After our visit to Boras in Sweden in November 2019, all international learning activities took place online since then.
Thanks to our Smart Hands ánd heads we made them really interesting and students were working on the inventive tasks together.

But, a physical training week, seeing each other and working together is so much more fun!
Finally the students from the partner countries Romania, Finland and The Netherlands could visit Aveiro in Portugal to work at the AEJE secondary school.

The first day we presented our organisations showing short films students made of their schools and played a memory game students of Romania prepared which was really fun to do.
The second day started early, going into a bus visiting Way of Arts in Cascais. There we were taught the skills of craftsmanship. The different aspects of restoring the products that preserve the heritage of Portugal. Students were offered a small workshop and created a layered logo of SmartHands that now has a profound place at the school in Aveiro.
After our visit we had a walk through the town which ended at the bay facing the ocean. Unfortunately the weather was not that well and we turned back to the bus to drive back again.

SmartHands in Cascais
SmartHands students at Way of Arts in Cascais

The third day our host prepared different workshops for the students and teachers which really helped to mingle the different students from the different countries. We were baking Pasteis de Nata, creating a tree of values and a workshop on Portuguese features that led into a great discussion on what features each country uses to express ourselves, without using any words. But also the cultural differences that has a large influence on the development of students. As well political, cultural differences as different approaches on teaching at schools.

The fourth day the visiting partners provided a workshop for the students and teachers. The group was divided in two.
One group started with the workshop provided by Minna (Fi) and Eileen (NL) that brought us back to our senses 😉
They taught us how our brain can fool us seeing things that are not there and interfering while drawing. The participants had one hand in a closed bag touching an object while the other hand drew what the other hand felt. This gave a variety of experiences. Some were focused on the texture and temperature of the product, others got ideas of the product being a colour that did not correspond with the pen they were using. And some stayed in their heads, thinking what the object could be which almost stopped them drawing. After the drawing, the students from different countries sat opposite each other and made a clay portrait of the other student who sat at a distance of more than 1,5m showing each other faces without masks. It was as if the participants touched each others’ faces while sculpting in clay.

Miruna Batin from Scientifica (RO) gave a smart workshop.
Science fiction or applied sciences of sustainable build environments: Our workshop was meant to spark creativity and future thinking in our students. Split into teams they came up with prototypes of sustainable housing that were energy efficient, made use of renewable energy sources and were also fun to live in. Floating shoe houses, skyscrapers with incorporated wind turbines and smiling earth houses all competed for the house of the future title.

At “The Future House Challenge”, we collaborated in international groups and designed a sustainable house. It was quite interesting to hear my teammates’ opinions and it was challenging to design a house that would mostly use sustainable energy.

During the afternoon the partners had a partner meeting, reflecting the past days, making plans for the intellectual outputs, lesson materials and planning the next meetings and training weeks.
The rest went on a boat trip through the canals of Aveiro and visited an old church full of history and crafts.
The day ended in a lovely evening where we could enjoy the Portuguese kitchen and music, talking and having fun, trying to forget we had to say goodbye…

Looking back, it is so interesting to see how students and partners slowly grow into a community. Students who were shy at first speaking English were chatting away and how the students mingled into international mixed groups sharing each others’ differences in their backgrounds.

Also the partners were building bridges, sharing ideas how to develop teaching materials and starting the work on plans for teachers, schools and parents that will help to enhance the development and ways to discover, the talents of the smart heads and hands.
It felt as if now the project finally started!

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