Rebuilding Education

Academic year2019-2020                                                                 
Day(s)Monday and Wednesday
Number of meetings        14
Dates all meetings2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30 September, 2, 7, 9, 14 and 16 October 2019
LocationVrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam
RoomBV-1H24, The room is located in the BelleVU building which is number 1091 at this map)
Course coordinators and workshop lecturers
- Dr. Jorim Tielbeek, Neuroscience VU/VUmc, E: Mob: 0618222053
- Bertram Loth: Educational scientist, Co-founder Hack Je Les, Zwolle. E: Mob: 0648578056

Honorary international guest lecturer (TBC)
A neuroscientific perspective and the science of the individual
- Dr. Todd Rose, director of the Mind, Brain, & Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also leads the Laboratory for the Science of the Individual.

A societal perspective of educating the whole:
- Em. prof. mr. Eugène Sutorius & Michiel Tolman & Dylan Vianen, initiators and chairman/director of the Bildung Academy.

A historical & philosophical perspective and the goals of education
- Dr. Anders Schinkel, assistant professor of Philosophy of Education at the VU, secretary of the VCWE/Ethical and Scientific Review Board.

A didactic perspective and the role of student engagement:
- Prof. dr. Martijn Meeter, Department of Educational Studies, VU. Member of the board of NSO-CNA leadership academy. E:

An artificial intelligence perspective and learning outcome driven education:
- Youssef El Bouhassani, awarded ‘Lecturer of the year 2018 nationwide’, teaches applied math at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and is senior researcher Urban Analytics. Co-Founder LeerLevels.

A technological perspective and the use of new learning technologies:
- Dr. Alexander Savi, Department of Educational Studies, Amsterdam Center for Learning Analytics, VU. E:
- Anni Sapountzi PhD, Department of Educational Studies, Amsterdam Center for Learning Analytics, VU.

Course Description

What is your best and worst learning experience? How would you redesign your own education if you could?

The majority of our educational career is spent in formal learning environments as classrooms or lecture halls, where learners are too often positioned as passive (listening, watching, attending, consuming) rather than encouraged to engage as creators (designing, making, producing, constructing). In this course, students will actively (1) investigate different academic perspectives on educational innovation and (2) explore how to improve and redesign past or future learning experiences.

By addressing the complex connections between neuroscience, cognitive development, social change, technology and education, the course will tackle questions such as: What do we know about sleep, adolescent brains and learning in the early morning? Could shifting school days improve attendance rates? Moreover, our current educational system is designed for the ‘average’ student, yet is this approach grounded in empirical research? Or does recognition of individual complexity require educators to design ‘to the edges’ instead?

This course will introduce ground-breaking new perspectives taught by leading scholars, practitioners and thinkers in the field of education. Throughout the course students learn how such research and innovation can be applied to address personal real-world education challenges. Students will develop and present a research-based ‘action-plan’ to improve educational environments they encountered in their past or will encounter in their future educational path. The project should be grounded in science and naturally connect the student interests to the course themes.

Working formats and activities
The goal of the course is that the students will redesign an educational situation. They can choose between redesigning an educational experience they encountered themselves during their Bachelor, or an educational situation they observed during a field trip at secondary school Academy Tien in Utrecht. At the end of the course students will present their redesigns to a jury of stakeholders and educational experts. Finally, all redesigns will be bundled in an eBook to spread the initiatives beyond the network of Rebuilding Education.

The course consists of six expert sessions and six workshops. Content knowledge is gained at home and mastered during the expert sessions. During the workshops, the majority of instructional time involves all students through active learning, enabling them to directly and collaboratively apply the knowledge to realize the students personal action-oriented goals. The course will be completed with two separate symposia, focusing academic and secondary education respectively. 

Expert seminars
Expert sessions are guided by a multidisciplinary panel of guest lecturers presenting cutting-edge research, and practitioners and teachers demonstrating their innovation in education through engagement with various new learning techniques, tools and resources. The purpose of the six guest lectures is to introduce the students to different perspectives on education and to inspire them how these perspectives can help to reform education. Finally the students will pick three different perspectives to scientifically support their redesign.

Workshop seminars
The workshops will deploy a wide range of teaching and learning methods (i.e. design thinking, question formulation technique) introduced during the expert seminars to engage participants in individual as well as collaborative problem-solving and reflection on the concerning educational themes. Within the workshops, the course coordinators will act as facilitators by assisting the students and stimulating peer-to-peer feedback to understand problems in a hands-on way, and by coaching them in attaining their personal and group-based goals. In this way students can ultimately benefit from their different academic backgrounds.

Study materials

All study materials will be uploaded online.

A selection of book chapters
These books are recommended, but not required:

  • Knud Illeris, How we learn: Learning and non-learning in school and beyond (Londen: Routledge, 2007)
  • Ken Robinson, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative (Hoboken: John Wiley And Sons Ltd, 2017)
  • Ken Robinson & Lou Aronica, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (New York: Penguin Books, 2015).

TED talks and video material

  • Do Schools Kill Creativity?, How to escape education's death valley & Changing educational paradigms by Sir Ken Robinson
  • Teaching the World Peace Game by John Hunter
  • The 100,000-student Classroom by Peter Norving

Literature selected by the guest lecturers:

A societal perspective of educating the whole

A historical & philosophical perspective and the goals of education

A neuroscientific perspective and the science of the individual

  • Paul A. Howard-Jones (2012). Neuroscience and education: myths and messages. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. AOP, published online 15 October 2014; doi:10.1038/nrn3817 
  • Rose, L. T., Rouhani, P., & Fischer, K. W. (2013). The science of the individual. Mind, Brain, and Education, 7(3), 152-158.

A didactic perspective and the role of student engagement:

  • Van Uden, J. M., Ritzen, H., & Pieters, J. M. (2016). Enhancing student engagement in pre vocational and vocational education: a learning history. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 22(8), 983-999.
  • Wubbels, T., & Brekelmans, M. (2005). Two decades of research on teacher-student relationships in class. International Journal of Educational Research, 43(1), 6-24. 
  • Kelchtermans, G. (2009). Who I am in how I teach is the message: self-understanding, vulnerability and reflection. Teachers and teaching: Theory and Practice, 15: 2, 257-272.

An artificial intelligence perspective and learning outcome driven education:

A technological perspective and the use of new learning technologies:

Assessment methods
Research action plan (40%), Presentation of action plan (30%), Team-based learning test (20%) and individual quiz (10%).