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We love and believe in Open Schooling but…

On June 1, 5 EU-funded projects teamed up to explore Open Schooling in a one-day workshop at the 2022 Ecsite Conference.

We love and believe in Open Schooling. In the last couple of years, we have been exploring and experimenting with teachers, informal science educators and researchers on how schools can transform themselves into learning hubs at the heart of their community. BUT, opening schools to society and putting students at the centre of innovation processes often bring more questions than answers.

On June 1, 5 EU-funded projects – Schools As Living Labs, Make it Open, Open Science Hub, Phereclos and Connect, teamed up to explore some of these questions in a one-day workshop, a precursor to the 2022 Ecsite Conference. Almost 50 science educators, museum professionals and teachers from 20 countries registered for the event.

After a dynamic pecha kucha session where the 5 EU-funded projects were introduced, our introductory speaker Marc Fuster Analyst at OECD Centre for Educational Research shared insights from the OECD scenarios for schooling “Back to the Future of Education”. “School-based education has been made available to virtually all children over recent decades. Yet, many agree that education faces an innovation imperative”, he shared. Schools are no longer gatekeepers of knowledge: beyond their walls, a plethora of learning sources and resources “competes” for learners’ attention. Modernisation or transformation? What schools should we shape for the future? What schools do we want to build?

The Open Schooling projects presented tools and methodologies they developed to help teachers starting Open Schooling projects, such as the Make it Open navigator, or identifying and reaching out relevant societal actors in their community, such as the Schools As Living Labs engagement methodology. Evaluation approaches and first results were also presented. Whether through a SWOT analysiszines or e-journals, the impact of Open Schooling on students, teachers and societal actors is being analysed and results will be available in the coming months. Some projects already identified an impact on the motivation and engagement of the students but also on teaching practices.

The group was then introduced to the case clinic methodology developed by Schools As Living Labs. An easy tool to help a peer experiencing a specific issue, by sharing similar experiences and solutions adopted. The case clinic methodology is ideal to tackle any issue within a group sharing a common experience.

We were finally joined by the inspiring Jeffrey McClellan, practitioner, researcher, and entrepreneur in education. He’s the founding principal of MC2 STEM High School in Cleveland, a non-traditional school environment for students to explore STEM through trans-disciplinary curricula, hands-on projects, and community partnerships. He has since moved on to help more traditional schools find workable avenues to experiment with innovative techniques.

Open Schooling sometimes brings more questions than answers to schools, teachers and students. But it is also true for science educators supporting teachers in implementing these new learning approaches. At the end of the day, participants shared new questions they will walk away with. Some of them will be at the heart of our reflections and discussion for the coming months, in particular those on sustainability:

  • Why does not it take?
  • What future for Open Schooling?
  • How radical are we willing to go?
  • Is the branding killing us?
  • How do teachers see us?
  • How do we make sure that our tools don’t disappear? 
  • How can we open the conversation?
  • Should we go beyond solutionism and move towards uncertainty?
  • Why don’t teachers know about this?
  • How can continue this conversation further?

If you want to take part in the conversation, join our group and attend our next events!

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