As part of HP and Microsoft’s Reinvent the Classroom initiative, Digital Promise Global is directing a network of Learning Studios designed for student-centered, experiential learning. Through HP’s commitment to refugee education and Digital Promise Global’s commitment to improving learning opportunities for all, the global network of Learning Studios is expanding to include three new sites in both Jordan and Lebanon.
Reflections from Digital Promise program staff on the initiative in Jordan:
Working together with HP, InZone of the University of Geneva, and Educational Collaborators, our team spent a week in Jordan kicking-off the the first two of three new Learning Studio sites in Jordan, one in the CARE community center at the UNHCR refugee camp in Azraq, and the other at the non-profit organization Souriyat Across Borders in Amman.
The focus of the week was to conduct a training with learners from the Azraq refugee camp and Souriyat Across Borders in order for them to become Learning Studio facilitators for secondary school-aged youth in their community. “Refugee” is only one of many descriptors for the people we worked with. Our group of participants were former working professionals, such as teachers and accountants, and former university students, who all shared the commitment to building and rebuilding their lives. The Learning Studio should offer people an opportunity to keep progressing on their life path, regardless of their current circumstances.
At the very heart of our goals for the week, we sought to excite the participants about the possibilities of facilitating the Learning Studio and earn their buy-in to make the Learning Studios program a meaningful part of their community. Leveraging new, innovative tools such as the Sprout Pro by HP, the week of training emphasized the process of student-driven learning, collaboration, social entrepreneurship, and design thinking.
Reflecting on the week, the following principles drive our ongoing commitment to this initiative:
All learners deserve opportunities to design and create with powerful tools and technology. Selecting appropriate tools for the context is critical, as is planning for sustainable upkeep. However, we believe that refugee learners should have as much access to advanced and emerging technologies as it’s feasible to offer. In participants’ reflections on the week, 3D modeling and printing was one of the major areas that participants were eager to explore further, and we’re committed to helping them do that.
One of the principles of the Learning Studios is that learners are more engaged when they are able to direct their own learning pathways. For the Learning Studios in Jordan, we designed the training so that ongoing engagement in the Learning Studios will be driven by the refugee learners and facilitators. We will continue to support the new facilitators, but they will be responsible for developing the Learning Studio culture and passing on opportunities to new participants.
We would never have embarked on this initiative, much less completed its launch phase, without partners whose expertise and capacity complement our own. Without even one piece of the partnership puzzle, the initiative would not have been possible. It is gratifying to be part of an initiative that helps demonstrate the potential for corporations, non-profits, universities, and international humanitarian organizations to work together.
In mid-October, the participants in the Learning Studios facilitator training will complete a social entrepreneurship project as the culminating experience of their training. From there, the new Learning Studios facilitators will work to engage youth in their community Learning Studio.
You can browse stories from the week of training in Jordan on the Learning Studios story gallery. Stay tuned for more stories and insights as the initiative blossoms.