Twinterview: Principal software architect Kaspar Nielsen

Kaspar Nielsen

Kaspar Rosengreen Nielsen is a principal software architect and WizeFloor product manager at the Alexandra Institute in Århus, Denmark. 

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Kaspar – It is an incredibly exciting technological time for schools. What would you say is the most visible area of progression in the last year?
It’s interesting that digital learning is moving back into the physical world with 3D printers and interactive kinesthetic products.

In your experience, what impact have technology advances had on teaching?
Information has been set free and I think blended learning is an interesting concept. Personalised learning is made much easier.

How can developers and teachers best work together to reach children?
We use a technique called participatory design, where we involve the teachers and children all they way when creating the software.

How important is it to adapt lessons to the fast-paced, tech-driven world that pupils experience outside of the classroom?
Pupils are motivated by the use of new technology so it’s essential. Technical skills are very important in the real world today.

What opportunities do developers have for influencing extra-curricular activities?
Sensors and apps are used in all kinds of activities outside of school today. Children can learn a lot without actually being aware of it.

Educational software is evolving at a lightning pace. Do you think individual content to assist specific needs is essential for progressive learning?
I think it’s very important for teachers (and children) to create content to fit their specific needs. It increases the motivation.

Is digital media revolutionising education for the better?
Yes, information is right at hand and learning has become more fun, motivating and interactive. It gives the teacher a lot of options.

What technology innovations or trends should we, as teachers, watch out for over the next year?
Watch out for physical educational computing such as kinesthetic learning on interactive surfaces and outdoor mobile learning.

What are your thoughts on teachers writing their own software versus buying it?
It’s great to see that writing software is being democratized. It gives the teachers the ultimate flexibility for creating motivating exercises.

Can you see schools becoming completely paperless?
School communication is moving online but I still see paper being used for sketching, notes and books.

What will the mobile device of the future look like?
Lighter and thinner no doubt. I would love to see more powerful camera features to enable, eg motion games on a bigger screen.

Is there a link between educational learning and physical activity?
Using bodily movement and social skills in education motivates a lot of children to learn better while having fun and breaking a sweat.

How does the Danish education system compare to the British model?
Equality and democracy (DK) vs focus on fulfilling individual potentials (UK). And of course, no school uniforms.

What are your thoughts on the influence and popularity of Scandinavian culture in education today?
Many countries are inspired by the values in the Nordic school, but it is tricky to enforce these values while achieving good test results.

Can you share any top tips for creating captivating programming lessons?
Use the children’s interest in a topic (eg football or princesses) as a starting point for programming something. Motivation is key.

Have you had experience with Danish education? Share your experiences below.

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