The 5th Open Classroom Conference will address the ever-increasing needs of Teachers Professional Development, in search for Innovation and Quality in School Education, as these needs are imposed by the emerging e-learning paradigms, the search for new, more effective school structures and the broader challenges that societies are facing in their way towards what has been identified as the Knowledge Economy.
EDEN is organising the Open Classroom Conferences since 1997 and established the Open Classroom Working Group in 1998 which is working in collaboration with the European Experts Network for Education and Technology (EENet), since 2003. Previous Open Classroom events – conferences and workshops – have reflected upon the vision of schools communicating through networks as well as with various content and application service providers, in the cyberspace, validating open, distance & e-learning practices.
During the last decade, certain developments and the pervasive impact of the Information & Communication Technologies on school education have been materialized and closely followed-up, through a number of initiatives, projects and policy actions, engaging relevant actors and stakeholders in Europe (schools, universities and education authorities, training bodies and technology providers). At the same time, social evolutions namely social mobility, migration, internationalization, multi-culture societal structures etc. , have already changed the mandate which School Education is up to. There is an increasing demand for a radical upgrade of quality, in order to meet the needs for new competences and skills.
Towards this Quest for Quality, the already critical role of the Teacher as well as of other education professions is being significantly upgraded, in terms of both the new competences and skills required and the emerging professional perspectives and tasks in the school environment.
Transforming the school education system to an open (e-)learning environment in the lifelong learning perspective means significant amendments to the existing teacher profiles as well as the elaboration of new professions (and education tasks) that are necessary in order to run a school system successfully.
The EU has already adopted a set of policy orientations, under the Education & Training 2010 Programme of actions (see eg. the ICT Group of Experts Report), in the framework of the Lisbon Process, while most Member States are striving through resisting structures and hindering factors, in order to introduce innovation and well-defined changes, having the teacher at the (epi-)center.
The 5th Open Classroom Conference must contribute to the social, political and research dialogue, for the development of sustainable collaborative Teachers Training & Professional Development Models for Schools in the Knowledge Society. These models should address the new complexities, in terms of (e-learning) processes, new competences, contexts and resources in school education, fostering new roles for learners, teachers, experts and policy makers, scientific, academic and cultural entities.