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How to better connect with schools through open schooling

The idea of building “wide walls” in education was coined by Mitchel Resnick in his book “Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play”, which states that learning should not just be about going from easy to complex (low floors, high ceilings), it should instead also include horizontal growth for young learners where multiple learning pathways can be explored as they travel from the floor to the ceiling. This idea has been gaining popularity as a means to prepare young learners for the rapidly changing world that is being felt throughout the entire culture. And these changes bring challenges. For example, COVID-19 has accelerated the digitisation of education providing new means of access to education for many but simultaneously pushed the world into becoming more immediate and more dispersed. 

Society at large has to solve these emerging challenges but these challenges are particularly more acute for schools due to their large contribution in equipping students with the knowledge and skills they will need for this ever-changing tomorrow, and as we know, informal learning organisations are also pivotal in supporting this contribution. There is a need for a more open and flexible pedagogical approach in education to support the diverse needs of 21st-century learners. In essence, schools should strive for these “wide walls”, building their walls throughout the community. But how do we encourage such change? And how can we be a part of it? The European project Make it Open wants to show you how all this can be possible through their approach to “open schooling”.

And not only show you but also encourage you to be a part of it. 


What is Open Schooling?

Open schooling is a term that describes learning which is ‘open’ in terms of timing, location, teaching roles, and methods. It is where the school becomes an agent of community well being, where families, companies, and organisations such as science centres and museums become real partners in school life and the learning journey of the students. Many schools already carry out such an approach but Make it Open is trying to evolve this idea by making it more accessible where learners are empowered to create their own culturally-tailored learning experience and teachers are given new ways to connect students to a range of different topics from food waste, pollution to healthy snack eating. 

Throughout this process, we have worked with teachers across Europe to design a framework to trial open learning within schools. In essence, this framework has been built by teachers for other teachers, to complement the curriculum, not replace it. Some teachers have already shared their experiences so far:

I enjoy watching the children learn. Thank you for the opportunity to teach this subject and widen my horizons.” - teacher from Israel

Thanks to this project, I felt more of an educator than a teacher. The teacher teaches, and the educator helps students learn. Such change makes students realise that they are responsible for how much they learn and that, as an educator, I can help them learn.” - teacher from Poland

Feedback is still being collected but we are already witnessing a positive impact for the teacher as well as the student. Hear from teachers in Israel trialling our approach: 


How can you, science engagement professionals be involved in open schooling?

Our next step is to test the Make it Open framework further during the 2022-2023 school year across 10 countries in 150 schools: Greece, Hungary, Israel, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the UK. If you are based in one of these countries and know and work with a school in your network who you think would be interested in being a part of this open schooling movement, pass on this article to them where they can leave their details to show interest in such a project. And maybe you can even be a part of their open schooling journey... 

If you want to know more about the project in general you can visit the Make it Open website or get in contact with Andrew Whittington-Davis (ajwhittingtond@ecsite.eu). 



  • open schooling
  • education
  • STEM