Schools of Tomorrow: A Kick-Off Conference

Teaching materials commissioned by Maria Montessori. 1920s.

What knowledge is needed in order to shape the future? How do art and research in school facilitate new forms of thinking and acting? And how would students organize their learning? In 2017 and 2018 Schools of Tomorrow examines how schools can become places in which society is shaped. The Kick-Off Conference from May 4 to 6, 2017, brings together educational theorists, school practitioners, teachers, artists, parents, and young activists in order to examine how schools can be transformed into laboratories for the society of tomorrow. The focus will be on the technological and social transformation of daily life in schools.

Schools of Tomorrow will draw on both international case studies of new critical educational approaches as well as knowledge gained from historical experiments. 100 years ago educational reformers strove to create the basis for new methods of learning and teaching. Industrialization, worldwide migration, and urbanization generated deep-rooted changes which the progressive educational reformers reacted to with new school concepts. In 1915 the philosopher John Dewey published his ground-breaking work Schools of To-morrow which found an echo internationally. For the development of his educational theory Dewey described a series of school experiments from different parts of the USA. His pedagogical approach, which aims to prepare pupils for the active shaping of society, continues to be influential to this day. Drawing on Dewey, the HKW project addresses contemporary approaches which point the pathway of learning.

Within the framework of the conference the anthropologist Mizuko Ito (University of California, Irvine) discusses how learning takes place in digital environments. The co-founder of the school Quest to Learn in New York and professor at DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media in Chicago, Katie Salen Tekinbaş, shows how play influences learning. Keri Facer (University of Bristol) examines the role ideas for a future society play in the development of schools. The artist Luis Camnitzer speaks on the meaning of art in dealing with not knowing. Historian Håkan Forsell (Stockholms universitet) conducts research at the interface between urban, educational, and childhood history. He combines the concept of Berlin’s Metropolitan Pedagogy from the beginning of the 20th century with current gentrification debates as well as new approaches of “Urban Learning”. In a workshop led by Ange Ansour, co-founder of the École de la Recherche in Paris, learning approaches are developed which familiarize pupils of all ages with the methods of scientific research.

Chica modular children’s chairs. 1971 / Jonathan De Pas, Donato D’Urbino, Giorgio DeCurso, and Paolo Lomazzi.

An competition of ideas for the school year 2017/2018, initiated in cooperation with the ZEIT publishing group, calls on pupils to describe how they would organize their ideal school. Children and young people of all grades can participate; the submission period is June 2017 to January 2018. In June 2018 the school projects meet for a joint concluding presentation, a trial run for the schools of the future.

With contributions from Ange Ansour, Arjun Appadurai, Gert Biesta, Catherine Burke, Luis Camnitzer, María do Mar Castro Varela, Keri Facer, Håkan Forsell, Luis Armando Gandin, Janna Graham, Mizuko Ito, Jugend hackt, Torsten Meyer, Carmen Mörsch, Sharon Dodua Otoo, Katie Salen Tekinbaş, Franciska Zólyom and others.

Schools of Tomorrow is curated by Silvia Fehrmann.

Schools of Tomorrow is part of 100 Years of Now. The ideas competition is a project from the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the ZEIT publishing group. The Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as well as by the Federal Foreign Office.

Schools of Tomorrow
Kick-Off Conference
May 4 - 6, 2017
Opening: Thursday May 4, 2017, 6pm, free admission
Workshops, talks, presentations

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