A special presentation of the WYRED project

A major milestone for The Tel Aviv Summer University  program was achieved as the young students presented their projects in their graduation ceremony.
The program was led by Dr. Tal Soffer, head of The unit for technology and society foresight (TSF) at Tel Aviv University, and the Youth Summer University’s staff. The students were exposed to various issues related to the digital society in the present and in the future, focusing on the Israeli society. It was done through various tours in relevant places and lectures about different subjects. Following that, the students were asked to identify a problem that would be important in the year 2030, to explore it, analyze, and propose creative solutions that will engage with large audiences and reach the decision makers. The work was done in teams where the students could express their opinion in a moderated dialog.

During the graduation ceremony the WYRED project was presented, and the students showcased their projects to a wide audience including (no : necessary) senior representatives from  the Israeli Ministry of Education, researchers from Tel Aviv University, visitors from the third sector, educators and the families of the participants. 
You can have a small glimpse of two scenes video clip from one of the team projects, which deals with the refugees issue:

(Shown in the picture above : The young students are standing in front of a slide that says “Thank you” in a special font that combines letters in Hebrew and Arabic).

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School as it is.

At its birthplace

We have to face
the problem that this place where we struggle
does not need to be chased nor erased
just changed.
We have to face the fact that everything changes
with time
even though it’s not a crime, our system
we climb, has not.
And how do you want to make a change in
the world, in the future when the base
is still at its birthplace.

 

Where is Education
an unhealthy station is what I see
through sleepless nights and starving through days
to nourish ourselves with masses of textbooks instead
hydrate with information, no water
so tomorrow I can put pen down it all
and throw it all out once again
now we can have a meltdown.
Pay attention around because that
is an illness that needs to be cured.

 

And no,
we are not unfocused
this all is just unspoken, look at the bigger picture
can’t you see it’s broken?

 

Game over or Time out?

our worth, defined by grades
behind all the shades, can’t you see we have
to perform well every day
yet under all the uniform, can’t you see we are bleeding
regardless of it all
yes, I will bring high performances daily
I’ll try
but trying is not enough
when really what for?

Get my A levels and forget about the information
I was fed for so many years
because after all these dropped tears and anxiety attacks
we finally did it, didn’t we?
But what actually?
surviving and living anxiously for several years
questioning our intelligence brutally due grading system
binge learning and forgotten answers.
Yes, yes, we did it.

this play act need to drop
it is a fact.
Like we are in some sort of game
trying to escape
while desperately reaching for the top.

Game over or Time out?

Face this case

                                                

Hope you see clearly now
a change, is more than needed

Hope you see clearly now
There needs to be more than just a degree
and some wannabee teacher
no more go to Yale or go to jail.
 

Hope you see clearly now
In this case “less is more”
should truly define this place we call school

May we can all exchange our knowledge
and deepest experiences
And may we can learn from that more than
written textbooks

May we travel and learn more on airplanes
than classrooms
learn more on our way to a destination
than our way to graduation
My we travel and learn from eager successful people
more than from science teachers.

May we share our favourite books and
sink and find ourselves in them
May we find peace in learning
because learning is great, why do we make it hard?
Because learning is important, and School is not.

 

Objectives: 
Reflection on the educational system in form of a poem

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What’s wrong with the education system

The project is carried out by High School students from “Hof HaSharon” regional high school in Israel. This group is called “Shfayim Community” in the WYRED platform

Number of participants: 14.  Age: 17
Project and topics discussed: What’s wrong with the education system and how it can be improved.

Summary of discussions:

The problem: What’s wrong with the education system in Israel – “vomiting the learned material”

During several meetings, discussions developed regarding the shortcomings of the education system in Israel as perceived by the participants. The discussion focused specifically on the difficulties that arise from the conduct of the current education system, which, in our opinion, makes our learning very difficult and hampers our ability to reach high level achievements. Highlights are listed below:

In the discussions we have reached the understanding that the current situation is very burdensome and does not allow us to maintain an efficient lifestyle that includes participation in additional frameworks other than the school.
We feel that the education system does not really see us as students, as individuals. Our feeling is that we are wasting our time memorizing material that will not help us in future. 
During the exams period, the students are under a heavy pressure. The teachers don’t consider us and our difficulties in this period, and give us a lot of homework. This doesn’t help to alleviate the pressure. 
We feel frustrated in particular because every teacher is sure the she is the only teacher, and gives a lot of homework without considering the assignments we get from other teachers.
All these  – assignments, homework, exams  – cause us to fail; Instead of helping us, the teachers only increase the burden, and they don’t understand that we have life outside of school.
At the end of the day, we feel frustrated from the school system, because the way it works today really makes our life difficult.
We want the school to pay more attention to values and less to grades. We want more meaningful learning, so that we learn necessary life skills, rather than memorizing the material.
Our desire is to change the teaching method, to apply the learned material in a useful way, and that the system find a better way to appreciate the student, besides exams.
 

Specific expectations from decision-makers:

Listening to young persons and understand them in order to alleviate the burden that students experience. They should come not just to hear us but also to really listen.
Changing the education approach and the curriculum. Reducing the workload and more consideration of students’ private lives.
To open the possibility for students to choose the topics of learning, namely allowing them to choose the subjects of study in a broader manner.
Reduce the number of compulsory subjects.
Changing the reform done in the high school curriculum, returning the start of matriculation exams to 10-th grade, and distributing the exams over the three years in high school.
The implementation of so-called “meaningful learning” in a clearer and broader sense.
To stop causing the students to just “throw up” the learned material, with an emphasis on changing the teacher-student relationship.
Especially to emphasize the significant reduction of pressure on high school students and the expansion of their activity possibilities after the school hours.

 

Planned artefact: Graffiti

We decided to present our frustration from the education system through a graffiti on the school wall. The aim is to arouse attention and awareness of the stressful situation that we experience as 11-th graders.

Proposed design of the Graffiti:

An image of a “hypnotized” person whose brain explodes due to extensive learning. To this image, we will add a statement that will express our frustration and feelings towards the Israeli education system.

 

Objectives: 
To discuss the problem/shortcomings of the education system in Israel, from the perspective of high school students.

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Un solo planeta

Autores: Christian Castañeda Noguera, Jordi Resende Moura
Este cortometraje muestra algunos de los problemas fundamentales de nuestro planeta como consecuencia de la sobreexplotación, las guerras, la globalización, etc.
Objectives: 
Reflexionar sobre los problemas fundamentales que afectan a nuestro planeta

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La vida de Timmy

Autores: Ricardo Pastor Pérez, Julio Gaspar Pro Rodríguez, Juan Carlos Velasco Sánchez
Este documental de ficción aborda la dificultad del protagonista, Timmy, para construir su propia identidad invididual, a través de su lucha por identificar su vocación y superar el acoso de otros compañeros gracias al apoyo de su grupo de amigos.
Objectives: 
Reflexionar sobre las dificultades de los jóvenes para construir su propia identidad y su vocación individual

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Influencia de la educación en nuestra vida

Autoras: Xuan Cai, Marta Hernández Cañas, Sandra Manzano González
Trabajo de investigación / ensayo sobre la evolución de la educación a través de la historia.
Objectives: 
Analizar la importancia de la educación a través de la historia

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Fresh proposals for future education

We do believe that the best way to show how WYRED truly brings out the voice of youth is by presenting the artifacts realized by the young participant to this project. As a matter of fact, nothing tells us about the youth of today more than turning their own words, their own feelings and ideas down into tangible objects for you to see. The success story we are about to tell you is quite a representative example of how this is true.

Valentina Borowansky, a 17-year old from Austria, has written an essay on the topic of future education, called “The Prison School – How the System Fails us”.

“We study. A lot. But we don’t really know anything. We can’t use it. We are not smarter than before.
But how does this work out? We go to school. We study. Then why don’t we know anything?

Did we fail the system? Or did the system fail us?” – is what she asks herself, and us, in her paper aiming to show how today’s school system makes children, young people and their own parents “all prisoners”.

Her ultimate objective is that of demonstrating how school actually doesn’t just provide children and young people with knowledge, but also takes knowledge from them. “The current school system is twisted, outdated, unauthentic and hostile of individuality. But it doesn’t have to be like that. There are alternatives.”

Valentina outlines six essential points that, according to her, turn school into “a prison”.

  • The 50-minute school lessons: often meaning that students are forced to stop in the middle of a vivid discussion, an experiment or a fruitful analysis, and forced to focus on something totally different;
  • Young people do not have enough free time: this is especially frustrating as they enter into their final years of school, as they could devote their time to their interests to relieve themselves of the burdens imposed by school, homework and tests. Their spare time is too often overloaded with school-like activities (es. cram school), with the goal of helping them to succeed in school.
  • Too much importance is given to marks. Everybody has to achieve their best results. Since no mistake is allowed, young people are always put under the pressure of having to achieve good marks. Doing bad at school often leads to low self-esteem. Any curiosity for something different than school is put off, as school often takes more knowledge from students than it gives.
  • To be successful students have to put on a mask to hide their own individuality. “Do not invite unwanted attention, stay somewhere in the middle”, then you will succeed. Even after school is just the same.
  • School topics have nothing to do with real life. For example, there is no connection between the formulas forcibly memorized in maths and reality. They are being just learned for the test and forgotten after 2 minutes…
  • The school system will not admit responses differing from “YES”. A student’s life is all about agreeing, respecting rules, being subjected to somebody. These teachings might be prove useful in the future, but which one? This has nothing to do with the future we are heading to.

When focusing on solutions, Valentina argues that there already exist teachers with innovative approaches in didactics and methodology. However, this is just one side of the coin. The other side is the entire education system, which keeps parents, teachers and young people together. Valentina proposes new, democratic, alternative model of schools: for example “Kapriole in Freiburg”, or “The free school in Leipzig” which focus on childrens’ and young people’s individual skills and let the teachers play the role of empowering “Learning-Coaches” that foster the curiosity of the learners.

“Maybe this is not the ultimate solution for our old-crusted system, but it takes the right direction. We need to start learning, understanding, exploring and researching again. The people of tomorrow need a school of tomorrow.”

Valentina Borowanski, our young idealist longing for a better future for education

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First Edition of the International Conference on Technological Ecosystems for Enhancing Multiculturality (TEEM 2013)

The First Edition of the International Conference on Technological Ecosystems for Enhancing Multiculturality (TEEM – http://teemconference.eu) will be held in the Educational Research Institute (IUCE – htttp://iuce.usal.es) at the University of Salamanca next November 15-16, 2013.

This event is aimed to create a researching community to interchange and dialogue about the multiculturality enhancement from the Knowledge Society interdisciplinary perspective. In this way, TEEM Conference in linked to the Education in Knowledge Society PhD Programme of the University of Salamanca (http://www.usal.es/webusal/node/30026).

This TEEM first edition is organised into a set of thematic tracks, each one with its own topics and call for papers:

All the tracks share the idea to go further the traditional academic conference presentations, just in order to look for the discussion and the improvement of the actual researches and future ones including the constructive feedback from the conference attendants.

Conference proceedings will be published in the ACM Digital Library as a volume in its International Conference Proceedings Series with ISBN.

Besides, 12 special issues will be organised to extend (60% at least) the best papers and also to make new articles as result of new collaborations among conference participants. The updated journal list may be consulted at http://teemconference.eu/special-issues.