The aim of the Educational Spaces 21. Open up! project (in short: EDUSPACES21), is to assist schools in modernizing their educational spaces with 21st century solutions in mind. The central idea of this approach is to see educational space in broader terms than as a mere classroom. This encompasses three principal dimensions: physical space, virtual space and technology and social aspects. Partners in the project are Center For Citizenship Education, Warsaw, Poland (leader), Think! Foundation, Warsaw, Poland, Hanseatic Institute for Entrepreneurship and Regional Development at the University of Rostock (HIE-RO), Rostock, Poland and Rektorsakademien Utveckling (RAU), Stockholm, Sweden.
In all parts of Europe, most schools look alike. They resemble prison cells in which education is enclosed. Learning space is limited by walls, standardized into classroom dimensions and put in the hands of one person: the infallible teacher whose goal is to fill the minds of the pupils with knowledge. This description illustrates the prevailing teaching model which ignores the fact that a new definition of educational space has emerged. In the course of this project, we want to present possible architectural and infrastructural solutions, as well as guidelines concerning the ways in which the existing infrastructure can be modernized. All changes must address the actual needs of the users: both students and teachers.
Virtual space and Technology
Thanks to the development of the Internet, we now have access to innumerable resources via a series of user-friendly means, including mobile tools. The Internet has altered our lifestyles, our learning habits, as well as our working and communication models. The teachers’ roles and students’ expectations are constantly evolving. The same applies to the set of skills necessary to function professionally, socially and individually in the 21st century. Still many schools struggle to find meaningful ways to use technology for learning, and meet the challenges of distractions that comes with the digital world. The project aims to find and share good examples of the use of technology in the classroom and how teachers work to develop 21st century skills for their students.
Social and Cultural space
PISA survey results (2012) have indicated several challenges to be faced by Polish and other European schools. An overwhelming majority of 15-year-olds (79%) is of the opinion that school is a waste of time. They do not believe in school nor do they feel happy inside its walls. A lot of the teenagers do not believe that they will get a good job if they do well at school and they don´t thing that the school will provide them with useful knowledge to be applied at work. This is serious and needs to be addressed in school. How do we create Education that makes sense to our children and prepare them for a life outside school? The proposed project provides solutions aimed at fostering students’ entrepreneurial and social skills.
More information is available in English at Eduspaces.eu