Students happy with ITS Volda 2022 conference

Text: Karl August Swanstrøm

- Updated

More than 110 students from several European countries participated in ITS Volda 2022 where this years’ theme was “Physically active learning and outdoor education”

ITS Volda is an annual, international conference for students in teacher training and was held online April 25-26, 2022. Volda University College (VUC) has a strategic focus on increasing internationalisation of the education programmes and ITS Volda is an integral part of this work.

Physical activity as a pedagogical tool

In addition to VUC, ITS Volda 2022 included participants from Austria (PHT Tirol), Finland (Åbo Akademi University), the Netherlands (Hogeschool KPZ) and Spain (University of Barcelona). The conference participants followed presentations from invited guests and representatives of the partner institutions involved.

Among the presenters were Nikolaj Trautner from the Centre for Phsyically Active Learning (SEFAL) at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. He spoke about the importance of how one argued for increased physical activity in schools. SEFAL’s experience is that one should focus on the positive effects on learning outcomes and teaching when arguing for physically active learning. The positive effects on public health in general has less sway when trying to influence teachers and schools.

Introduction to research

In addition to get students to discuss topics related to education and schools within international groups, a major aim of ITS Volda is to introduce students to research and presentations of research findings. In this year’s conference the students were presented the results from a Finish research project which gathered data on physical activity and sedentary behavior of pupils prior, during and after school hours. It was striking to see how much more sedentary the pupils were at school as compared to their free time.

ITS Volda also included a presentation from Erik Fooladi at the Institute of natural sciences at VUC. He presented his own research on using all senses in teaching and learning, which engaged the audience to consider whether music could be experienced as “sweet” or “sour”. A main point of Fooladi’s talk was how teaching normally devaluates the other senses apart from hearing and seeing. The presentation included several examples of how one may include a combination of sensory impressions in teaching.

Satisfied participants

Two hectic days of conferences are over and the ITS Volda organising team is left with many positive impressions and feedback from participants and partner institutions.

– We have received a lot of praise and good feedback from participants, which is of course great considering the time and energy we have invested in planning for the ITS Volda conference, says Arne Humberset, Head of the VUC International Office.

– Even though ITS Volda is an online conference, and many would naturally prefer to meet in person, the feedback from this year’s conference have been very positive. Especially the student group discussions have been highly rated and we are pleased to see that the students made good use of the opportunity to be able to discuss and compare the situation in schools across many European countries, says Humberset.

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