You may be wondering…who were all those people at Acera last week?  

In a first of its kind AceraEI “Acera Fellows” experience, we had 14 Danish school leaders and teachers visiting last week, taking in our practices as they ponder how to upgrade schools in Denmark. They came to us through Play@Heart, a project that aims to explore how playful approaches can contribute to children’s learning about and with technology. Their visit and time was funded by the Lego Foundation, with AceraEI receiving a fee for providing the experience.  

The visitors spoke a lot about mindset, culture, and choice. They saw this present at Acera, in visceral ways, ways that they want to bring alive in their own schools! They saw:  

  • Kids who are engaged and who clearly want to be at school.
  • The way students run inside after recess. They are thrilled to get back to their work!
  • A math teacher who said “I’m not sure about that. I need to go home and learn more. I am not sure you have the right answer, but you are on to something about how you are thinking about the problem.”  … instead of saying, “no that answer is wrong.” The teacher modeled openness, growth mindset, and valued effort and problem solving persistence, not just a right answer.
  • A passion for learning from adults and children alike, both a visible passion as well as systems to support it, like Inquiry, Maker and Passion (IMP) Projects! 
  • The power of language of a teacher saying to her class “I invite you to give feedback to this.”  
  • An Acera teacher coaching one of the Danish visitors by saying “When you talk to kids, please get down to their level.” 
  • The way we interact with the children: a playground conflict with a student being managed through perspective taking and accountability to grow student awareness of impact on others. 
  • Writing, technology, and integration of content areas across the curriculum. Learning was not happening in “separate silos, but fully integrated, as it is in the world.”
  • A vibrant and engaging – rather than sterile – playground.
  • How much choice students have both in Creativity Stations, and electives, but also through the day to learn and share in ways that best engage them. 

What is next with our Denmark relationship?  

An array of future partnership opportunities are being considered, including workshops, professional development, and access to Acera’s Tools to Transform Schools. The Danish teachers will be presenting on how they have changed their practice and school systems at the Tech and Play conference in Denmark in October! 

These are valuable opportunities to leverage Acera as a hub of innovation. If you’re curious to learn about AceraEI and its mission to catalyze change in education as a separately funded entity within Acera, visit the AceraEI website.

All the best, 

Courtney Dickinson is Acera’s Founder & Head of School.