This is the “CoDeS Case Geleen” blog, titled:
The OPEDUCA Project – Flight for Knowledge
This blog describes the case of a school community collaboration for ESD developed in Geleen, Holland. This is one of the cases collected within the frame of Comenius Network CoDeS.
In the Netherlands, 40 pilot schools are working with Flight for Knowledge in daily practice. Teachers and pupils co-construct their own mindmaps, leading to sub-themes on a range of levels for which they contact ‘Knowledge Partners’ from private industry, bridging the worlds of schooling and work, as well as from governmental institutions and science. Step by step they open their own ‘Open Educational Region’ (OPEDUCA) through which in- and out of school learning merge into one dynamic, challenging and realistic learning space. Teachers proof over and over again that it is very well possible and desirable to construct each Flight for Knowledge in such a way that it is fully curriculum proof. Now facing a most challenging practice of pupils asking for much more than that.
Involving individual youngsters, groups of pupils, students and their teachers, will realize a true peer-to-peer learning community across worlds’ continents. Positioning and empowering youngsters as world citizens, basing their actions and values in local community and having the world within their reach. Pupils and students no longer being pushed to learn, but invited to develop.
In the schools that join the RCE Rhine-Meuse in the OPEDUCA approach, the curriculum, including textbooks and other support materials, is gradually being replaced by a new, teacher constructed, interdisciplinary ‘Life Sciences Program’. All subjects are focused on themes, such as water, food, or energy. Teachers as well as educators from outside the schools work together on teams guiding and instructing students, relating the traditional school subjects to future-oriented themes.
Through the OPEDUCA Concept, school education is now better adapted to developing the knowledge and skills that students will need in the future, while also better serving societal needs in the regions. Students are enriched through learning focused on real-life situations, while also identifying employment possibilities in the labour market and areas for postsecondary study later on. Teachers are no longer seen as ‘reproducers of inert knowledge’, but as facilitators or guides for learning. Although the route is long with many aspects still to be developed and problems to be solved, this exploratory journey should lead to an improvement of education generally, and ESD-based learning specifically. Our efforts will hopefully lead to a more sustainable future for all.