1:1 Learning Sets Greek School Apart – Economou Vassilis, Greece
“If you learn without enthusiasm, your memory locks up and cannot keep a single knowledge from what it received.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
For Economou Vassilis, this quote from Da Vinci inspired his career – from his initial decision to become an educator, to today. “[The quote] is still guiding my activities,” says Vassilis. “I believe that through new educational approaches, we create the desire for learning. I have never believed in making small changes towards new knowledge, but in re-defining and changing our beliefs. I have never forgotten that people don’t lack power; they lack will.”
As the IT manager at the Doukas School (a PathFinder School since 2001 and featured previously on Daily Edventures), Vassilis is the head of the 1:1 computing team, which has “created a totally different environment,” says school CEO Constantinos Doukas. “Now the school is more creative, more efficient, kids are happy about it so school is more pleasant. And through surveys we have found that our students learn better.”
Vassilis has been a researcher and analyst-programmer for more than 20 education technology projects, and as is a common thread with Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts (MIEE), continues to train hundreds of teachers to develop ICT in educational practice.
Today, Vassilis shares why he feels passionate about technology in the classroom, and his greatest hopes for his students’ future. Enjoy!
What was a defining moment in your career when you felt proudest to be an educator?
The President of the Greek Republic recently congratulated me for having won the title of Innovative and Pioneer Educator.
Usually, when you are not part of an event, you don’t have any strong feeling or intense emotion [toward it]. You may even have a critical approach about it. But, when you become a part of it, when you participate in it, you influence it and it influences you. You change. You start thinking in a different way. You wonder if you feel satisfied. What really counts? Is it the journey or the final destination? Or, what is the destination? What is the journey? Or, how useful am I in this journey? How pleasant do I make it for my students? For you?
Why do you feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom?
The student PC and the 1:1 methodology (one PC per student) were introduced in education to not only respond to the modern needs but – why not? – to change some approaches by involving creatively as many of the known learning methodologies as possible. Therefore, we are able to switch from austere teacher-centered models to team-collaborative models. In that way, our students live in a creative, pleasant, happy and effective school.
Whether it’s a day-to-day challenge or larger problem, what’s the biggest obstacle you or your country or region has had to overcome, or will have to overcome, to ensure a quality education for students?
I once heard a student saying in an international conference: “When I get in my classroom, I feel like I’m getting in a plane, where I have to turn off any electric device I have with me. During the flight I feel cut off from the world!” This shouldn’t happen in the modern classes of creative research where our students spend most of their everyday life and which have nothing to do with the old-fashioned classrooms and teaching!
In terms of education innovation, what are you most excited about for the future? What is your biggest hope for today’s students?
I believe that today’s students develop 21st century skills as a result of knowledge, competencies and values. They can communicate in Greek and English from anywhere and anytime, use digital technology with extraordinary confidence. They can take initiative, participate in educational events, collaborate, research, analyze and combine facts, regulate themselves and learn how to learn.
About Economou Vassilis
IT in Education Specialist
- Blog URL: https://economu.wordpress.com
- Birthplace: Athens, Greece
- Educational background: ICT in Education
- Website I check every day: http://www.edudemic.com, http://www.edutopia.org, http://www.khanacademy.org, http://www.educatornetwork.com, http://www.pbslearningmedia.org
- Favorite childhood memory: The first time I saw a computer, I understood that this wasn’t a device for playing games but a modern tool to be exploited in all fields of activity. I think that now I am fulfilling my childhood dream by helping all those involved in the educational procedure to use technology in the way I dreamt about it when I was young.
- Favorite book: Report to Greco by Nikos Kazantzakis (a disarmingly personal and intensely philosophical book by the Greek philosopher and writer Nikos Kazantzakis, a sort of intellectual autobiography that leads readers through his wide-ranging observations on everything from the Hegelian dialectic to the nature of human existence).
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: MS SharePoint, MS-CRM, Office 365, MS OneNote, Project Spark, Kodu
- What is the best advice you have ever received? We learn better by doing… but we learn even better if we combine acting with speaking and thinking on what we are doing. [Seymour Papert]