Tools for Schools: New Educational Quality Improvement Platform


Students at the Tukums Raiņa Gymnasium who are even just a little bit excited about physics are lucky. Their teacher is Valdis Zuters, who joined the school’s staff two years ago as part of the Mission Possible programme, which seeks to attract young and talented people to teach classes at Latvian schools. He takes huge interest in his subject – to the extent that he is even prepared to sing a rap song about physics. Students in the 10th grade invited him to take part in a rap duel, and he wrote the song “Multiple Capacities,” which can be seen on YouTube. The young teacher has no want for capacity, imagination or dedication, and his classroom atmosphere is likely to be among the highest rated once students respond with feedback via the new Edurio platform, which is meant to create reciprocal links in schools.


Ever greater efforts are being made to improve the quality of Latvia’s educational system, but teachers and administrators often lack information about the strengths and weaknesses of their school. This means that schools must devote enormous time and effort to prepare paper-based questionnaires for students and to prepare self-evaluation reports. Edurio won a competition for new business ideas this year at the TechChill Baltics start-up and technology conference. The platform allows students to evaluate their own successes at school, as well as to make observations about the learning process. This makes it possible to gain a more thorough look at the level of motivation, relationships in the classroom, and the work of the teacher. The first test of Edurio involved 45 schools and more than 6,000 students. Valdis was one of the first to test the new platform.


Valdis says that he is prepared to remain on the faculty of the Tukums Raiņa Gymnasium after his Mission Possible term expires later in 2015. Right now he teaches nine classes at the high school level. “Their interests are enormously diverse, and my biggest challenge is to attract their attention with experiments and elements of pop culture,” explains Valdis. “If I succeed in doing so, I am very satisfied with the process.”