What is this project about?
Instilling empathy into global classrooms
Formal education tends to be restricted to knowledge acquisition, memorization and examination. Traditionally, there is little interaction between students from different classrooms, schools and countries. We are in a time where citizens are ready to take action on global issues like poverty, refugees and climate change. Education is more than pouring knowledge into our students’ heads; it is also about offering skills and bringing empathy into our classroom.
Bringing the world in classroom across six continents
Our mission is to make learning global by creating connections between students across six continents. The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals are our framework. The SDGs (global goals) were launched by the UN in 2015 in efforts to make our world a better place by the year 2030. As part of our project, we took on the challenge to design a new curriculum based on the SDGs and STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math).
Check out our Global Goals Curriculum.
Our First Lab School
We decided to launch Innovation SDG labs across African countries. We developed our first one in the Kakuma refugee camp (Kenya) which houses 200,000 people who fled from war and hunger in Sudan, Congo, Somalia and Congo. In this area, schools have no power supply so we developed our own solar suitcase. We now have 240 teachers across 55 countries offering free education to 3 Kakuma schools. Read more.
In the following stage, *** and Koen Timmers decided to develop three Innovation Lab Schools in Tanzania and Congo. The first one was equipped in Pugu, Tanzania in September 2018. The two other labs will be equipped in Gombe (Tanzania) and Tchimpounga (Congo) in February 2019.
The Lab Spaces
One lab typically is equipped with interactive whiteboard, internet connection, laptop, tablets and educational resources like Lego and educational apps. While one local teacher guides four groups of 20 students, once a week, the African students also connect to a teacher with students from across 90 countries. This way the students are able to have an informal chat about habits, culture and hobbies. This method proved to fight polarization and strive for intercultural exchanges in which students gain deeper understanding about each other’s lives. During one hour, the teacher offers insights about one or more of the UN SDGs using our SDG curriculum.
Making Learning Fun
In our lab schools, we shift from solely direct instruction to learning-by-doing and learning with others. A local teacher guides the students while they are exploring, brainstorming, creating, discussing, presenting and sharing their expertise to their global peers.
Thanks to educational resources which help students to build prototypes and express their feelings by creating scenarios.
"Students were more engaged and confident in their creativity and self-expression, and felt empowered by their newly found role as knowledge producers and their ability to generate digital content." (Palaigeorgiou and Grammatikopoulou, 2016)
We wouldn’t have been able to develop our labs without the guidance of our Partners:
We also received educational resources from: