Last January some friends said that over the years our REVEAL Seasons Greetings have turned increasingly grumpy. This was at least partly true – and it referred to last years’ political developments in Europe and worldwide.
I hate to say that the negative and pessimistic anticipations in the posts from 2016 to 2020 (https://reveal-eu.org/category/seasons-greetings/ were in most cases justified. We probably cannot yet calculate how much damage Trump has caused worldwide in his 4-year ghost train ride and we, as Europeans, are suffering hard from the Brexit phantom pain caused by Johnson and his Brexiteers.
However, I am sure that we will find chances and opportunities to collaborate with our friends and partners from the Kingdom west of the EU in future. If it is not within ERASMUS mobility and strategic partnerships, there may be other programmes open for fiancées and divorcées.
You are Europeans – and the European Community needs you!
There are also other reasons for optimism in this global Corona Crises: We got a vaccine, got rid of Trump, got an EU Budget and there may be hope that climate change mitigation is going to be high on the agenda from 2021 onwards.
Of course, 2020 was a disastrous year for many Europeans. Not just for the victims of the pandemic and those who suffer from long-term obstructions, but also for those who lost their jobs, their income and their spaces for direct encounters – especially in the cultural sector.
However, despite the enormous threat there were some positive surprises from the European Union; for instance, the 200 Mio € funding package released as extra Covid programme in Autumn 2020.
For our REVEAL community, the ERASMUS calls in April and October came at the right moment because many of our partners had quite some experience with innovative and high-quality e-learning formats which can now be further developed in new projects. Have a look at our partners’ projects on Data and Digital Literacy and our new project DEAL which will offer European wide CPDs on “Digitalisation” for Adult Educators.
Of course, the shut-downs in 2020 also affected our work programme and our projects. Due to hampered mobility, exchange programmes and internships we had to switch completely to online formats – however we have been in a relatively good situation due to our blended learning experiences since 2005, the digital learning tools and instruments and our blended instructional approaches based on our approach of Competence Oriented Learning and Validation (COL&V).
By the way: The approach and the respective technologies (the LEVEL5 learning suite) are now in use in 15 universities in Europe. Intensive CPDs for educational staff were planned and delivered (also online) in 20 countries combining blended learning and design thinking within the projects e-VIVA, CIM, PITCH, DEDALUS, DATALIT and THREE C.
We have further developed our (Moodle-based) learning apps with a fully-fledged sustainability programme for enterprises programme (the “SDG-Explorer”) and developed a scientific push-mail questionnaire tool based on open source apps.
For us, 2020 was a year of immobility and shifted report deadlines – however, it gave us a little bit more time to work on technological developments for our community.
We feel that we have now the right structure for the coming period – LEVEL5 as structural backbone (with taxonomy and the COL&V approach), REVEAL as European network association, blinc as project management cooperative and MATHETICS as scientific platform for research practice projects.
Following the idea of a holistic education we have combined the educational branch with sustainable development and climate change mitigation and adaptation: The THREE C approach for a Circular Carbon economy in NWE Europe.
The THREE C community uses waste biomasses to create new products from sustainably produced charcoal to substitute fossil coal and to contribute to a meaningful carbon sequestration. The technological developments are being connected to entrepreneurship education and sustainable regional development in seven European regions.
Since early 2020 there have been synchronous development workshops every fortnight in THREE C and the first CC-Incubator-Hubs will be opened in 2021 to give start-ups and SMEs the opportunity to develop innovative carbon products.
Talking about online collaboration: The year 2020 ended with our 10th REVEAL conference on December 10th and 11th. Its theme and title related to the Corona year: “How to avoid a learning lockdown online?”. We organised the event as a 2-day online conference with panel discussions, collaborative design-thinking workshops, a virtual exhibition, leisure time activities, virtual social moments and a mostly appreciated evening programme.
The conference, organised by the project consortia of CIM, PITCH, Job-Bridge and the blinc team, was attended by 100 people. It was a big success and it showed that even a 2-day online event can become an exciting online experience.
The biggest revelation of the conference was the combination of “old” and very powerful cultural techniques like storytelling with new online formats (have a look at the conference documentation)
Without a doubt, learning technologies have helped a lot to buffer some of the effects of the Covid lockdowns. However, let us not just be dominated by digital behaviouristic apps and poor instructional designs but take on board demand driven, competence-oriented learning with real life experiences and exciting stories…
… because learning happens everywhere!
Have a good and healthy 2021!