New Approaches to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
As part of the "Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum – Culture, Education, Media – Shaping a Sustainable World" a workshop about new approaches to ESD, organized by the German Commission for UNESCO, took place. The workshop included best-practice presentations by the KMGNE and the Grimme Institute, followed by a vivid discussion.
Visual Media can play an important role in the field of education for sustainable development (ESD). "Social Media offers the possibility to start with an everyday experience", said Dr. Jutta Franzen, Member of Academic Staff of the KMGNE, an institute for interdisciplinary research and education in the field of sustainable development in Berlin, Germany. The diversity of social media applications allows people to address a broad audience, ranging from interested citizens to active consumers and academic experts. User-friendly tools lay the groundwork for alternative pathways bringing sustainability issues into peoples’ everyday lives and actions.
International Summer University
Dr. Jutta Franzen presented the 5th International Summer University for Audio-Visual Communication, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and the Impact of Global Warming, which takes place annually in Santiago de Chile, Sao Paulo and Berlin. The project makes use of journalistic and educational techniques as well as traditional mass media and digital means of communication. These multiple entry points to educational landscapes merge into a single 'story universe' of sustainable development. The main teaching methods are future scenarios, narrations, collaborative storytelling and laboratories of ideas. "The project helps to transform content readers into publishers," stated Dr. Franzen after having shown a collection of powerful exemplary 'Best of Climate Clips' resulting of the previous Summer University.
"People do not understand the word 'climate'. They think of weather", acknowledged Guido Kowalski of the Grimme Institute in Marl, Germany. Together with his colleague, Dr. Harald Gapski, Kowalski presented the project "Digital Storytelling and DeTALES – Digital Education Through Adult Learners EU-Enlargement Stories". Its aim is to introduce the theory of digital storytelling and exemplify how even beginners can easily use its methods, strategies and practical tools in sustainability projects. DeTALES brings together adult learners from old and new EU member states with a view to create and share personal digital stories by using low-cost digital devices. "Digital Storytelling offers the opportunity to break down a complicated topic, such as ESD, into a personal approach." The Grimme Institute also presented its project "NRW denkt nachhaltig" (North Rhine-Westphalia Thinks Sustainably) – an example of how digital stories can promote sustainability and life-long learning issues.
A vivid discussion
The very well-attended workshop proved that the subject was of high interest. The audience seemed to be convinced of the potential of Social Media for ESD. Dr. Gapski believes firmly in the potential of digital storytelling because "it can reach out to community building and changing policies." Guido Kowalski thinks that due to the high credibility of digital storytelling, it has a better impact on society and Dr. Franzen explained that through social media more and more people are able to participate in the progress. What used to be a privilege for journalists is due to new media applications now possible for everybody. This also underlines the grassroots democratic thought of ESD. The workshop was a great opportunity for exchanging experiences and to receive suggestions and stimulating ideas from all over the world.