Open Classroom Experience

Nurturing social entrepreneurship from a holistic perspective by transforming ‘education for school’ to ‘education for life’.

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Eligibility

  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Lena

Initiative's representative date of birth

9/1989

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Canada

Where are you making a difference?

Vietnam, Canada

Website or social media url(s)

http://openclassroomexperience.com http://instagram.com/openclassroomexperience

When was your organisation founded?

11/2019

Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Pilot (have done first proof of concept)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $100k - $250k

Organisation Type

  • Hybrid

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Over the past year, I have been working closely with Vietnam Association of Community Colleges to build out collaborative education programs between Western and Vietnamese students that focuses on equipping them with 21st century skills. What started out as a challenge for myself to step outside of my comfort zone, has quickly became so much more. Here in Hanoi, I found a community that encouraged innovation, experimentation and my vision of shaping the future of education through international partnerships. My goal is to bring together students from both advanced and emerging economies to induce cross cultural collaboration through a peer learning model.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Due to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, many traditional avenues of employment are being challenged by the digitization of the workplace while nearly all the new positions created will require a different set of skills than what is currently being taught in schools. Vietnam and many other countries faces immense pressure from skills gap of its workforce. We are building a program that better prepares students for the future of work.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

To bridge the skills gap, we tackle the need of more adaptability and creativity among youth to face the future of work. This project aims to achieve UN SDG in improving quality of education by transforming ‘education for school’ to ‘education for life’. The program is designed to nurture social entrepreneurship from a holistic perspective with empathy and creativity at the core. We have partnered with Vietnam Association of Community Colleges to bring together students from both Western and local Vietnamese schools to collaborate on social impact projects. The month-long immersive program is created to be inclusive and accessible through use of blended method of teaching leveraging online interactive platform, remote mentoring as well as physical classroom and field sessions. As they gain ‘hands-on’ involvement through experimentation, they also begin to understand the issues faced by the emerging market community in the context of their social, economic and political culture. At the end of the program, students not only obtain competency needed for jobs, but are also able to develop a better understanding of themselves and the community they are serving.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Traditional school led field trips require the coordination of many faculty facilitators while international placements in emerging markets fall short of expectation due to lack of training. Open Classroom Experience resolves both issues. By leveraging our network of seasoned mentors we remove the barrier of securing multiple facilitating faculty while at the same time, providing more guidance to students on an individual basis. By equipping students with a comprehensive set of learning tools through the online platform, we motivate self and peer learning. Our global education model is innovative such that we fully integrate learning, experiencing and engagement while ensuring the program is scalable.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

We take students out of the classroom and challenge them to learn about how the world really works and, in the process, facilitate the development of 21st century skills. We employ three unique strategies: self-directed learning, peer learning, and learning through mentors. Leveraging our online platform, students receive access to a comprehensive set of learning tools in-order to understand the process of building and operating an entrepreneurial venture. Through team project, students critique each other’s work, and learn how to collaborate to achieve a common goal. Finally, students work with mentors to learn how to break goals into actionable chunks, hold themselves accountable, and work through challenges they encounter. From these 3 pillars of learning, students develop cognitive, socio-emotional, and behavioral competencies that better prepares them for the future of work.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Open Classroom Experience place emphasis on developing students cognitive and socio-emotional competencies through teachings in empathy design, critical thinking, creative problem solving, cross cultural communication and entrepreneurial mindset. Rather than measuring progress by how well instructions are followed, our evaluation will be based on feedback from educators and students pertaining to: additional opportunities, clarity in aspiration, and confidence in overcoming challenges.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Build schools. Teach children. Academic Research. These are three of the most common types of service learning experiences youth pursue today in emerging markets. Students participate in these programs seek to create impact, yet, many fall short of expectation due to lack of training. Open Classroom Experience is the first to partner with Vietnamese schools to deliver a program that fully integrate learning, experiencing and engagement. Our blended learning model is rooted on mentorship, peer learning and experimentation that equips students with the right tools to change the world.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

To date, we have delivered 12 workshops on empathy design to over 50 VACC member schools attended by 130+ education leaders across Vietnam to raise awareness in developing entrepreneurial mindset among youth and was met with overwhelming positive feedbacks. We are also gaining momentum with western academic institutes, developing strategic partnerships with Canadian academic associations such as BCCIE and CICAN. The pilot collaborative program saw Singaporean students work with local Vietnamese students at Ho Chi Minh College of Economics to co-create prototype solutions in the community. A cohort of 20 students were tasked with finding innovative solutions to reduce production wastes from orange farm. We are in the process of refining the program to launch at a regional level.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Our revenue model consists of diverse funding sources: 1. Partnerships: We actively seek out strategic partnerships with academic institutes who sponsors the program to provide unique global experience to students 2. Marketing: The program would also be an effective platform for recruiting Vietnamese students who seeks further studies abroad as well as introducing new technology solutions to Vietnam from enterprises that are looking to expand their market. 3. Consultancy: With extensive experience in education, NGO, and private sector both in Vietnam and North America, we offer clients insights on effective international program design 4. Fundraising Initiatives: We apply for funding from government and NGOs that aligns with our mission.

10. Team

We are a group of experienced educators, entrepreneurs, development professionals who’ve spent years working in private sectors, NGOs and academic institutes. In particular, our program advisor was the Director of Entrepreneurship Center at Singapore Polytechnic. Collectively, we speak 5 languages and represent 4 nationalities. Our team’s diverse composition reflects our ambition as an experiential learning provider to explore a wide range of issues, while engaging an even wider audience.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Race
  • Gender

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