The figure above shows the criteria of CoVEs Skillman.eu has elaborated to a self-assessment tool as a basis for the continuous further development of VET providers
ITECH has maintained close ties with international partners for years. We intensified our strategy for internationalization with international projects involving agile virtual expert teams embedded in three week hackathons.
Based on those innovative approaches ITECH was involved in Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ applications. Finally, in June 2021, ITECH signed the Memorandum of Understanding with Skillman.eu, a large worldwide network of institutions committed to innovations in teaching, learning and exchange for high quality VET especially in advanced manufactoring.
The educational opportunities offered by the “Berufliche Schule ITECH Elbinsel Wilhelmsburg” are diverse. “ITECH” offers dual vocational training in information technology, electrical and chemical engineering. Apart from vocational training, our school enables our students to prepare for future training, to gain the general higher entrance qualification (Abitur) or the subject-related entrance qualification on a full-time level. From 2021, we will offer a study-integrated training program in cooperation with the “Berufliche Hochschule Hamburg (Bachelor Computer Science)”.
About 2,000 students are enrolled in our 3-year-programs of vocational training (software development / IT systems engineering / chemical engineering / electrical engineering).
These programs are a combination of school and training embedded in a real-life work environment (companies). Up to 200 students take part in the full-time programs in order to prepare for vocational training or further educational programs. There are about 80 teachers and 10 non-educational employees. In addition to having many students with a migration background, since 2015 there has been a comparatively larger proportion of trainees with a refugee background especially in the area of information technology professions.
Our challenges and resulting developments
The heterogeneity of our students requires individual solutions that optimally support all students and ensure educational equality. Over the last few years, we have therefore already intensively developed innovative concepts in all areas that overcome these challenges and implement them constructively in our everyday school life.
Our students need, depending on their individual background:
- Intensive personal support
- Language support that also takes into account the job-specific requirements
- Instructional offers that enable close integration with the rapidly changing requirements of professional reality (keyword "digitalization")
Furthermore, we are in the process of building a support system for high-achieving students through scholarships and thereby allow them to take part in our exchange programs.
Over the past six years at ITECH we have changed our teaching culture towards individualized
and self-organized learning, a concept called "SkiL" which stands for self-responsible competence-oriented individualised learning. About 50 colleagues had been involved in this successful project. We are used to working in agile teams and developing learning arrangements together. We regularly involve other schools and institutes in our work. This gives us experience of community work beyond the school boundaries. We offer learning arrangements with individual learning paths.
As teachers we are rather facilitators and participating observers than instructors. We help students achieve their goals by making them think about their experiences and their knowledge, by assisting them to structure their goals and work, by being a learning and discussion partner on eye level. Agile planning tools are used on a regular basis. During the Covid-19 pandemic we have changed our learning environment to virtual learning within 2 weeks. We have received positive feedback from companies, students and colleagues about this process. We are now the first vocational school in Hamburg to pilot a blended learning concept which can also be used after the pandemic. We have already conducted the first purely virtual exchange with partners in Taiwan and the USA in September 2020. This was a three weeks program with 42 students.
Recently started processes
We often work in projects or even offer the chance to take part in (international) hackathons or interdisciplinary design thinking workshops. The aim of these workshops is to promote design thinking, entrepreneurship and information technology and to integrate them into innovative business models. Design Thinking combines creative and critical thinking, making it possible to organize information, ideas and decision making, to improve situations and to gain new knowledge. Based on this model, students are challenged to solve problems according to customer needs and behaviour. These very special learning settings promote work-based learning in all its forms with special attention to apprenticeships, by involving social partners, companies and VET providers as well as stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship.
All participants come together in international and interdisciplinary teams in order to develop ideas and solutions. By creating sustainable concepts and producing prototypes the participants prove themselves in a field of tension between design thinking, agile project management and intercultural challenges. The workshop is being complemented by lectures by professors as well as business experts. Our teaching staff addresses technical, economic and design aspects.
The focus of our Design Thinking Workshops is innovation that addresses the challenges of the economy in regards to finding ways that include the full value of natural resources. Main characteristics of our student´s solutions are resource re-use, environmental performance and green IT. Participants of our workshops have developed special interest and sensibility for sustainability such as food waste, waste prevention or upcycling.
As a school with about 1,400 IT students enrolled we do have a strong IT background. We use the learning management system Moodle as well as the e-portfolio platform Mahara and integrate further digital tools such as BigBlueButton, Trello, MindMeister, Padlet and LinkedIn Learning, but also Socrative, Mentimeter, Kahoot! and the like, in order to collaboratively exchange positions, collect statistics and check what has been learned - also in competition and playfully. We regularly evaluate the possibilities of the platforms and tools and adapt them in the sense of a continuous improvement process. To ensure that all systems relevant to our teaching/learning offerings can be used reliably, flexible, securely and with high performance, we offer a very well-developed WLAN and LAN with self-contained subnetworks for different user groups and provide the digital learning and work platforms in such a way that they can be used from any learning and work location. We use redundancy and protection methods to ensure high availability (24/7) and data protection. In fall/winter 2019, we brought all these measures together in our digitization concept "digITECH" and applied for the delina innovation award for digital education. We achieved second place in the "Education and Training" category.
Interfaces for collaboration
iTech is open for a partnership in following areas:
- Erasmus+ Partnership with Centres of VET Excellence
- Development of Teacher Training for Agile Workshop Formats
- Design of Hackathons for Education for Sustainable Development
- Testbed for the Evaluation of the Approach SkiL and the agile workshop formats
- Development and Recognition of Micro-Credentials
- Level5 Recognition
- International Mobility of Apprentices
- Development of the Vocational University including IVET
For more information, please contact: