You may have heard a lot of talk about Samsung Not A School on the Community recently. Returning after a successful launch in 2019, this year's programme couldn't have been more different. With both the immersive and self-led courses fully remote, participants have – and are still continuing to – overcome the odds to connect, share and learn.
At a time when many professional and academic journeys have been disrupted, alternative learning options like Not a School can be a great way to self-educate on issues that matter. The end of October saw the close of the immersive programme – four two-week mentored courses for people aged 18-25. Like the self-led courses, the immersive programme centred around four key topics, carefully selected for their relevance to the challenges of our world today:
Turning Climate Anxiety into Positive Action: How can technology unlock activism in everyone?
Solving Inequality in Education: How can technology allow us all to be ‘educators’?
Building Human Connection in a Digital World: How can we use technology to end isolation?
Respecting Our Differences Online: How can difference of opinion bring us closer together online?
A mix of industry experts, activists, influencers and course ambassadors were on-hand to mentor and inspire the 100 immersive course participants. Their insights and experiences were invaluable in driving constructive discussion. Let's take a closer look at what some of the course experts had to say about the core themes.
Andy Middleton, experienced strategy and policy innovation specialist, gave us his thoughts on climate anxiety:
"To travel far, we must travel together. To undertake the greatest adventure of assuring future generations’ place on this magical planet, we need to imagine together and act too. Samsung Not a School brings together exactly the right kind of people, content and support to make that journey as rapid and rewarding as possible."
Jesse Hirsh, futurist, researcher and internet strategist, shared his thoughts on inequality in education:
"Now more than ever, knowledge enables opportunity and agency. We each have a responsibility to share what we know and infect others with the joy of learning. The current pandemic threatens to exacerbate existing inequalities and in response we must embrace and employ an 'each one teach one' philosophy".
Adah Parris, keynote speaker and cultural strategist, believes society should be motivated by community and sustainability. She had this to say on building human connection: "Samsung Not a School. Nurturing critical thinkers and humanity-centred designers who just happen to use technology as their medium."
Tobi Oredein, co-founder of lifestyle platform Black Ballad said this about respecting differences online:
"I wanted to deliver my workshop, 'In Their Social Media Shoes', because I felt that social media has taken away our ability to empathise with people, especially those with differing opinions. Due to the pandemic we are spending more time alone and on social media, so I wanted to positively contribute to how young people use online platforms."
At the end of their programmes, students from the immersive courses gave presentations on their findings, followed by Q&A sessions. They identified opportunities for social change and shared ideas for products and solutions that could directly tackle existing barriers to progress. Now it's up to you to continue this amazing work on the Not a Schoolself-led courses, open to anyone via FutureLearn. The four courses offer self-guided learning through a mix of articles, videos, quizzes and more, including resources and keynotes from the immersive courses. What are you waiting for?
If you've taken part in Samsung Not a School 2019 or 2020, we want to hear from you. Share your experiences in the comments below.