Empathize in Espinho: Educational Innovation through Co-design

Empathize in Espinho: Educational Innovation through Co-design

Two Days of Design Thinking to Rewrite the Future of Education

“The Community Foundation of Agrigento and Trapani facilitated a co-design event held in Espinho, Portugal, on October 16 and 17, within the scope of the Empatise project. This initiative highlighted the importance of innovative methods such as design thinking in education.

Design Thinking in Co-design
During the event, design thinking played a key role. This methodology centers on empathy to deeply understand the end-users, in this case, students and teachers. It involves a clear definition of the problem, creative ideation of solutions, prototyping, and testing prototypes. This interactive and collaborative process guided participants in creating tools and methods for effective and inclusive education.

The initiative is part of the project “EMPowering schools’ Action fostering Teachers’ Innovation, Empathy & Support within the Educational community” (Project No. 2022-1-IT02-KA220-SCH-000089811), selected and co-financed by the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission through the National Agency Indire Erasmus+ Indire within the framework of Key Action 2 Cooperation partnerships in school education.

The co-design event in Espinho was a platform for ideas and collaboration. Sara Ripellino, one of the participants, brought unique experiences and innovative perspectives. Let’s read about her experience.

My name is Sara Ripellino, an educator and president of the Catholic Action San Giuseppe Maria Tomasi of Licata. For years, I have been involved in the training and education of children and adolescents. I am participating in the “Empatise” project and also attended the co-design session held in Espinho on October 16 and 17, because I believe that all educational agencies need constant innovation to better meet the challenges that the world of education requires. In particular, I deeply believe that empathy is a valuable tool that all teachers and educators must develop to help every adolescent – especially those living in economic and social disadvantage and who are therefore more vulnerable – to not feel behind others, discover their talents, and find their own path. Today more than ever, training must be innovative, inclusive, and fair. Alliances are needed between teachers, educators, institutions, to combat school dropout and educational poverty and to help young people, and their families, rediscover the value of school and associations and entities that, although not dealing with education in the strict sense, are a means of emancipation and personal growth that should not be underestimated, discarded, but supported and valued. Finding myself in Portugal, together with educators and teachers from five different countries, was beautiful, constructive, and stimulating because it made me understand how in every community the approach to education and training is different; how each community gives different weight to educational tools that elsewhere are considered less relevant or even unused. It was an opportunity to share good practices to be used and to start building an “educating community” that goes beyond the places frequented and experienced by each one. Empatise allowed me to taste a European dimension that we can no longer consider as fundamental to connect with the world. I returned home with many interesting ideas and with the awareness that Italian schools, if they want to be effective, need to deploy means that help students and teachers develop soft skills because school must first and foremost be a place where today’s and tomorrow’s men and women are formed. In this, the Community Foundation, with its projects always sensitive to inclusive and innovative education, I believe can be a bridge between the local and global level, between school and institutions, to realize just that process of innovation we need.

2560 1920 Fondazione Comunitaria di Agrigento e Trapani
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