The Norwegian Open Schooling network brings together students, teachers, families, and local actors to support transformative learning and active citizenship in the local community. The network has its base in Oslo, but involves collaborations more widely throughout the three-year project period.
In particular, the local network aims to boost the innovation and exploration of new ways of learning by building bridges between the school and the local community. This includes a shift towards more interdisciplinary and investigative learning tools, and new collaborations with a variety of stakeholders in private, public, and civil society.
The network makes use of and develops tools and methods that enable the students to experience the value of personal engagement and develop important competencies to engage as active citizens in their local community. The “Open Schooling” approach also provides methods for the school to play a bigger role in solving the issues of our time. Another aim of this network is therefore to prepare the school institution to lead sustainable and equitable transformations.
With the new curriculum in Norway as a backdrop, the local Open Schooling network will support the schools and teachers in deep, interdisciplinary, practical, experiential, and transformative learning with a focus on the overarching theme sustainable development, as well as themes such as life mastery, democracy, and citizenship.
The local network has collaboration with several schools. One of them is Kuben Upper Secondary School, a school situated in Oslo and in an area where the largest Norwegian city development will take place the next year.
At the same time, Oslo municipality has named this area as an internationally recognized test arena for sustainable innovation and development. The school is part of Kuben Vocational Arena, and Oslo's largest upper secondary school, with 1750 students.
The collaboration in the first iteration of SEAS was centered around the project “Kuben makes a change”. During the second iteration a sustainability day was organized at the Climate House in the Botanical Gardens in Oslo, with an exhibition and workshop. The third iteration will take place in spring 2021 and will focus on integrated climate solutions.
Frederik II Upper Secondary School in Fredrikstad, is another collaborating school. During during the 2020/2021 school year close partnerships developed between students and teachers in two classes, including the Sustainability and Innovation Class and the Research Class. The collaboration started off with a project centered around plastic and hope, where the involvement of students, teachers and the SEAS local network was centered around the interfaith art project “Hope Cathedral”, with the aim of developing critical perspectives on plastic pollution.
The project work was channeled towards a final exhibition at the school, where the students created, curated, and presented scientific posters, pictures, illustrations, artwork, and games and films they had created themselves to their families, to fellow students, teachers, policymakers, media, and others. The project and the exhibition have even generated engagement all the way up to the national level, with a visit by the State Secretary Maren Hersleth Holsen from the Ministry of Climate and Environment. Building on this, the students were invited to go deeper into the link between individual change and social change by engaging in the cCHALLENGE in November 2020. An additional class, the science class, was invited into the collaboration and the cCHALLENGE round. The strong collaboration continued in spring 2021 with a project related to Story of Stuff and life cycle analysis.
The local network is in expansion and collaborations have been established with Oslo International School and Blindern Upper Secondary School, and conversations about potential collaboration have been started with Vika Secondary School, among others.
Collaboration and strong partnerships
The Local Network has partners that provide strength in terms of both diverse knowledge, experience, and expertise. Having one of Norway’s largest environmental NGOs, Future in our Hands, as a partner strengthens the activist and practical dimensions of the project, as well as communication to and involvement of youth.
In addition, the Local Network includes local stakeholders that specialize in different sustainability issues. In Oslo this has included Klimahuset, Leva Urban Design, Oslo Science City, and Pådriv. And in Fredrikstad this has included Hope Cathedral and Biobe, a local business.
The Norwegian network is led by cCHANGE and The Department of Teacher Education and School Research, at the University of Oslo.