Open the doors

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TOWARDS A PARADIGM SHIFT IN EDUCATION Coronavirus opens doors to rethinking education WwEU summer 2020

This paper is aimed at partners, teachers and students It intends to be a small contribution to bring some light towards what we might call “confusion” for the schools and our EU projects in these times. And also, to catch some ideas, to start dialogues after summer… The paper is written after some research and analysis of what is called the first “lessons learned” during these Covid months. The main objective is to bring awareness that all of the positive opportunities that are named below we already have them, we are working with them, since they are the basis of our projects. The only thing we have to do is to use these opportunities/resources that the projects give us to keep working in useful ways and benefit from them as partners. And of course, like never before we must BE INNOVATIVE


A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE AND FOR ALL The Covid-19 crisis has been, and will continue to be, a big challenge and a learning experience for the global education. No one expected something like this. For the past years, the education community has been talking a lot about the need to change education to be able to adjust to the needs of the new world but actually -and in practice- not a lot occurred. And now suddenly, all discussions about new ways of learning and teaching seem to be urgent. It is urgent to make a move. What we saw during the last months in all the countries around the world is that schools, teachers and even parents have been pushed to the limit to create new tools and resources on the go. It took the education sector by surprise and unprepared. In a short period of time they had to adjust and implement an online teaching method to respond to the new needs. Definity not an easy task! And now all the sudden the urge to rethink the learning system is right in front of us. Now, more than ever, the educational world has the need for it and there is no way back. We need to adjust to our needs and face the new challenges instead of looking away. And as everybody knows, we move and change when we need. Necessity is the mother of innovation. Without any doubt, COVID-19 has come to shake the world!

Schools after COVID-19: From a teaching culture to a learning culture Sean Tierney: Director of Education, Teaching & Learning Strategy Microsoft: Students will be empowered to learn for themselves in flexible, often collaborative ways, both inside and outside classrooms at their own pace. They will be able to follow their own interests and be challenged where appropriate. “The real learning is that learning can be hard.” Teachers will have access to individualized real-time data on how well each of their students is progressing – scholastically and emotionally – so they can devise new challenges and offer appropriate support for each child to move ahead. Parents will be better connected to, and involved with, their child’s education with certainty, detail, and confidence. The classroom, as we have known it for centuries, will also be re-imagined.


The hundreED organisation in partnership with the OECD and the Observatory of Education Innovation spotlight some of the lessons learned during these Covid times. To be able to link these lessons to our interest, to the projects, we divided them into positive opportunities and challenges. They say, Positive opportunities detected: Families are more engaged

It is also an excellent chance for teachers to form much stronger connections with parents

The online platforms are key

The value of international mobility and partnership

The importance of considering nature: due to quarantine, access to outdoors is limited, resulting in many people coming to appreciate the nature and working more deeply on this theme in the schools

Valuing the community and having the need to do something useful: there is an increased focus on empathy and solving real-world problems

Amplifying student voices in times of disruption

Technology: the need to get back to social connecting: for all we can’t control right now, this is something we absolutely can Teachers have the chance to develop creative initiatives that help to overcome the limitations of being physically separated There has been a lot of evidence that teachers are actively collaborating with one another and at a local level

There are unparalleled opportunities for cooperation, creative solutions, and willingness to learn from others and try new because educators, parents, and students are sharing similar experiences all at the same time


The initial reaction may be to replicate the same systems we are familiar with, but digital learning provides the opportunity to learn in new ways = rethinking school system Students now have the autonomy and agency to take charge of their learning to explore new ideas and experiences like never before. New interests and passions will emerge for many students and teachers In order for students to even show up for remote learning, the activities have to be a lot more engaging than what often happens in the classroom

Project-based learning (our projects Missions) is the way to take possible missing learning and standards from a previous year and integrate it into a project the following year … and have that learning occur all at the same time

As you can see, nothing new for us, everything is in our projects 😊

There are currently few impactful and scalable solutions for regions and countries that have significant problems with a reliable internet connection and access to digital devices There is also an extremely limited understanding of how educators, students, and parents are currently coping in these places There is little to no evidence of cooperation between countries when this is an excellent opportunity to do so Educators have been forced into teaching for a system that is not prepared. As a result, we far from using best practices for ‘online learning’ and are scrambling for ‘emergency online home-schooling’ Intrinsically motivated learners may find they are relatively unaffected in their progress without needing supervision, however, vulnerable groups and those who find themselves struggling to work independently will likely spend time being lost Whole families are often at home while parents are working. There are practical issues around physical workspaces conducive to different ways of learning There are a plethora of tools and resources out there, however, there is little understanding of solutions that are the most effective and how to best implement them Summarizing: there are wonderful opportunities in this situation but there are also significant challenges that require new innovative solutions.


Michelle Cove, founder and executive director of Mediagirls:

The media keeps throwing out the phrase “social distancing,” which makes me cringe. Physical distancing is necessary to avoid spreading the germs; I know that by “social distancing,” experts mean not getting too physically close to one another, especially in crowded places. But what we desperately need is social connecting. We need to take care of each other – and I mean on a global scope. Let’s use our media to care for ourselves and each other. Let’s get back to social connecting. For all we can’t control right now, this is something we absolutely can.

We know that the post-covid world is full of challenges, but it also opens up a range of new opportunities and…WE, as an EU project partners ARE THE LUCKY ONES When reading the positive opportunities, we can see that they are based under the same parameters of innovations that our projects are built with. Of course, we can always wonder, but what can we do; and even doubt if we can actually do anything fearing that it is too complicated. Some will think it is better to wait for the “normality” to come back. Yes, we can do that. However, the experts are already pointing out what we call “normality”, will never be the same. They prefer indeed to use the expression “the new normality” in which we have no idea for how long it will last. If we want to be proactive and move forward during this pandemic crisis, we have to use, to make the most out of the projects and the imagination. You know that sometimes the imagination is more important than the knowledge: notice that the physicists before demonstrating anything, first they imagine how it might be what they imagine and after that they make hypotheses…

Think about it: we have the power, the tools and resources in our projects to collaborate and do our part. We can change our future; we can be disruptive. It is all in our projects and that makes us privileged.


This clever man said:

“Let’s not pretend that things will change if we keep doing the same things. A crisis can be a real blessing to any person, to any nation. For all crises bring progress. Creativity is born from anguish, just like the day is born form the dark night. It’s in crisis that inventiveness is born, as well as discoveries made and big strategies. He who overcomes crisis, overcomes himself, without getting overcome. He who blames his failure to a crisis neglects his own talent and is more interested in problems than in solutions. Incompetence is the true crisis. The greatest inconvenience of people and nations is the laziness with which they attempt to find the solutions to their problems. There’s no challenge without a crisis. Without challenges, life becomes a routine, a slow agony. There’s no merit without crisis. It’s in the crisis where we can show the very best in us. Without a crisis, any wind becomes a tender touch. To speak about a crisis is to promote it. Not to speak about it is to exalt conformism. Let us work hard instead. Let us stop, once and for all, the menacing crisis that represents the tragedy of not being willing to overcome it.”

Let’s talk about it and find the ways to move after summer …


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