OPEDUCA Program
School Development
In OPEDUCA learning is leading, followed by educational approaches and than by schooling. A school in OPEDUCA has to go back to her essentials, ‘strip off’ present day practice and restrictions and re-think what the goals of their work and presence are. From thereon it re-builts it's education in a simple and logical order to address and support students.
A school in OPEDUCA is a continuously innovating learning environment, entirely student- and future focussed.

All too often schools over the years have became a 'Christmas tree', full of baubles, bulbs and garlands for each and every priority they faced. Or better, 'priorities' and 'innovations' others came up with. In general the schools often addressed these (either pressed upon of self chosen) challenges by creating (stand-alone) activities, mostly in the form of projects, on top of what they kept seeing as regular education. As a result both the school as organisation and the educational process itself more or less suffocates under eventually numerous projects and half-way integrated innovations and modernisations. It appears to be the average teachers' biggest frustration (and educational consultants' largest source of income).

A school in OPEDUCA should be ready to face and stand up to the continuous flood of educational reforms and commercially driven improvements outsiders want to impose on them. In the analogy of the Christmas tree, an OPEDUCA-based school is just an always fresh, green tree with deep roots in the sound ground of culture and the environment, nourished by and breathing humanity.

Jos Eussen

Local indentity and relevance, though a universal context



As learning is a human aspect and occurs always, as it has done through the ages of the development of mankind, OPEDUCA can be applied to any school, everywhere. For it is not a new 'method', 'project' or technical 'program' - it is a base underneath the school. We often compare with 'intel-inside'; schools in OPEDUCA share a common understanding and approach which they apply to their local setting, values and practical reality.
OPEDUCA can be understood as common ground to build on whereas what grows from that soil is unique and has it's own local identity, name and flag.
The extend to which OPEDUCA can be applied to a specific school can (for the time being) be restricted by for example the experience and talents of teachers, the building or acces to internet, but the appropriateness is not effected by the context.
A full scale development, when a school chooses to base itself on OPEDUCA in the whole range, will have considerable impact on each aspect of the organisation and it's people. Experience shows that this impact comes natural to students but is substantial to the school as such and requires at the least a professional management and dedicated teachers with the desire to re-invent their profession. Here lies the base for 'OPEDUCA as a Program' which foresees in a well balanced transition from 'ist' to 'soll'. For The OPEDUCA Project is not just about innovation, it's about implementing changes that work and that improve the students' learning.



14 things that are obsolete in 21st century schools



Saying that it has always been this way, doesn’t count as a legitimate justification to why it should stay that way. Teacher and administrators all over the world are doing amazing things, but some of the things we are still doing, despite all the new solutions, research and ideas out there is, to put it mildly, incredible.
I’m not saying we should just make the current system better… we should change it into something else.
I have compiled a list of 14 things that are obsolete in 21st century schools and it is my hope that this will inspire lively discussions about the future of education.
By Ingvihrannar


Computer rooms

The idea of taking a whole class to a computer room with outdated equipment, once a week to practice their typewriting skills and sending them back to the classroom 40 minutes later, is obsolete.
Computers or technology shouldn’t just be a specific subject, that’s not sufficient anymore but rather it should be an integral part of all the subjects and built into the curriculum.

Schools that don’t have WiFi

Schools that don’t have a robust WiFi network for staff and students are not only missing a big change for teaching and learning but robbing the students of access to knowledge and also limiting their chances to learn about the internet and using technology in a safe way.
21st century schools make it possible for students and staff to learn anywhere, anytime and schools that don’t allow that are obsolete.

Isolated classrooms

Classrooms can be isolated in two ways. One where parents, teachers or guests are not welcome because the door and drapes are always shut… which has the words “Don’t come in here” written all over it. The other way is being isolated to all the knowledge outside the 4 walls. For example from the internet, videos, blogs, websites and visits from authors or scientists through Skype, to name a few.
Tony Wagner, the author of the Global Achievement Gap says: “Isolation is the enemy of improvement”. The classroom should be open, teachers should be able to walk in and learn from each other, parents should visit often, f.x. with so called Extra Open Schooldays (where all parents are encouraged to visit classrooms anytime during the day). Isolated classrooms are therefore obsolete.
Banning phones and tablets

Taking phones and tablets from students instead of using them to enhance learning is obsolete. We should celebrate the technology students bring and use them as learning tools.
Phones are no longer just devices to text and make phone calls… when they were, then banning them was OK. Today there is more processing power in the average cellular telephone than NASA had access to when they sent a man to the moon in 1969. Yet most students only know how to use these devices for social media and playing games.
Today you can edit a movie, make a radio show, take pictures, make posters, websites, blog, tweet as a character from a book, have class conversations over TodaysMeet and Google most answers on a test with the device in your pocket. We should show our students the learning possibilities & turn these distractions into learning opportunities that will reach far outside the classroom.

Tech Director with an administrator access

Having one person responsible for the computer system, working from a windowless office in the school basement, surrounded by old computers, updates the programs and tells the staff what tech tools they can and cannot use… is obsolete.
Today we need technology co-ordinators that know what teachers and students need to be successful and solves problems instead of creating barriers. Someone who helps people to help themselves by giving them responsibility and finds better and cheaper ways to do things.
Teachers that don’t share what they do

Teachers who work silently, don’t tweet, blog and discuss ideas with people around the world are obsolete. Teachers are no longer working locally but globally and it’s our job to share what we do and see what others are doing. If a teacher is no longer learning then he shouldn’t be teaching other people.
We should all be tweeting, blogging and sharing what works and doesn’t work, get and give advice to and from co-workers around the world. We should constantly be improving our craft because professional development isn’t a 3 hour workshop once a month but a lifelong process.
Traditional libraries

Libraries that only contain books and chess tables are obsolete.
A 21st century library should be at the heart of the school and a place where both students and staff can come in to relax, read, get advice, access powerful devices, edit videos, music, print in 3D and learn how to code to name a few. This 21st century learning space should give people an equal chance to use these devices and access information. Otherwise these libraries will turn into museums where people go to look at all the things we used to use.
Starting school at 8 o’clock for teenagers

Research has shown over and over again that teenagers do better and feel better in schools that start later. Often parents or administrators needs get in the way of that change. Research (f.x. from the The Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics and University of Minnesota - video) show that delaying school start as little as 50 minutes and making it longer by 30 minutes instead has a positive effect both on learning and activities after school. Schools that don’t do this are obsolete.
Starting later is easy and teachers could use the extra time in the morning to prepare class… it’s a win-win situation.
Standardized tests to measure the quality of education

Looking at standardized tests to evaluate whether or not children are educated or not is the dumbest thing we can do and gives us a shallow view of learning. The outcomes, although moderately important, measure only a small part of what we want our kids to learn and by focusing on these exams we are narrowing the curriculum. Alfie Kohn even pointed out a statistically significant correlation between high grades on standardized tests and a shallow approach to learning. The world today and the needs of the society are completely different to what they used to be. We are not only training people to work locally but globally. With standardized test, like PISA, we are narrowing the curriculum, and all the OECD countries are teaching the same thing. Because of that we all produce the same kind of workers, outdated workers, to work in factories. People who can comply, behave and be like everybody else.
In the global world today it is easy to outsource jobs to someone who is willing to do the same job, just as fast for less money. Therefore we need creative people that can do something else and think differently.
One-Professional development-workshop-fits-all

A school that just sends the entire staff to a workshop once a month where everyone get the same are obsolete. Professional development is usually top down instead of the ground up where everyone get what they want and need. This is because giving everyone (including students) what they need and want takes time & money.
With things like Twitter, Pinterest, articles online, books, videos, co-operation & conversations employees can personalize their professional development.
Schools that don’t have Facebook or Twitter

Schools that think putting a news article on the school website every other week and publish a monthly newsletter is enough to keep parents informed are obsolete.
The school should have a Facebook page, share news and information with parents, have a Twitter account and their own hashtag, run their own online TV channel where students film, edit and publish things about school events.
If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.

All students get the same

Putting kids in the same class because they are born in the same year is obsolete. School systems were originally set up to meet the needs of industrialism. Back then we needed people to work in factories, conformity was good and nobody was meant to excel or be different in that environment. That doesn’t fit our needs today, let alone the future but many schools are still set up like the factories they were meant to serve a 100 years ago.
We should increase choice, give children support to flourish in what interests them and not only give them extra attention in the things they’re bad at. In most schools, if you are good in art but bad in german you get german lessons to get to par with the other students instead of excelling at art… All even, all the same!
Education should be individualised, students should work in groups regardless of age and their education should be built around their needs.
Buying poster-, website- and pamphlet design for the school

When your school needs a poster, pamphlet or a new website they shouldn’t buy the service from somewhere else (although that can sometimes be the case) and have students do it instead. In the best schools of the future, they will be the ones doing it as a real project that has meaning and as a collaborative project in language and art….using technology.
Unhealthy cafeteria food

School cafeterias that look and operate almost like fast food restaurants where staff and students get a cheap, fast and unhealthy meals are obsolete.
A few schools in Iceland and Sweden have turned almost completely to organic foods and given thought into the long term benefit of healthy food rather than the short term savings of the unhealthy. For example at Stora Hammar school in Sweden 90% of the food served is organic.
Children should put the food on their own plate, clean up after themselves and even do the dishes. Not because it saves the school money on workforce but because it is a part of growing up and learning about responsibility. What 21st century schools should be doing as well is growing their own fruits and vegetables where students water them and learn about nature. Setting up a farm to feed students would be optimal, but if that is not an option (for example in big city schools) then they can at last set up a windowfarm in some of the school windows.The goal with providing students a healthy meal is not only to give them enough nutrition to last the school day but to make healthy food a normal part of their daily life and get them to think about nutrition which is something that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.