An Enlightening Visit – Teacher Educators from Israel at PH Wien

7. Juni 2024

On June 3rd, 2024 a group of 19 passionate educational experts and teacher educators from Israel visited the University College of Teacher Education Vienna. This study visit was organized in collaboration with the Prizma Initiative and the Ministry of Education, the MOFET Institute, Tel Aviv (the National Institute for Research and Development in Education), a national institute for research and development in education, and Methodica. The goal was to explore, exchange experiences and learn from the innovative educational practices and innovative learning spaces that the University College offers.

Welcoming and Introduction

The day began with a warm welcome by Vice Principal Norbert Kraker, who provided an overview of the University College’s mission and vision. The visitors were particularly interested in understanding the institutional framework and the pedagogical approaches that distinguish this Viennese institution. The Vice Principal’s presentation highlighted the university’s commitment to fostering an environment of creativity, critical thinking, and continuous professional development for educators. Then Wolfgang Greller, Head of the Centre for Research Management, talked about the University College’s research initiatives and study projects. Finally, Klaus Himpsl-Gutermann, Head of the Competence Centre for STEM and Digital Literacy, presented the centre’s main objectives as well as the University College’s innovative learning environments.

Tour of Innovative Learning Spaces

Following the introduction, the group was taken on a tour of the innovative learning spaces. These spaces are designed to support interactive and experiential learning, equipped with the latest educational technology. The tour included two choice sessions with visits to several innovative learning spaces of the University College of Teacher Eduaction Vienna:

  • The Future Learning Lab (FLL)
    Hermann Morgenbesser, Chris Pollek and Martin Sankofi introduced the Future Learning Lab to the Israeli visitors, a lab that follows a pedagogical and didactic concept of the EUN Schoolnet and the Classroom of the Future project. Its learning spaces offer a learning environment for learning and teaching digital skills and are an important measure of the University College of Teacher Education Vienna in the implementation of the “School 4.0” initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education.
  • MAKER Lab (MAL)
    Hermann Morgenbesser and Chris Pollek also presented the Maker Lab, an open learning space for students and teachers. In addition to classroom workshops, there is a regular Maker Cafe, an Open Friday and many events for making and tinkering with 3D printers, laser engravers, digital embroidery machines and more.
  • Education Innovation Studio (EIS)
    In the Education Innovation Studio, visitors were able to attend a student workshop on coding. Run by Paul Szepannek and Alessa Feyerer, the workshop was a fun way for students to learn about computational thinking. The EIS offers age-appropriate programmes on robotics, coding and circuit boards provide opportunities from primary to secondary level to explore and help shape the digital aspects of our living and working environment.
  • MEDIA Lab (MEL)
    The group also got a brief insight into the MEDIA LAB (MEL) with Petra Szucsich, a lab that offers hybrid teaching and learning environments, workshops for teachers and students, and the production of their own teaching materials. A portable radio and video studio are available, as well as video cameras, digital audio recorders, mixing consoles, microphones, and so on.
  • Lab for Digitality & Sustainability (DINA)
    Florian Danhel, Elena Revyakina and Petra Szucsich gave the Israeli teacher educators a tour of the Lab for Digitality & Sustainability (DINA), which looks at various aspects of how the potential for change offered by digitalisation can be used to preserve the natural foundations of life, and whether the energy and resource consumption of digital infrastructure is exacerbating the climate crisis.


Vocational Education and Research Proposals

One of the choice sessions in the afternoon was dedicated to vocational education and research proposals. Wolfgang Greller and Georg Jäggle provided an interesting overview of vocational education and training and its diversity at the University College of Teacher Education Vienna. There was a lively exchange and discussion with the Israeli delegation about the past, present and future of vocational education and training and what they have in common. 

Networking and Collaboration

The visit concluded with a discussion, allowing the Israeli visitors to connect with their Austrian counterparts, and a subsequent networking session with the Principal of PH Wien, Barbara Herzog-Punzenberger, which was a valuable opportunity for sharing experiences, discussing educational challenges, and exploring potential collaborations. The atmosphere was one of mutual respect and eagerness to learn from each other’s educational practices.

All in all, this visit was more than just a tour; it was a rich exchange of ideas and practices that left the Israeli educators inspired and equipped with new strategies to bring back to their own educational institutions. The University College of Teacher Education Vienna showcased not only its innovative learning environments but also its dedication to fostering global educational partnerships.


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