Effective collaboration for open culture, making and social innovation

DOIT Expert Meeting 2: Effective collaboration for non-formal learning in the fields of open culture, making and social innovation: Do we need new strategies, policies and practices?

The aim of the DOIT project is to empower girls and boys from 6 to 16 to create and share innovative, concrete solutions for a better world using digital technologies in open learning environments, such as makerspaces; and to transform and foster early entrepreneurship education for Europe and beyond. To ensure the aims are met, last Thursday 26th of September, all DOIT partners came together to discuss with experts and youth representatives on the impacts and challenges of open culture, entrepreneur education, “making” social innovators, and digital technology as non-formal learning.

Various perspectives and good practice examples of effective collaboration within these fields were shared and expanded upon while also connecting and introducing DOIT partners with new European stakeholders to expand and support shared initiatives. At the start of the expert conference various partners presented their pilot materials including WAAG, MEPF, UZAF, SRFG, FAB LAB BCN, RAMPA, FYXXI, and ZSI.
Christian Friedrich, both our moderator and host, presented about the importance of usefulness of digital literacies, participation in society and openness. Since digital literacy directly affects a person’s capacity to be an active member of modern society, they are responsible for how they utilize technology to interact with the world around them.

Maximilian Voigt, from Verbund offener Werkstätten, FabLab Cottbus, and Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland, presented on open culture, learning in and out of makerspaces, and how to build effective collaborations.

The DOIT project coordinator, Sandra Schon, from Salzburg Research, presented on the DOIT approach to making young social innovators. By developing, testing, evaluating, and disseminating new learning methods, a modern approach for entrepreneurial education with social innovation in makerspace settings for youth 6-16 is revolutionized.

Pam de Sterke from WAAG and SySTEM 2020 presented about open methods and collaboration enhancing non-formal STEAM learning in the project SySTEAM.

An interactive panel discussion involving Christian, Max, Sandra, and Pam explored the main challenges they saw in their work, ways in which they assured the commitment of both genders in open workshops, who finds open workshop places, and whether the participants of DOIT are part of the social innovation themselves. During the co-design sessions participants formed small groups to discuss how to progress the DOIT initiative in various ways.

The first co-design session lead by Isabel from EDUCETRUM VZW explored the basics to give young organizations a good start coming up with solutions like ethical/eco awareness, the need for resources e.g. time for teachers to learn initiatives and then implement them, and an ‘ambassador team’ of teachers who get the training and bring it back to their schools and train the rest of the teachers.

The second co-design session lead by Simona from CMON focused on how to use elements of open culture to facilitate and nurture effective collaboration among individuals, organisations and initiatives in the fields of non-formal education, making/STEAM and/or social innovation. Solutions involved the need to produce ideas and clearly define goals, not expect to see immediate results, stay in contact with networks, and start with small projects to gain traction.

The third topic lead by Margrit and Elizabeth from ZSI centred around policy shaping and the best methods of communication to policymakers in order to shape the conditions allowing further innovation and progress. Solutions presented included the necessity of positive and enthusiastic attitudes of both facilitators and participants, peer to peer learning, and integrating methods into school environments. The final co-design session was led by Christine and Katrin of MEPF discussing the exploitation of results and taking them further to ensure the various outcomes and learning are effectively used. Solutions included evaluating the levels of impact on a personal and interpersonal level, changing the mindset when analysing impact and perhaps measuring success various ways, implement solid training programs which ensure the DOIT methods continue to be used, using spaces free from grading or other types of pressure, and providing guidance of how to use DOIT resources and where to access them.

The interactive combination of presentations, panelist experts, and co-design sessions enabled expanded the understanding of partners, experts, and guests of best practices and DOIT methods as well as influencing policymakers and ensuring long lasting implementation of DOIT approaches.

Thank you to our host, Wikimedia Deutschland, fantastic partners and excellent participants, for making the second DOIT expert meeting a success!