Workshop: VRIJPLAATS learning by designing the world into a better place

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Leen Audenaert
Co-Author Eef Thoen Leen Audenaert Thomas Remerie
Description VRIJPLAATS is a learning hub, a working space where students design and create educational tools together with researchers and stakeholders. These tools are not always specific products but are more possible answers to complex questions or challenges, with a link to sustainability. VRIJPLAATS is inspired by methods like design thinking, integrative learning, design based research, practitioner inquiry and service learning. Interdisciplinary teams are formed to tackle authentic questions that are present in practice. Most examples can be organized in 4 main topics: Education for Sustainable Development, cultural education, STEM and outdoor learning.
Topic Co-creative, transformative learning environments
Format Action atelier
Bio Leen graduated as a biologist and has ever since been interested in the intersection between sustainable development and education. For more than ten years, she works for Duurzaam Educatiepunt, a Flemish, government-funded program on sustainable higher education. This team aims to give sustainability a more prominent role in education. The main approach is to always start from the central question: 'what should higher education look like in the light of today's wicked challenges'. For several years Leen has been focusing on facilitating transitions in higher education using the methodology of design thinking and design sprints. Within the next few years the goal is to accelerate this transition by creating a community of facilitators. These facilitators would help to realize more of these structural changes towards a sustainable higher education. Moreover Leen is a large enthusiast of the North and the Arctic: its landscapes, fauna and flora and not in the least its history of polar exploration. The way these explorers dealt with often wicked problems and the vast unknown ahead, has always been a massive source of inspiration.