Please allow me to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Brittany Spatz, and I am currently an educator in a diverse middle school located in New Jersey, a north eastern state in America. Over the past five years, I have taught students from age 11 to 18 in the subjects of Literature and Technology.
Currently I am a master’s degree candidate at the University of Maryland, University College, studying Instructional Technology. As part of my program, I am conducting research on the Danish educational system, and, more specifically, how the country has used technology to further its educational goals. Already, I have been very impressed with your system, which I have both read about and learned about through close friends who live in Denmark.
I am intrigued by the holistic view of learning that is exhibited by the Danish system. After reading more about folkeskole, I cannot believe that each teacher is “required to prepare annual written student plans for all students at all levels” (Mortimore, 2009). This highly individualized and differentiated curriculum seems to best meet the needs of all learners. Our Danish friends had also explained that there are different pathways that a student can take to attain the same degree, a practice foreign to the American education system.
Similarly, while Denmark has adopted “new computer-based adaptive tests” you have managed to customize them “to the needs of the individual student, leading to easier or more difficult questions being presented” (Mortimore, 2009). This leads me to believe that testing is used to facilitate individual learning, opposed to penalize schools and teachers, as it is sometimes used in America. Finally, I was impressed to read that the Danish system is touted for encouraging more life-long learning.
In order to gain a more nuanced understanding of the role of technology, I am reaching out to set up an interview with you regarding your system. The interview, which could be conducted via email or set up using a video conference system such as Skype, would comprise the following questions:
-In his article, Mortimore (2009) explained that student achievement data, “with the exception of national figures, are kept confidential and there is no right of public access to the information” (p. 53). Is this still the policy? Are these figures kept digitally by the government? Furthermore, how do schools use this data to help students achieve?
-Knud Holch Andersen stated, “Denmark invests massively in education and we pride ourselves on having a worldclass IT infrastructure. But at the same time our educational system and the libraries fail to examine the connection between information supply, learning and the new digital reality” (2013, p. 1). Would you agree with this assessment? If not, what moves has the Danish government taken to help weave the IT and educational sectors?
-The Danish system, according to Mortimore’s 2009 article, includes interdisciplinary. Is this still a customary practice? Have you striven to include technology as an element in this interdisciplinary study?
-According to my personal friends, the Danish system prides itself on the use deep, challenging examinations to determine mastery of a subject. Is there a technological component to any of these examinations--both in the fields of technology and in traditional subjects? If not, do you anticipate technology ever being incorporated into these examinations?
Thank you so much, in advance, for your time and consideration. If you are willing to conduct an interview, please feel free to contact me using the mode that is easiest for you. I believe that the American educational system has many lessons to learn from Denmark. It is my hope to bring these lessons to light, as I continue on my path to be an educational leader. I will be working on this project until July 28, 2015. Therefore, if you are interested in working together, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can get started.
Brittany Slusarcyzk Spatz
Andersen, K. (2013). Danish youth education en route to digital literacy. Scandinavian Library Quarterly. 46(1). Retrieved from http://slq.nu/?article=volume-46-no-1-2013-12
Mortimore, P. (2009). Danish and English education systems: what lessons can we learn. Education Review. 21(2).47-59.
I work for a network of 14 Danish High Schools called Global High Schools (http://globalegymnasier.dk/english/). It is school summer holiday in Denmark now (until the beginning of August), and I think it will be hard for me to find teachers for you to talk to before the 28th of July. I would be happy to talk to you my self but I am project manager and not a teacher. If you are interested in talking to teachers (or students?) after the summer leave I would be happy to forward your request to the schools.
Sorry for the delayed response, I just returned from a week in Italy (which was beautiful, but the internet was painfully slow). It would be incredible to hear your opinion and ideas about the Danish system since you have such a holistic perspective. Would you prefer an e-mail interview or to speak over Skype? Thank you so much for your response!
I am fine with both Skype and e-mail. Lets just do what is best for you. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for the planning of the interview.
Through ECEL I have a contact in Denmark who suggests you contact Karin Levinsen at email@example.com, she will will also try to foward your request directly to Karin. Karen is at Aalborg University of Copenhagen.
Your research sounds very interesting!
Thank you so much for the contact! I just reached out to her.
Hope you're research is going well. I recently heard from Karin Levinsen. She is asking if you are still looking for further information on this topic.
I was able to get in touch with Karin. Thank you for getting us in contact!