Technological, socio-economical, and environmental changes are rapidly transforming and posing new challenges to our societies. What scientific knowledge, literacies, and skills do students and citizens need to address these challenges? Through SEAS, we will develop tools and methods that facilitate collaboration between schools and local communities facing sustainability challenges through what we call “open schooling”.
Open schooling involves schools cooperating with other institutions and organizations to achieve community well being and changes the way science comes into the classroom and how the science-classroom makes a difference in the world. In SEAS, this entails creating collaboration tools and methods where teachers and students can work together with out-of-school partners on solving sustainability and social justice challenges in their local communities.
Interviews with pupils at the school strike for climate in Oslo on August 30th (video production: Magnus Heie, Ylva Sørlie, and Alfredo Jornet/UiO).
Overall SEAS Aims
The overall aims of SEAS are (1) identifying core principles and best practices required for creating and sustaining open schooling collaborations, and (2) promoting scientific literacies and skills necessary to engage in addressing real-life, complex sustainability challenges.
To achieve these goals, SEAS will coordinate and investigate collaboration among six open schooling networks in Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and the UK. SEAS networks consist of partners with extensive experience in cooperation across formal, non-formal, and informal science education, and include, in addition to researchers and out-of-school centers, local schools, civil society organizations (CSOs), and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Science in/for action
There is a need for supporting, accelerating and catalyzing the personal, social, and institutional changes necessary to make it possible for school and out-of-school institutions to initiate and maintain sustainable collaborations. In a context in which the role of science in democratic societies’ is being challenged, students, and citizens more generally, need to experience that they can use scientific knowledge for social purposes and become agents for change through collaboration. SEAS involves a collaborative design approach, which means that educators, students and their families, participate together with other actors in the local community to address real-life, complex sustainability challenges.
Ultimately, SEAS will develop models for open-schooling implementation that will support schools and out-of-school institutions to collaborate in the promotion of new forms of scientific literacy and skills that better reflect the social and inter-disciplinary nature of science, empowering students and citizens at large to become agents of change in a democratic society. Although SEAS takes the issue of sustainability as point of departure, the principles, models and tools developed will be of relevance for bringing closer school and society through other subjects and topics.