Schools

schools-01

In Innsbruck, three elementary schools (VS Pradl-Ost, VS Angergasse, and VS Neu-Arzl) took part in SINFONIA. Over a period of two years (2015-2017), the schools have been refurbished to improve their energy efficiency. To involve the actual users of the schools (headmasters, teachers and pupils), the local SINFONIA partners developed the “School Workshop Program: Smart Cities” which was implemented into the schools` curricula.

The workshop program provided pupils and teachers with information about SINFONIA-specific topics and gave insights in the energetically relevant aspects of the refurbishments of their school buildings. Furthermore, the involvement of schools was aiming at the raise of awareness and the increase of acceptance for the refurbishments. The exchange of knowledge with pupils can have a strong multiplier effect. Hence, its effects can reach far beyond the schools and can positively influence the project on different levels.

The local partners Energy Tyrol and Climate Alliance Tyrol have been involved in the workshop program. Both have experience in the transfer of knowledge about relevant topics to school children.

Involvement strategies and methods

School Workshop Program: Smart Cities

At the Kick-Off Workshop

The involvement of the SINFONIA schools started with a kick-off event in the framework of the “Young University – day of action” of the University of Innsbruck in November 2015. At the kick-off event the local SINFONIA partners organized workshops/stands for pupils of the three involved schools, to give first insights in the backgrounds of the imminent refurbishments of the school buildings.

The kick-off was followed by a series of workshops in selected classes of the SINFONIA schools during the school year 2015/2016. The workshop program consisted of two obligatory basic modules and three elective modules, of which one workshop each should be selected. A coordination unit consisting of local project partners guaranteed the consistency of the program sequences.

Download the “School workshop program: Smart cities” below:

kb_structuregraphic_web600 “School workshop program: Smart cities”

Development of a quiz game on the topic of energy saving

In order to raise the awareness on the importance of energy saving a quiz game for children with the age of 6 to 10 years was developed. By playing the game young people came in touch with the project ideas of SINFONIA. The game was used at various occasions, e. g. as a program point at the Young university – day of action.

Download the playing field and cards in German below:

kb_structuregraphic_web600 Energy game – Energie, ich weiß wie!

 

Ideas competitions “SMART CITY – City of the Future”

School children’s ideas on the “Smart city – city of the future”

To reach students from other schools outside the SINFONIA-framework, the local partners organized an ideas competition on the topic “SMART CITY – City of the Future” with a focus on sustainable energy supply. At the ideas competition pupils could write or design their concepts on the city of the future and win prizes. On this occasion, more than 300 students came in touch with the contents of SINFONIA. The competition took place in November 2015 within the scope of the “Young University – day of action” organized by the University of Innsbruck. At this event, different institutes of the university and external institutions with a scientific and technical background could present the topics of their daily work to school children and teenagers.

The ceremony for awarding of the best ideas took place in the Municipality of Innsbruck. The eight winners were invited to receive their prizes in person, handed over by the vice-mayor of Innsbruck. Since teachers and parents of the students participated in the award ceremony, the event had a multiplier effect on the social environment of the students.

In April 2017 there was a successful repetition of the event. IIG – as owner of the three school buildings in Innsbruck – presented a multi-media-show about reasons and implementation of refurbishment work in schools to the pupibls.

Download the presentation on benefits of school refurbishments in German

Activities with kids are definitely recommendable, for they create or increase awareness for sustainability. Pupils showed a huge motivation to deal with and think about SINFONIA topics in the given context of their current (urban) living environment and their ideas for a sustainable future. Moreover, many participants revealed detailed background information on sustainability matters, indicating that this is a topic of interest to the target group. The interest of pupils and motivation to engage in that topic should be encouranged by such activities.

 

Involvement in Sets of Solutions

 

Challenges

Prerequisite for the transfer of knowledge to the pupils is the establishment of a good contact with the teachers and the headmasters of the schools. Since the curricula of the schools are relatively tight and offers of extracurricular activities by different institutions are manifold, some efforts have to be done to persuade the schools of participating in the workshop modules described above.

Furthermore, it is challenging to prepare complex topics in the context of smart cities in an age-based way. The age of pupils in the SINFONIA schools range between six and ten years. Accordingly, topics are processed in a playful and easy intuitive way.

Also, the financial situation of pupils has to be considered. All involvement activities with schools described above were offered for free. Costs were covered by the consortium partners or by the external institutions involved. It is unlikely that costs for non-financed events can be covered by schools or pupils.

More information on temporal challenges in school refurbishments is available here.

 

Recommendations

  • Regarding young people as the future citizens it is very important to keep them in the process.
  • When schools are part of smart city refurbishments it is very recommendable to use the opportunity of sharing the knowledge with the school´s pupils. Pupils are the adults of tomorrow and serve as important multipliers for smart city topics.
  • The involvement of external educational institutions with a focus on e.g. energy or mobility can be very beneficial to smart city projects.
  • A funding scheme for the involvement activities is absolutely necessary. Schools might not contribute to the project if costs are not covered. External educational institutions, like e. g. the Climate Alliance, often can offer workshops financed by subsidies.
  • The constant involvement of pupils and teachers via single workshops accompanying the refurbishments of schools is an appropriate way to transfer knowledge about the refurbishment and smart city measures in general.
Classroom of Volksschule Angergasse after refurbishment. © SINFONIA
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