This is a presentation of a selection of GRUL’s projects. You are always welcome to contact us with any questions about our projects or experiential learning.
Gothenburg Consumer Agency
During 2009, GRUL is cooperating with the Gothenburg Consumer Agency in developing method materials for family and consumer science.
AIREA is a project with the goal of designing a prototype method for airport regions, to use Web 2.0 and modern technology in creating new education models on a vocational training level. The project is financed by the EU, through the Leonardo da Vinci Program. Participants of the program are, besides GR, Dublin City University (Ireland), Airport Regions Conference (Belgium), Fingal County Council (Ireland), Ajuntament del Prat de Llobregat (Spain) and Tallinn City Council (Estonia).
GRowth - Entrepreneurial Learning
GRowth is a project with the intention of increasing competence and knowledge in entrepreneurial learning for high school and adult education. The project started in January 2009, has a two year timeframe and is financed by the European Social Fund (ESF). The project is in charge of a number of different activities and education programs. Some of these are available to staff of all units connected to the project, and some are targeted specifically at individual schools/units and tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of each unit.
There are many ways to use a GPS in an educational context. GRUL offers practical package solutions for this, combined with studies in further use of GPS technology for educational purposes. We have a dozen durable GPS receivers for lending, if you want to try out the possibilities!
IT and Learning
GRUL is involved in a number of processes focused on IT and Learning at schools. In recent years, we have among other things contributed to strategic development processes in this subject, for several municipalities. We’ve trained staff in both the theory and practice of IT-related issues. Furthermore, GRUL is involved in several projects in this area, working with individual schools as well as municipalities, companies and universities.
MLE - Mobile Learning Environments
These days, middle school and high school students are accustomed to using their cell phones in many different ways - as an alarm clock, a camera, a video game console, just to mention a few. Mobile Learning Environment, MLE, takes advantage of these skills in students. GRUL, HiQ and the Teacher Education at Malmö University have developed the MLE technology, a project financed by the Nordic Innovation Center.
GRO - Trans-boundary Online Games
The purpose of his project is to study how online role-playing games, for example World of Warcraft, work as web communities, to study the mechanisms making online games cut across social boundaries and open up new social structures, and how these mechanisms can be used in an education context. The project is a collaboration between the research environment LinCS at the University of Gothenburg, GRUL, and the web company Enemy Unknown. The project manager is Jonas Linderoth, Ph.D. and Associate Professor at the Department of Education, University of Gothenburg.
In a collaboration with the HIV Prevention of the Västra Götaland Region, GRUL is launching a number of efforts during 2009, such as themed student sessions, method education days, school development days, method development, distribution of method materials, project management for cooperative projects with the City of Gothenburg, and a large school conference in week 44. Direct efforts during the year are estimated to reach about 1200 students and about 600 educators and other school staff.
During recent years, we’ve had the pleasure of assisting the Swedish Parliament with a number of efforts. Primarily, we work on the Visitor and Information Department’s Democracy Workshop, where students in the upper grades of primary school get to take on the roles of members of parliament for a couple of hours. Within the framework of the Democracy Workshop, we have contributed with game development, implemented an extensive development process with the parliament educators, and done a comprehensive evaluation of the parliament’s school materials. We are proud to continue our cooperation with the Swedish Parliament, supporting democracy work in our nation’s schools.
The Democracy Square is a method for letting politicians and young people from the Västra Götaland Region meet and discuss current and vital issues. Democracy Squares are based on the method of “Influence Squares,” a meeting format where the goal is to let every person attending a meeting take part in the discussions, and to take everyone’s perspective into account - not only the views of those who are prepared to speak in front of a large group of people. GRUL has been commissioned to organize Democracy Squares since the fall of 2007, and at the end of 2009 we will have arranged 50 Democracy Squares at high schools all over the Västra Götaland Region.
A Living Library works the same way as any library, where you borrow a book for a limited amount of time, which you then return for someone else to borrow. The difference in the case of a Living Library is that the “books” are live people, whom you borrow for a conversation. Commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers, GRUL has organized a number of Living Libraries for “borrowing a prejudice.” Additionally, this idea has evolved into the concept of “borrowing a profession,” and GRUL has arranged such libraries at several trade fairs, with very positive results.
UN and EU Role-playing Games
GRUL has been organizing UN role-playing games since 1995 and EU games since 2001. Every year, we cooperate with about 30 schools, ranging from 8th grade to college. In a UN or EU game, you simulate a session in the real UN (the General Assembly or the Security Council) or the EU (the Council of Ministers). In their roles as UN or EU delegates, the participants get an opportunity to experience the inner workings of international politics.
EU in School
For a long time, GR Education and GRUL have been involved in various EU-themed school efforts. Currently, we are chiefly working in five areas of activity on a nation wide range. We train teachers in how to use experiential learning as a method for education about the EU, we develop EU-themed games and exercises, we organize themed sessions on the EU for students all over Sweden, we develop and arrange EU role-playing games where whole units turn into decision-making bodies of the EU for one or several days, and we organize conferences and educational situations with the EU as a common denominator. We work closely with entities such as the EU Information Center, the European Parliament, the European Commission and various Europe Direct centers around Sweden.
Classes, Seminars and Workshops
GRUL runs a large number of classes, seminars and workshops based on experiential learning. For example, we give a basic and an advanced class in experiential learning, a workshop in IT, games and learning, a class in EU games, a class in sexual health games etc. For more information on specific classes, seminars or workshops, look at our calendar or subscribe to our newsletter, where we give regular updates on our current selection of activities. If you need an education program tailored for your staff, don’t hesitate to contact us.
When we explain what we do at GRUL, it might seem like we are involved in a vast amount of activities. And that’s true. But through it all, our methodology is the thread that binds everything together.
Experiential learning is an educational method where the participants get to address real problems in a simulated environment. We use games, simulations and process management founded in exercises and materials that stimulate enthusiasm, involvement and passion in the participant. The feeling that what you learn is important and really relates to you personally is a true foundation for learning. By managing the experience themselves and allowing it be part of a process, the participants create new insights and ideas.
During the past ten years, experiential learning has become more and more common as a pedagogic tool. At GRUL and GR Education, we have seen evidence of this in several ways, one of which is the fact that the games, projects and exercises we produce are more widely sought after. We also organize more classes and training programs than before. The number of teachers, educators and school administrators who take an interest in our activities, as well as people outside of the school context, has increased during this time period. Today, GRUL cooperates with a large number of entities in the world of research, technology and education, on both a national and an international level.
Our methods are based in theory and research by people like John Dewey, David A. Kolb, James Paul Gee and Henry Jenkins. Furthermore, we are inspired by everyday people, the individuals we meet during our research as well as in the execution of our programs. Please contact us if you’re curious about our theoretical models. You can also read more about our methodology and pedagogy in the material below.