The SPICA network is a Nordic network for teacher educators and teacher students with the shared goal of building skills and knowledge relevant to the teaching profession in relation to key topics such as diversity, sustainability and democracy.

In 2016, the network organized an intensive course for Nordic teacher training students titled “Tolerance and dialogue”, which took place in Iceland. The course centered on the use of innovative, student active teaching methods, such as flipped classroom, place based learning and challenge based learning.

An online pre-period to the course helped maximize the outcome of the one-week intensive course. Students from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland met in online seminars to discuss the assigned topics, and got to know each other. Academic staff from the affiliated institutions provided relevant video lectures and materials for discussion.

During the intensive course, the students actively used the Icelandic local context, in line with principles of place-based learning. The course focused on local conflict of interests. The students worked in mixed groups with guidance from the participating academic staff, and investigated topic such as water dam construction and nature conservation, local infrastructure development, school environments and inclusion.

Student and staff mobility was also central to the activities of the SPICA network in 2015-2016. Nordplus support enabled students to gain experiences from other Nordic countries through study visits and practice placements. Teachers from the network institutions were invited to give guest lectures, and benefited from mobility funding to work together to develop strategies, ideas and materials.