Liechtenstein wants to digitize its schools. The government has launched a pilot project at a school in Triesenberg, where students will receive mobile tools, depending on the students’ age, either tablets or notebooks. Later, every school in Liechtenstein should be equipped with tablets and notebooks.
Introducing new technology in schools is not only a massive change for students but also for teachers. Although teachers most likely know how to use a tablet and notebook, it introduces a whole new set of challenges and opportunities in the classrooms. That also means teachers need to adapt their teaching methods and the way to communicate with their students. Therefore, the team running the pilot launched a kick-off event at the involved schools to brief the teachers and ensure a smooth implementation.
“When we introduced the tablets, we provided a checklist just like with the notebooks for the preparation, implementation, and review of the introduction phase,” explains Reto Mündle from Liechtenstein’s schooling authority (“Schulamt”) in an interview with Vaterland.li. “This way, we make sure everyone knows what they have to do and who is responsible.”
The project will be completed by October 2021
For the rollout of the project, the government had to buy 2500 tablets for students and teachers. That means there is a tablet for every single student and teacher from classes one to five. Additionally, the schools received 1850 notebooks, and each kindergarten class received four tablets.
Mündle explains that the pilot is based on experiences from a previous pilot at a school in Balzers: “Besides the technical experiences which we gained during the previous pilot, we also learned about the organizational challenges. To make this pilot successful, it is paramount that the pilot team works closely with the school’s responsible teachers and organizers. This way, we could ensure a smooth implementation and ensure that the notebooks work with other equipment used in the classroom, for example, projectors.”
The COVID pandemic has resulted in delays because it took longer to get the tablets delivered to the schools. On the other hand, the pandemic has also clearly demonstrated the urgency of digitalization in schools, which has positively impacted the general acceptance of the project among teachers, students, and parents. According to Mündle, the project is still on track. He expects the project to be completed by October 2021, not as previously planned in February 2023.
Digitization in schools will benefit Liechtenstein in the long run
The pandemic has resulted in a massive change in mindset, also in schools. While there was little urgency in large scale digitization projects before the pandemic, the forced closure of schools has demonstrated how necessary it is for every student to learn from home. Besides the need for tablets and notebooks, that also includes connectivity through online learning platforms.
While delivering tablets and notebooks is not that challenging, ensuring that platform-based online learning is working smoothly and produces the same (or better) results as classroom-learning will be a long journey. It will require a complete reorganization of teaching methods, organization, supervision, and parents’ involvement. But if done right, it could bring digital adoption in Liechtenstein to an entirely new level.