What’s for breakfast? How the spark of curiosity led to an cross-cultural connection

Learn how students from Sweden and Miami shared stories and connections with the use of technology and a curious spirit.

A Teacher That Stays Curious

The spark of curiosity is a powerful connection-maker.

Ola Brorson is an English teacher at Thoren Framtid School in Sweden. He often begins his classes by saying, “Hey, let’s do something fun together. What do you want to do?”

This open-ended approach to instruction fosters curiosity and possibility in his students. 

Ola and his class demonstrated how fun – and powerful –curiosity can be by asking the seemingly simple question, “what do you eat for breakfast?”

Then, they explored this curiosity across an ocean. 

The Cross-Classroom Connection

Ola connected with another Certified SMART Exemplary School in Florida who showed interest in collaborating. They jump started a modern-day pen pal relationship using Lumio to connect students with one another. Where students explored their interests, location, and cultures using Lumio Activities, and connected live over Zoom and SMART Interactive Panels. 

From there, the connections took off. Their students found each other on Playstation and Flipgrid. These platforms allowed them to foster their new friendships.

Ola and his students were inspired by their time connecting with students in America. So, they decided to host similar meetings with classes in remote areas of Sweden, too. 

I tell the kids all the time, it's, you know, we're here to fail, we're here to learn - school is about learning. Yes, we have tests, but it's learning. That's what school is all about. And life.

Ola Brorson, English Teacher & IT Coach, Thoren Framtid 

SMART Makes It Possible

SMART helps me to stay connected to the world by taking part in a global network to be inspired as a teacher,” Brorson said. “When I started working as a teacher many, many years ago, I could only dream about this - to have a conversation with a teacher in Italy or in, you know, in the U.S. or Canada or all over the world.”

For Ola, these connections all find their root in a sense of curiosity. “As a teacher, I show that I am super curious because we want our kids to be super curious and brave.”

He's armed with powerful technology at his fingertips and an innate sense of curiosity. Ola and his students prove distance isn’t a factor when it comes to connections that matter.

From Remote To In-person: How One Student-Teacher Created Connection During Remote Learning

The Challenge: Getting A Credential From Afar

Felix Fernebring had a problem.

In the spring of 2021, Felix needed to finish his apprentice hours with a master teacher. But, he was unable to physically be in the classroom due to COVID-19 restrictions.

So Felix devised a plan: he would teach his students without stepping foot in a physical classroom. His master teacher, Ola Brorson, was on board.

How He Made Remote Teaching Work

So, Felix used his phone, laptop, and software such as Lumio by SMART to co-teach the class. Initially, the thought of teaching students he had never actually met intimidated him. But, he found that the tools he had at his disposal made connecting easy.

"Within the student-teacher program, they talk a lot about building rapport," Felix said. "I think this type of platform is a way to connect with the kids in a way that might not be possible in a conventional classroom."

Spoiler: Students Loved It

Many students preferred the individualization that Felix’s teaching approach allowed.

From live feedback on essays, to Zoom room writing conferences, students benefited. The online dexterity that Ola and Felix were able to provide was impressive.

“One of my students asked, ‘Wow, can we do this more often?’,” Ola said. “I think that kind of mindset, you know, comes from testing things... That's an idea that a student never would have asked five years ago.”

Felix and Ola finished the spring semester with their hybrid online co-teaching model.

This fall, Felix was thrilled to meet his former students in person. To deepen the connections he already made through the screen was the icing on top.

Students at Thoren Framtid use tech tools to connect with students in America and to drive their daily learning. Their teacher, Ola Brorson, encourages his students to embrace failure as a learning opportunity for life.

Thoren Framtid School

Växjö, Sweden

At Thoren Framtid, students get:

  • Courage to dare to be different and stand up for others
  • Force to keep trying, even when something feels difficult
  • Passion for learning and the assignments they receive through schooling

Certified SMART Exemplary School

A powerful network of visionaries using technology for incredible results.
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