The OStogether initiative is driven by a shared vision: to contribute to a more scientifically interested and literate society and to the development of more active, informed and responsible citizens, by opening up schools to society and society to schools, through the development of meaningful partnerships and projects between schools and community stakeholders.
The OStogether Inspiration Sessions are thus a place of exchange, informality, openness and collaboration that aims to strengthen a network around open schooling while promoting sharing of best practices, experiences and challenges.
Every six weeks, we get together around a relevant topic and let ourselves be inspired by the multiple and diverse perspectives of the different open schooling projects, partners and collaborators, including educators, students, researchers, parents, and policy-makers.
In this article, we will present to you what happened in the first three Inspiration Sessions.
The next Inspiration Session will be dedicated to 'How can we make schools more (STEAM) engaging, more responsive (to actual needs and topics) and more inclusive - not only in a social dimension?'' We will shortly share with you its conclusions and take-aways.
The first Inspiration Session was the occasion for the partners involved in different open schooling projects to meet and discover others implementing similar initiatives. Ecsite, the European network of science engagement organisations which is involved in 2 open-schooling projects: Make it Open and Schools As Living Labs, led the session and gave the floor to an old, a young and a newborn project.
- Pavlos Koulouris - from Ellinogermaniki Agogi, the Greek organisation that conceived and coordinated the first Open Schooling projects the European Commission financed:OSOS. With OSOS having just finished a few months ago, he agreed to highlight the most interesting outcomes, learnings and legacies of OSOS that all Open Schooling projects can benefit from. Pavlos Koulouris is also the coordinator of Schools As Living Labs.
- Maria Vicente - from Leiden University shared OpenScienceHub learnings from their first year using different case studies. She did not shy away from sharing the challenges they have faced when building local communities and hubs.
- Dee Halligan, - from Forth, synthesised the main results of a research work they did at the very beginning of the Make it Open project. They analysed 100+ open schooling initiatives to elicit and characterise the main features of Open schooling. They also use Service Design methods to create a set of ‘user-centred delivery templates’ which can help any educator to structure an open schooling project or programme. Their results can be found here: ‘What is Open Schooling?’
The second Inspiration Session focused on a very relevant and timely topic that is affecting us all, “the Covid-19 pandemic” and in particular its impact on Open Schooling projects. The session was conducted using a “fishbowl dynamic”, which was adapted for the online setting by requesting all participants, except for the panel speakers, to turn off their cameras and just turn them on when they would like to join the discussion or say something.
Under the moderation of Maria Zolotonosa, coordinator of Make it Open project, the session was kicked off by the following four speakers:
- Alexandra Okada - (The Open University, UK – CONNECT project)
- Matteo Merzagora - (Association TRACES, France – SALL project)
- Nicole Salomon - (OVOS media, Austria – COMnPlay project)
- Erik Knain - (Universitetet I Oslo, Norway – SEAS project)
The rapid spread of the new COVID-19 variants has put the world on alert. The various school lockdowns have affected the educational system in our countries. Challenges and opportunities must be considered to better respond to these issues. During this inspiration session, the participants talked through this issue addressing questions such as how can our open schooling projects support schools during and post-pandemic? What can be done, and what can be done differently?
Some interesting highlights pointed out by the speakers and participants that triggered further reflections, were:
“How can we help schools to connect and cooperate with local communities during the COVID pandemic?” Alexandra Okada
“How can we address the challenge of building trust at distance – the difficulty of stakeholder engagement when actors do not know each other” Matteo Merzagora
“What are the needs of the participants of open schooling (what they care about)? What are their priorities (what they need to know)? What are their expectations (what can they do)? During and post-pandemic?”
Read more about the third inspiration session HERE.
The third Inspiration Session had the theme ‘Exploring the positive impact on the environment that open schooling is having and has the potential to have’.
The project coordinator of PULCHRA, Constantinos Cartalis, introduced the theme and then described how the PULCHRA project is having a great positive impact on the environment. Lenka Kleger, PULCHRA National Co-ordinator for the Czech Republic, then presented on the various PULCHRA projects across Europe and the wonderful environmental work being done in them. She was joined by Jakub Randus and Tereza Bartáková, students from the PULCHRA project in Gymnazium (high school) Postupicka, Prague who presented on their project that is tackling litter issues in the community. Finally, Dr. Evgenia Patsilinakou, a teacher from a PULCHRA project in A’ Arsakeion Lyceum Psychico, Athens talked about a PULCHRA project in her school.
Next up was Schools As Living Labs with Yair Ben-Horin, SALL National Co-ordinator, Israel, presenting on the approach the project is taking with open schooling and its link to the environment. He was joined by a teacher from a school in Israel who talked about how SALL was working in her school with amazing actions on the environment. Yvoni Pavlou, SALL National Co-ordinator, Cyprus then presented the work of SALL in schools in Cyprus with some amazing examples of actions for the environment taken there also.
In the Open Science Hubs section Cristina Olivotto, National Coordinator of OSHub-Switzerland, talked about the OSHubs project in Switzerland involving schools working with stakeholders to explore the local water quality actions on the environment. Yvoni Pavlou, SALL National Co-ordinator, Cyprus then presented the work of SALL in schools in Cyprus with some amazing examples of actions for the environment taken there also.
In the Open Science Hubs section Cristina Olivotto, National Coordinator of OSHub-Switzerland, talked about the OSHubs project in Switzerland involving schools working with stakeholders to explore the local water quality.
Attendees left inspired by all the fantastic work that is being done in all the projects and the obvious impact it is having on the environment. Read more HERE.