Practical work and real projects are a part of everyday activities for students of the Information Technology High School – ITHS and their colleagues at the Information Technology School – ITS, even in these extraordinary circumstances. At all LINK institutions, instruction has been unobstructed owing to the Distance Learning Platform, while the Project Center, where the students work on practical tasks, has also switched to the online world. Thanks to the cutting-edge technology used in their online workshop, all projects have been implemented at full speed.
How are projects carried out remotely?
All Project Center members participating in projects have received state-of-the-art computers with all the necessary licensed programs and tools that will help them complete their tasks from home.
They are currently working on two important projects. One includes developing a web portal for exchanging teaching materials and teacher training materials for the Community of Electrical Engineering High Schools. Given that IT is a relatively new area in our secondary education, top-quality IT textbooks for high schools are somewhat rare. IT teachers in electrical engineering high schools are currently creating materials designed to improve teaching of applied subjects. The goal of the platform is to make the materials available to the members and to facilitate the teachers’ exchange of the best practices in this area, as well as to provide students with online access to the learning content. The development of this portal is of great significance for the entire IT education system and will help students and teachers expand their knowledge and skills in the future.
The second interesting project of the Project Center members is the online collaboration platform for reviewing Brainfinity Challenge tasks. Brainfinity is a creative problem-solving competition for children attending primary school years 5 through 8 in Serbia, which also includes valuable prizes. The goal of the project is to provide the teachers reviewing the tasks with a platform on which they can work together to establish the scoring criteria, review the tasks and rank the teams in accordance with their performance.
Practice and learning available online
Miloš Dobrota, Project Center coordinator, says that online work is not a problem, as they are well-organized and have state-of-the-art tools.
“Selecting the tools was highly important in order to complete the tasks as efficiently as possible. These are mostly the platforms we have used so far, but we’ve also included some new ones. The teams are applying the Scrum methodology. The project is divided into 2-week increments called Sprints. Before each Sprint, the team plans the tasks. Once the Sprint has been completed, they review the success rate. In addition to these meetings, they perform brief stand-up meetings on a daily basis, in which each team member gives an update on the tasks they are currently working on and the progress made up to that point. This approach allows us to organize our activities and successfully complete all projects in the most efficient manner.”
Even in these unprecedented times, the students are highly motivated and have successfully completed all of their tasks. Working on these projects is highly satisfying for them, as they are innovative and allow them to learn and showcase their skills. In addition, the students continued with their regular online lectures and exam preparation. Owing to LINKgroup’s Distance Learning System, a unique distance learning platform in Serbia, the students of ITHS and ITS follow live-streamed lessons which they can subsequently rewatch in the Video Archive whenever they like. The students have revision tests after each unit, chat consultations with the professors, and can do all of this using the iOS and Android apps on their mobile phones.
Learning on real projects for a secure IT career
ITS director, Bojan Ristić, emphasizes that IT professions are still the most sought-after and that the trend hasn’t changed due to the circumstances:
“The IT industry is one of the few that have remained stable and have continued to grow despite the difficult circumstances. IT experts are in demand, and the most important thing for getting a high-paying job is practical knowledge. This is why the Project Center enables students to experience working on real projects.”
The Project Center was created so as to provide the students of the Information Technology High School – ITHS and the Information Technology School – ITS with hands-on experience when it comes to working in teams and communicating with clients, and allow them to slowly enter the world of business. The Project Center comprises teams with team leaders, while each team member has a specific task with real deadlines and a detailed plan on how to complete each project.
They are constantly communicating and arranging the details of the end product in briefings. The project also includes ITHS and ITS professors, as well as associates, engineers from the Comtrade company. Working in the Project Center enables the students of these unique IT schools to enhance and apply their skills, and gain valuable experience that will significantly improve their careers.
Top-quality education in extraordinary circumstances
The main task of all institutions operating under the LINK edu Alliance is to provide project-based learning and education that complies with the highest global standards. Thanks to the state-of-the-art equipment and learning tools, the learning process has been unobstructed in these unprecedented circumstances. The use of technology and contemporary teaching methods allowed the students and teachers alike to adapt and resume their regular activities.