Cecilia de la Paz is the founder of Fundación Edúcate Uruguay, a non-profit organisation that reduces the gap in the access to educational opportunities between rural and urban children through innovative educational programmes. Tyler Samstag is the director of Remake Learning, a network that ignites engaging, relevant, and equitable learning practices to support young people navigating rapid social and technological change. These two individuals, both catalyzers of educational transformation, crossed paths at the HundrED Innovation Summit 2022 which they attended as a part of a learning group, the Catalyst Learning Alliance.
During the HundrED Innovation Summit, Tyler presented his work with Remake Learning. Remake Learning Days (RLD) is a festival of events organised by a variety of organisations on different learning themes (i.e., Arts, Maker, Outdoor Learning, Science, Technology and Youth Voice) to provide hands-on, relevant and engaging educational experiences for youth and their families, caregivers, and educators. Cecilia was drawn to their mission of mobilising a larger community to transform how we think about education.
While sometimes we forget about the human elements that can bring people and networks together, Tyler and Cecilia experienced a remarkable connection through being part of this learning group. Simple things like sitting down and having a meal together, can be the spark to start an international collaboration. In fact, it was through one of these casual conversations that Cecilia asked Tyler what he thought about having a RLD in Uruguay.
Simple things like sitting down and having a meal together, can be the spark to start an international collaboration.
After their discussion, Tyler and Cecilia decided to bring RLD to Uruguay at an accelerated timeline. Cecilia and her team at Fundacíon Edúcate Uruguay were ready for the challenge. She told her team that they had an amazing opportunity to collaborate with an international organisation and the team was mesmerised by the idea and dreamed of making it a reality. They were drawn to RLD because of their clear vision of not only what they want to achieve but also their compelling narrative and language that allows you to connect with people not necessarily working in education to see the importance of education outside traditional frames of where education is “supposed to” take place.
The festival planning process had its ups and downs, but the Edúcate team felt supported and cared for by the RLD team throughout the entire process. They offered knowledge, experience, and resources that helped to guide them towards a successful event.
In addition to the time crunch, the Edúcate team had some unique struggles due to the local context in Uruguay. Unlike in the United States, there is less access to public services and facilities that could be used to host the event. However, they were able to change course and focus their strategy on finding the “golden ten”, ten people that were available to offer 60 minutes of their time to share what they love with the next generation. With this approach, interest started growing exponentially and they ended up hosting 40 events in 11 states with 37 different hosts.
RLD was a project that started to engage parents and caregivers because they recognised that although the network of people interested in education was diverse, often caregivers were not integrated as a core member of the ecosystem. One core foundational element of Remake Learning Days is the idea that learning can happen in unconventional places. It is a fun, celebratory festival that aims to allow young people to learn alongside parents and caregivers and participate in events that uplift the idea that learning can happen anywhere.
Given the challenge of finding public spaces to host the events in Uruguay, the Edúcate team had to be creative and look for unconventional spaces to host their events. They found spaces like parks, backyards, and skateparks which helped to enforce the notion that learning can happen anywhere an adult is available and the environment is suitable.
For the Edúcate team, the ground is fertile for them to continue hosting RLD. They would love to continue to spread the appreciation of learning and bring back optimism and enthusiasm for education, especially as levels of anxiety and depression are rising around the world in the next generation.
For Remake Learning, they are excited to create more opportunities for organisations that are interested in hosting their own RLD to dip their toes into the water by hosting a pop-up event, which is a smaller-scale version of the original RLD festival. Hosting a pop-up event allows people to try out the RLD concept, and Remake Learning expects that it will be an easier way to expand the idea to more regions.
Cecilia and Tyler echoed the sentiment that attending the Innovation Summit was an enriching experience that offered them inspiration and provocation for what else they can do in their own contexts to innovate in education. Meeting innovators from around the world also gave them reassurance that they are doing amazing work and gives them the chance to connect with top innovators from the global education community.
Cecilia and Tyler are also thankful to the Catalyst Learning Alliance group for bringing this learning group together to attend the HundrED Innovation Summit.