaching and reflection by incorporating the 21st century skills as part of the didactics.
Nordic CRAFT offers a network and resources to the Nordic teachers who sign up in the eTwinning portal, where they can find help, seek knowledge, inspiration and feedback. The students get access to resources so that they can improve their innovation processes and learn how to research, present and collaborate as well as how to use and create technology as a supporting element.
CRAFT connected to the school subjects
A great amount of the students’ projects connect innovation and the use of IT to the subject area. This is either because the frame has been scientific or humanistic from the beginning – or because the students’ work and problem solving requires an academic understanding.
The Nordic CRAFT derives from the Danish CRAFT concept. Denmark is having a festival (The Danish Learning Festival) to celebrate the learning of the CRAFT teams and they are awarded in different categories; IT-use, Collaboration, Innovation and Problem solving. A new Sustainability-award is presented in 2020.
Example 1: The IT-prize for the Danish CRAFT event 2018 went to the group Future Box. The students had programmed and printed a solution to fight micro-plastic in the oceans. Their project stemmed from the topic “The Oceans around Us” in their school subject ‘Nature and Technology’.
Example 2: The Danish Innovation-prize 2017 went to DynoBank. In this project, the stud
ents had decided to solve their own problem (discharged mobile phones in the morning) and suggested a solution (a power bank that charges through a dynamo on the bike). For this project the pupils applied knowledge about DC / AC conversion, which by far exceeded their age level. Here, the pupils included subject knowledge from physics/chemistry.
Example 3: Within the auspices of eTwinning, there has also been a focus on the 21st century skills, for example in a joint project between a class in year 9 in Norway (lower secondary) and a Danish class in year 4 (intermediate stage). For this project the topic was “Plastic – what do we do?”. The older pupils planned out a programme, where they taught the younger pupils about plastic and the consequences of the use of plastic in society. The goals of the project were:
Collaboration across national borders
Focus on the 21st century skills
Strengthening the students’ ability to impart knowledge
Completing a collaboration experiment between students from intermediate stage and lower secondary education
Focus on problem and options in relation to a global climatic challenge
Furthermore, the teachers point out that CRAFT is particularly well-suited to prepare the students for the final oral exams in the different subjects, when they must orally present and argue academically face to face to an external jury, as they do in the annual CRAFT competition in Copenhagen.
Once a year the Nordic participants gather at a conference where they share knowledge, exchange experiences and plan out next year’s collaborations and where the students present their solutions to each other in a learning festival. The festival is also a competition and will consist of Nordic projects enrolled in the eTwinning platform. It will be a competition as the value of working with taxonomies within the framework of the 21st century skills can increase the level of knowledge and the connection to practice.