EducACTION with fun through open schooling !

by Alexandra Okada

Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUC-PR) organised a large international event  in Curitiba – Brazil on the 16th to 19th of September, with three conferences that were joined together to promote significant discussions around the theme “Teacher professional development”:

  • EDUCERE – National Congress of Education
  • SIRSSE – International Seminar on Social Representations, Subjectivity and Education
  • SIPD / UNESCO –  International Seminar on Teacher Professionalization

This event brought together more than 3,000 teachers and 200 experts in the field to discuss Education in Brazil and tackle  societal issues and global challenges.

Alexandra Okada, educational research member of Rumpus from the Open University, was invited as a keynote, to present international initiatives with Brazil that are focused on new approaches to enhance education for the 21st century. She discussed various examples from two large European projects with Brazilian universities who were collaborators. These projects were underpinned by the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) approach whose aim is to align scientific development with societal needs by engaging all representatives in all phases of research and innovation.

Currently, Alexandra is exploring fun and engagement in education. She is passionate about “engaging approaches” to connect formal and informal learning effectively. She explores the role of “fun” for a contemporary education that is enjoyable to empower teachers and students with scientific knowledge, skills and attitude that they need to succeed by facing the pace of science and technology including local and global challenges. This includes mixed-realities, knowledge mapping and open science.

Alexandra invited teachers to reflect about the meaning of “action” in  educ”action” . She also introduced the concept of “open schooling” and engaged three sectors of participants: Higher Education, Schools and Society to reflect about RRI key issues: public engagement, gender equality, open access, ethics and research integrity, and science education.

There were a full range of participants interested in this relevant topic: undergraduates, teachers (pre-service, in-service) from public and private schools, researchers and research organisations, policy makers at global, national and regional level, business and industry representatives in the area of Education including publishers, science education members, and civil society organisations.

Various issues were raised by participants and discussed using “fun artefacts” to share and integrate their views and concerns about Education in Brazil:

  • How will educational managers, policy bodies and decision makers promote efficient management with limited resources?
  • How can educational institutions increase quality of education using bottom up approaches?
  • What are the strategies for the educational system to promote equity considering the large number of disadvantaged students?
  • So that, How important is teacher professional development and in what ways can teachers (from all levels) be better equipped to tackle these questions above?

The event was a great opportunity to envision collaboratively the next steps of open schooling and RRI  in Education including in terms of impact, policy and funding opportunities.  This session ended with a nice proverb “If you want to go fast – go alone, if you want to go far – go together”