At Elgoibar Ikastola, the main learning language is Basque, but every student is educated multilingually. The use of IT in education and in the daily lives of students, teachers and parents has always been encouraged. However, it was in 2020 that Elgoibar Ikastola started to progressively digitalize the entire school. They’ve been developing all subjects digitally ever since, and IT has never played a more important role. In a Q&A session, language teacher Miren Arrate Arrieta shared her experience of using COOL classroom management tools on a daily basis.
1. What was it like before you used COOL and what problem(s) were you trying to solve?
The problem we were facing as teachers was that everyday you are dealing with 20 or 25 students in one class, and everyone is working on a computer. But you can’t see their screens. From time to time, you can’t help but feel a bit uncomfortable because you have no idea what the students are doing behind the screens. They can be visiting pages they are not supposed to visit. With COOL Monitoring you have the possibility to have a simple overview of all the websites a student is visiting at the moment. You can also easily block and filter these websites to help the student focus on school tasks. When you have different possibilities to control your classroom, you feel more secure.
2. Where did you start your search for a solution?
Our earlier solution to the problem was to go screen-by-screen checking students’ browsing history, looking at what they are doing. We didn’t know about the existence of COOL until Gert-Jan from the COOL team contacted us. He knew we’ve been using Chromebooks for a few years so he came to us with COOL, and asked if we were ready to try it out. We were of course very interested in the possibilities it offers.
3. Have you tried other options?
There were other options on the market in Spain, but we didn’t start to explore these online platforms until Gert-Jan contacted us and showed us what COOL can do. That made us decide we wanted to try it out for our school.
4. What made you happiest about working with COOL?
The security it brings the teachers in their classroom. You feel much more comfortable, because you can sit in your own chair and watch from your computer what your students are doing. It also gives you the freedom to carry out different classroom activities.
5. How was your experience using COOL in the Basque language?
The Basque language is the official language in the Basque country. We have all the education contents in Basque. We try to use the Basque language everyday in school, and we try to find different apps in Basque as well, because it is important for us to improve the language skills of our students. It’s not like we can’t use Spanish or English on the COOL Platform, we just prefer to use Basque so we can help promote and preserve our own language.
6. How do teachers and students experience working with it?
The teachers feel safer and happier. For the students, it helps them focus more. COOL lets the teacher send messages to them and work with them on the same page at the same time. So students don’t see it as a form of control. They don’t feel uncomfortable; I never hear them say it in my classroom. We also explain to everyone that we use COOL Monitoring only during school hours.
7. What would you tell other schools if you’d recommend COOL to them?