What if students could match with each other for learning support, and engage with their communities in meaningful exchange of help?
Tell us about your idea
The current crisis brings many challenges to our education systems. One very important challenge is that it might increase the access gap for students from disadvantaged backgrounds or with a need for extra support. It also makes the start of careers much more challenging for those graduating during the time of an economic crisis.
But the crisis also brings some hope: We are seeing a rise in collaboration and support, much of it organized through digital means.
So what if we apply this idea of collaboration and exchange to students, and to the larger communities around them?
The idea is simple: students can ask their peers for help with subjects they are struggling with. Senior students can decide to help younger ones, or to help their classmates on topics they are good at. This system of exchange can also be used for sharing hobbies or other knowledge.
At the same time, students can also connect to other community members, both for seeking and providing help. All exchanges are based on time commitments. To add more fun, different activities are linked to badges. Those helping the most can be recognized and rewarded for their engagement, for example by the school, a local store, or the city.
Let’s take Herbert and Matt as an example. Herbert is a retired chemical engineer with a medical condition. As he currently can’t leave his home, he needs help in picking up his medicine. At the same time, he can help with chemistry lessons, and he has a lot of time. Matt would love to go to medical school, but he is struggling with chemistry. Matt and Herbert can engage in a meaningful exchange – one providing chemistry lessons, the other delivering medicine. Matt helps more community members like Herbert, and gets a recognition from the city for his engagement. His commitment is seen as favourable in his applications for medical school.
Another example is Liz. She is really good at coding and a digital genius – a skill set she is perfecting in her free time. She uses her skills to not only help her peers, but also other community members. For example, she helps Herbert to set up video conferencing on his computer. In return, she gets help with her schoolwork, and Italian lessons from Valentina, a true Italian. A local store rewards her skills & commitment with a voucher, enabling her to buy new equipment.
These kinds of exchanges can help students not only to get better in school – but also to prepare for a better future.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.
I am part of a team of innovators that worked out this idea over a few Covid-19 related hackathons over the last weeks, placing second in the people-driven economies challenge of the #EUvsVirus hackathon organized by the European Commission, currently exploring first pilot opportuntities with potential partners. We are a very international team that found each other through the crisis and would like to turn this situation into an opportunity to create a more sustainable future. The more we refined our idea, the more importance we saw in use cases around education, which is why I found it meaningful to share our project here.