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Learning in the 21st century - "Papillon"

Module by: Hardyna Vedder. E-mail the author

Summary: The “ Papillon ” [“Butterfly”] educational concept supplies the content for global learning in the 21 st century and is a free learning method which grows with knowledge like a living organism, creates, uses, reuses and improves continuesly new things. Imaginative multimedia learning environments are offered and depicted in an initial online school book with this educational content. A concept that connects worlds; multimedia, intercultural and interdisciplinary as well as classical education and New Media — intelligently networked! The Papillon method works on the base of keywords and transforms teaching books into a huge dynamic ecosystem of knowledge.

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1. Book

The basis of the Papillon digital teaching concept is the GOLD DUST tale[1] .

The history of Prince Aron of Nubia, the hero of the “GOLD DUST”[2] story, is full of unusual ideas and surreal images which are “drawn” with the word. A story full of fantasy with a real-life background which still keeps children occupied for a long time. It is linked to two other parts and the GOLD DUST constellation is developed as a trilogy.

Fairytales convey a simple basic thought: A good character makes you beautiful. It is exactly the right format to spin a yarn about the great questions of life.

Children like to read fairytales and understand them without problems. They are certainly the most beautiful stories in the world. Their material has everything great and beautiful within it. Fairytales are the mirror reflection of the human soul. We can re-find ourselves in them. Because fairytales are a common cultural heritage of all of the people in the world, we encounter each other through their language of symbols even across borders. Fairytales convey to us a magical world through which the children can easily distinguish between the rules and rituals of reality, good and evil. They are an appropriate means of evoking fantasy and creativity and thereby promote the moral and social competence to make judgments.

Thank you for support:

Oliver Wetter's work was chosen to be the cover of the fantasy story “GOLD DUST” that is part of the education concept “Papillon”. He doneted the piece: „The source“ [3] .

2. Online Book

The online schoolbook "GOLD DUST" develops out of the fantasy story "GOLD DUST", the core of the digital teaching concept "Papillon".

Everyone can participate in the first global online schoolbook Interaction

Start: Level I – becoming a translator or artist

Goal: Level II - becoming Einstein

The first online schoolbook "GOLD DUST" is a combination of grand adventure, magical effects and global learning. To see our world with different eyes and share the knowledge is what the educational concept "Papillon" wants to present.

3. Study: Innovative learning in the knowledge society

3.1 Introduction

“In the 21st century, those employees who are in the most demand are those who are experts in the integration of several disciplines. It will depend on one's personal reputation and skills as what determines whether someone is invited to be a player in a glowing global world". (William Knoke, Kühne neue Welt, Leben in der “placeless society“ des 21. Jahrhunderts [ Brave new world , Life in the “placeless society“ of the 21st century ].

The goal of my study is therefore to show that every child in the millennium generation can interlink classical education and media competence in order to meet the requirements of the information society. As a result, it was possible to develop a digital, student-centred, action-oriented and subject-integrating instructional model with the Papillion learning environments which has to do with the fusion of different media and areas of knowledge. The story especially developed for this purpose spans an arc from Antiquity to the present and into the universe and builds media competency from one of the most important cultural technologies of the 21 st century. Knowledge about the past, our cultural roots is thus adapted to the global thinking of an open society. In the classical sense, the traditional textdevelops a competence to make moral judgments and joins the world of fantasy with real knowledge of the worldwide database of the Internet in a refreshing way. Hear the learner can connect real and virtual worlds of learning. He is motivated to develop ideas himself and not only reproduce knowledge learned by heart. “There is a close relationship between knowledge, innovation, growth and prosperity”, says McKinsey head Jürgen Kluge. That is why education is a crucial key factor for growth.

But how would it have helped us knowledge giants if they had the dispositions of dwarfs?”, Hurbert Markel, former president of the Max-Planck Society, said years ago. Even the former German president Johannes Rau warns in his writings that it is important "the educate the whole person – contrary to the pressure to be useful in front of ‘rational idiots'”. Rau wants education for “the mind and feeling, body and soul”, speaks of “analytical abilities and fantasy, the capacity to empathise and the ability to open oneself up to new worlds”. The Papillon educational concept is particularly obliged to follow this approach. It constitutes a concept solution which is geared toward the long-term for a future-oriented teaching method with which the school text book becomes a multi-media offering for teaching. Tangible results can be shown without a lot of effort as the test of the model project at Berlin 's Ellen-Key Grammar School has shown.

3.2 Tradition - Preserving cultural roots

3.2.1 The desire for security in a family

The topic of family reaches the soul of each child. But those who are familiar with the longings of children know that security and liability of an ideal family is exactly what all the children in this world want most. Particularly in western Industrial states children have billions of dollars in pocket money. What children need most is adults as people they can talk to and as models to find internal security for the external chaos. This is exactly how a Berlin grammar school student describes the feelings that her peers have about life in an article from the Berliner Morgenpost of 11.4.02. But because no one is really there for the children, they are in a free fall, 15-year old Nicole Kunze thinks. What the heart really longs for is a happy family. Instead children feel that they have been left all alone. Their parents are either suffering from separation anxiety or are forced into a more and more complex work world of appointments and professional ambitions. Social ties are a priority for children 6-12 but the original trust among individual family members, with which children can better control personal crises, has gotten lost. When people are subjected to problems as a child and is alone, they have a hard time in life because the development of the behaviour on how to connect with other people determines self-esteem and the later ability for social classification. Only through internal strength, the ability to show resistance are children able to resist negative forces and strong emotional strains caused by separation, divorce, poverty, unemployment and experiences involving violence. Resilience, [4] the ability to physically resist can therefore be called another key qualification for the future in order to resist a general lack of stability. Resilience is a high virtue, a character strength, which makes tenacity possible particularly in times of dramatic social transformations.

3.2.2 Emotional intelligence

Moreover, the emotional intelligence (EQ) [5] should be enhanced as a counterpart to IQ. According to Prof. Howard Gardner, Harvard University, an analysis of the EQ closes a major gap which is often overlooked in traditional intelligence research. The emotional intelligence is an element of the integral part of what is known as the intelligence of success. It focuses on communication between people and communication a person has with himself.

Progress is decided not just by intelligence which we measure with IQ tests, the PISA study and report cards. School grades can open up or close future paths. But they say nothing about self-confidence, personal responsibility and the willingness to help others in difficult situations. They cannot evoke a team spirit and give no indication of what this child is later capable of achieving. Grades cannot illustrate all capabilities. The PISA shock teaches us that empathy, fantasy, character strength, consideration, self-discipline also are factors which decide success. In order to view a person as a personality in his totality, we need education of the heart in addition to just education. Here it is all about cleverness – cleverness for life. A child only gets this through experience with other people and nature. A child must learn not to just spell the word tree correctly, she also has to climb a tree and be able to jump back down without breaking a foot. Education means not only having extensive general knowledge; it is more than knowledge. Education means being able to master one’s life.

3.3 Innovation - The way to new media

3.3.1 Internet and school realities

“Instruction is so deadly dull that you could fall asleep“, a student said during an interview and was not alone in her opinion. The motivation to like going to school is lost and must then be re-stimulated. This a bitter truth in the age of the informational society.

It has everything you need: proven teaching methods and digital methods which the children need in order to again feel like going to school. Combining these elements in a sophisticated manner and making learning an experience through interactive elements[6] is rather a question of creativity than a question of money. You have to want it. However, in these parts, there seems to be more than a risk because the Internet has to assert itself against many objections. The school still blocks out this part of learning acquisition to a very large extent although E-learning accommodates the media use of learners and important pedagogical goals such as independent, self-determined learning and cognitive and communicative skills can be promoted.

The school still blocks out this part of learning acquisition to a very large extent although E-learning accommodates the media use of learners and important pedagogical goals such as independent, self-determined learning and cognitive and communicative skills can be promoted.

Here the Internet is an adventure, conquering new worlds, the whole universe in the palm of your hand! The Internet is exactly what the school needs to be appealing again because the potential for positive application opportunities to improve the quality of the instruction is virtually unlimited and ensures interactive and challenging learning with a lot of variety. Therefore, Papillon shows the strengths of the Internet and wants to stress its positive sides!

No other medium is more able to interlink information in such a sustainable way and still be so boundlessly entertaining, informative, vivid and current. Topics can be worked on in an interactive and playful manner with this method. There is access through playing and faster successful results because feedback is given after each task is assigned. If students discover their own interests through digital learning, have fun researching and discovering, their curiosity is kindled and talents are encouraged, then they have invested so much more time in the development of their personality and have prepared themselves for life after school. They have developed important traits to help them survive when they have left the protected area of the school.

Practicing media competency is just as important as learning how to read and write. Those who are prevented from doing so or exclude themselves for various reasons are denied the ability to get a foothold in the knowledge society. Access to one of the most important resources of the 21st century gets lost. That is why students should learn to use the Internet with a much certainty as they use a light switch. We can bring knowledge from the entire world into the school via the Internet and improve the quality of instruction. Without this access, only a limited horizon is conceivable.

Matthias Horx, manager of the Future Institute in Vienna is certain that those “users” chided as being addicts will be the pioneers of a strategic intelligence in one, two decades which will be infinitely more malleable than the brain structure created by the old, analogue method of imparting knowledge. In the next twenty years a different "cognitive species" will be formed, what is known as the net people. Their thoughts, actions and feeling are interlinked”.

3.3.2 Interlinked worlds

“Multiple interlinking” is the central principle of the Freiburg lecturer in neuro-pedagogy Dr. Preiß. New information can be cemented most permanently in the complex neuronal tissue if it is interlinked in as many ways as possible. According to this theory, the critical factor for the performance of the brain is not the number of cells but the amount of interlinkages which occur. No where is the number of linkages documented in a more impressive way than on the Internet. “The Internet, and thus the expectations of specialists, while span the entire globe and develop into a capsule containing millions of computer networks so that an ‘intelligent’ planet is created” Michio Kaku, Zukunftsvisionen [Future Visions], Lichtenberg publishing company, Munich [7]

The more interlinked the brain is, the higher the probability that a new combination will be created in the brain. The more numerous the connections which are in principle available to the neurons the larger the selection of possible linkages is – thus new thoughts can be composed all the more. An inter-disciplinary group consisting of neuroscientists, computer scientists and linguists made this discover. Pure knowledge alone is not sufficient to create something really new. To be innovative, individual knowledge must be re-combined. When this occurs, then we think of something new. Picasso combined a steering wheel and a saddle to make a bull’s head.

Research has long made this interdisciplinary approach its own. Researchers have been able to make important breakthroughs through inter-discipline collaboration[8]. Specialists from different disciplines are sharing their experiences among themselves and reciprocally apply their results.

For example, physicists and physicians are working together on the development of new therapeutic methods. Scientific methods with which linguists study the language and bio-informaticians study genes is based on one communality: “Chains of symbols“. Computer codes, texts or DNA codes are subject to the same laws and let both disciplines learn from each other. The cooperation between Wikipedia and the German Library has created a new, temporary apex in terms of the establishment of synergies and the networking of knowledge. A link leads from articles related to people in the online encyclopaedia to all available publications at the German library. With this alliance, the national Archive Library recognises the profiling platform which the multi-lingual and much used modern knowledge-based tower of Babylon called Wikipedia has to offer.

Education makes an important contribution to the extent in which the networking of the brain occurs. A stimulating and thought-provoking learning environment promotes interlinkages. Making thought more flexible also helps one to get closer to the solution of a problem. A wide, cross-subject education and cross-border thinking challenges children to ask questions, show curiosity and to change their perspectives. "Children must be given the opportunity to view a certain aspect from different perspectives. This is how they learn the same content in all of its complexity and learn in the process that different perspectives can result in different assessments.” Prof. Wassilios Fthenakis [9]

In the modern knowledge-based society, the mind is continuously stimulated and challenged. Of course, the more a student is involved with the Internet, can be linked from website to the other, the more his brain activity will move toward networked thinking. Thinking cannot be conceivable as anything but networked thinking - and you cannot learn better than on the Internet. Media learning can therefore be excellent brain training for students.

If the promotion of diverse networking by neural science is adapted to modified learning environments, the logical consequence can only be in interlinking the textbook and the Internet. In addition to being a suitable source for the knowledge required for school subjects, the Internet allows everyone to participate in cultural, political and economic discussions. Forums and chats for each area can be used. Textbooks can form the basis. But because the development in the 21st century is progressing at an extremely rapid pace, knowledge has a shorter and shorter shelf-life. Learning content researched on the Internet is very up-to-date. By networking both media, a necessary supplement and further development are possible.

3.3.3 Self-motivated learning

Students want to learn something. That is why there are new teaching methods are in new demand which can inspire teachers and students equally because true motivation can only be activated through one’s own motivation. Interest, curiosity and fun are powerful internal sources of motivation. When children devote their time to a task voluntarily and fervently which seems tricky yet solvable, a positive cycle is set into motion and the sense of self esteem is rewarded. In other words: Those who like to learn are swimming in their own good fortune. This phenomenon, also called flow [10], is a state of extreme concentration. Flow inspires a marathon runner when he is in the home stretch. A child feels flow when he places the last building block on the tower. Flow inspires thoughts when learning becomes an experience. Flow is the feeling of being deep in harmony with one self. Even Aristotle knew that a deeper feeling of well being (eudaimonia) occurs when we understand that which meets our initiatives, needs and possibilities. “A child learns best if he finds the solutions to his assignments. The feeling of jubilation which results lasts longer than any reward from the outside”, Hennig Scheich, Director of the Magdeburg Leibnitz Institute for Neurobiology, explains. Far too seldom have the teachers recognised the relish with which children learn. Like for a drug, she yearns for the dopamine which empties out of the brain for learning success. Dopamine makes one self-aware, optimistic and increases the capacity for learning. Endorphins, the body’s own opiates, give an overwhelming sense of happiness. If a child experiences one euphoria after each successfully completed assignment, the brain wants more and more of it. That is because learning makes people happy. That is because neither money or good words are needed because enthusiasm is enough of a reward. Learning is a self-promoting process. The mind wants to be seduced. This works best when people can connect to something they already know to be abducted into new worlds of learning.

The great didactic potential of digital learning is to make the learner the actor because we learn the best through doing.

3.3.4 “Edutainment” – Learning through fun

“A person is only completely a person where he plays". A Schiller quote which was used in PSYCHOLOGY TODAY (GERMAN EDITION) 5/2004 seems particularly relevant in this context because the Papillon-project is a product of the joys of interlinking completely different areas of knowledge and entertaining topics. How exciting this experience must be just for those children who are still discovering their environment. And people learn more easily when fun is involved in the process.

Learning through fun - Edutainment[11] is what this new form of learning is called. The student expects a combination of fun and knowledge with this concept. Here knowledge is experienced in an exciting manner that closely approximates actual practice. The encounter with the content therefore occurs through the drive to play. Students learn and become informed without noticing it. Here this version of knowledge acquisition through playing has the advantage of having a motivating effect. Neuroscience teaches us that people only learn if the learning process is accompanied by positive emotions. When learning occurs with pressure to perform and fear, it is tainted with negative feelings if it is to be accessed later. That is why having fun learning is the top priority in school, the neuroscientist and founder of the Ulm learning centre Spitzer believes. Those who learn through playing learn more easily. This is because playing and adaptation to the outside world are closely interrelated. Through interaction, the Internet opens up completely new perspectives when it comes to playing and learning. Unfortunately, the “life gets serious“ when school begins. The playful act of learning is excluded from school and thereby important learning success is lost. The potential which lies in playing behaviour is not used for learning purposes. Therefore the playful elements should be more integrated into the learning process. “Playing and learning are two sides of the same coin. If one side is omitted, the development is insufficient“, opines Prof. Vassilios Fthenakis[12], a renowned pedagogy scholar and Professor for Developmental psychology and anthropology at the Free University of Bolzano Italy. Therefore, play-related elements should be integrated more into the formally organised learning process in order to challenge the students to the proper extent [13] .

4. Practice

4.1 Testing the model project in instruction

Since February 2005, the model project “Papillon“ [15] has been successfully tested at the Ellen-Key Grammar School in Berlin[16] .

4.2 References

Hans Prengel Graduate in Media Studies[17] Technical University of Berlin Institute for Language and Communication Media Studies Department Department director Professor Norbert Bolz

“…] Papillon is worthy of praise in the area of media pedagogy (enhancement of the instruction through materials) both from the perspective of what is urgently needed for the future (Internet competence) and the psychology of learning (motivation/interest and orientation toward action) and a very promising project is worthy of support“

Sybille Volkholz Education Expert of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Former Berlin Scholl Senator Citizen’s Network on Education in VBKI

“[…] The project is particularly suitable for letting students work independently”.

Margit Günther, Teacher Project Manager “Papillon” Ellen-Key Grammar School

[…] “The fact is that the blackboard and the school textbook are no longer sufficient in our digital world to present the teaching materials in a contemporary manner. I can only say therefore that an innovative teaching method has succeeded in making children interested in school again with the Papillon model project. Creative and eventful learning has resulted in increased motivation for our students. They were so enthusiastic about what they were doing that I sometimes hardly recognized them".

H. Bader Subject Director for German Ellen-Key Grammar School

“I liked the media project from the very beginning because it is a completely new learning method. […] The different between this project and the projects which we have previously known on media competence was that the virtual world and real world are combined and that completely new areas can be pursued in terms of content. So far we have analysed films. We have designed Internet pages. We are experimenting with PowerPoint Presentations but the structure of the content is what’s new and that is what is so well received here”.

Thomas Theus, Teacher Ellen-Key Grammar School

“[…] In this context I am really happy that this work is opening up new, interesting avenues of acquiring knowledge. This is a real benefit for every school which cannot be praised highly enough".

Nhat Phong Tran, Friedrich-Engels-Gymnasium, Berlin Class 12 / Semester II

“Finally a new form of the book! It was the film-maker who made the stuff which dreams are made, always created more and more extravagant forms and illusions and conjured up new variations. But authors have presented their stories in the same way since the beginning without giving books a new, contemporary touch. I would enjoy learning in class based on these materials. It is not a myth but rather a fact that general knowledge [18] is continuously on the decline. By linking a the GOLD DUST tale with the Internet, I can expand my knowledge beyond the scope of the class because the teacher only has a limited amount of time available. A good class for me is when someone is encouraged to learn more and more than the material requires. The class should be signed in such a way that people acquire additional knowledge through their own interest. In general the students are no longer motivated. This reading is motivation for self-motivation! Things take on a completely different meaning and the background knowledge is expanded through the appropriate choice of key words.

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