by: Nathália Helena Azevedo, University of Groningen
OTTER had the opportunity and privilege of attending a captivating event hosted by the European Commission in Brussels, which brought together policymakers and experts in innovative STEM education practices. This forum served as a valuable platform for sharing knowledge and experiences on Open Schooling, fostering discussions that can shape the future of European school education systems. The event commenced with a warm welcome and an engaging ice-breaker session, setting the tone for collaboration and fruitful exchange. The keynote speech underscored the significance of Open Schooling and its potential to bridge the gap between formal and informal learning. Esteemed speakers in the high-level panel shared valuable policy recommendations based on their experiences with open schooling initiatives. This was followed by an inspiring session where diverse projects were showcased, demonstrating the implementation of innovative approaches. The World café session, the true event highlight, provided a platform for in-depth discussions on the future of Open Schooling in Europe.
Reflecting on the event, Open Schooling emerges as a pivotal aspect of ongoing reflections and discussions surrounding integrating formal and informal learning. It embodies a vital third space that transcends the dichotomy between these two ways of education. Open Schooling serves as the cohesive force, connecting formal and informal education and effectively addressing the strengths and challenges of each. It can be viewed as a transformative realm of learning that forges connections between previously disconnected spaces, urging us to contemplate the structure of education and the interconnectedness of different learning environments. The intentional alignment of learning environments lies at the core of Open Schooling.
During the closing phase of the event, we delved into the steps to make Open Schooling a reality. Essential components include systematic research, innovation hubs, integration into the formal education system, legitimacy, policy development, and synergy among initiatives and stakeholders. The projects presented demonstrated vividly that Open Schooling could transform the educational landscape by enabling intentional connections. This transformation facilitates a holistic and enriched learning experience for students with tangible societal impacts.
More details about Open Schooling can be found here.