NEUE MITTELSCHULE DER PÄDAGOGISCHEN HOCHSCHULE STEIERMARK
The Praxis Neue Mittelschule is a public lower secondary school associated with the University College of Teacher Education in Styria. Our school stands for pedagogical innovation and modern teaching methods. A majority of the teachers at the PraxisNMS are involved in teacher training and mentoring in order to pass on their experience to trainee teachers. The school has about 180 students and 45 teachers (many of them part-time, because they also teach at the University College of Teacher Education.(Pädagogische Hochschule der Steiermark). Our students come from a variety of backgrounds. About 50% of our students do not speak German as their mother tongue, and many students have only come to Austria recently. 38% of our students are officially considered "poor" and receive full financial support from the state, another 12% are at the poverty line and also receive substantial support. At PraxisNMS we are trying to help all students to catch up and reach the curriculum standards in order to be successful in life (and further education). Recently, we have introduced teaching in multilevel classrooms in order to allow the learners to work at their own speed and readiness levels and move to the next level when they have really mastered the curriculum goals (Mastery teaching). In these "Flexi" classes the children work on content modules that they complete at their own speed. The teaching materials are offered on a Moodle platform, where the progress of each individual child can be monitored instantly by the teachers. In this way, learners with different backgrounds and readiness levels can learn very efficiently and independently. In addition to the above-mentioned methods of flexible differentiation, our school has been awarded the label of "e-education expert school". We use technology on a daily basis and our staff has excellent knowledge in using web-based tools, apps, tablets and computers in class. Our school is well-equipped with wifi, tablets, computers and even our own campus radio-studio. We are an "all-day" school where the children stay for lunch and have both, free-time activities and regular classes in the afternoons. For this reason, games and game-based learning play an important role in order to keep the students motivated and engaged for so many hours. The teachers who will be involved in this project have a lot of experience with materials design and designing online learning materials. We all teach a variety of methodology classes at Graz University and at the University College of Teacher Education in Styria and are at the forefront of innovation in education in Austria.