Empowering teachers in a world of rapid change

Impressions from the first Campus Seminar Zurich 2018

Teachers play a key role in preparing our children with the breadth of skills needed for the future. In a world of rapid transformation, driven by global socio-economic developments and exponential technological innovations, supporting teachers to do a great job as educators of caring, responsible and well-educated future citizens is far from being an easy task.

Whereas reforming the education system to meet 21st century demands is important, let us not underestimate the power of small steps taken by a critical mass of people everyday, inside and outside the classroom, to accelerate positive change in education. The key stakeholders in the life of a child (be it educators, parents, communities, or policy-makers) can lead by example and, using themselves 21st century skills such as collaboration, creativity or critical thinking, design inspiring formal and informal learning environments for the next generation.

Exciting innovations in education are already happening all over the world, Switzerland being no exception. The challenge is that they are not equally distributed. How might we bridge this gap and leapfrog to new approaches to education? How might we empower teachers to become architects of change?

Enter a global community of education innovators and Campus Seminars. Campus Seminars were born in 2011 in Finland, a country praised for its education system. The Finnish non profit organization hundrED, that is collecting and curating every year 100 educations innovations in K12 around the world, launched Campus Seminars as exclusive events for teachers, to help them make sense of global changes.

After expanding to six European countries, Campus Seminar made its debut in Zurich, Switzerland on September 19th, 2018. In line with the strong national focus on digitalization and innovation, the exclusive event gathering a vibrant community of educators focused on Perspectives of Digital Transformation.

Campus Seminar Zurich 2018, Photo: Greg Pepper, We Are Play Lab

The mission of Campus Seminar in Switzerland is threefold:

> Support the development of the national education innovators community in an interdisciplinary environment fostering experimentation and informal learning. Through expert-led talks, best practice exchange and on-site immersive experiences, we demystify mindsets related to digital transformation and support teachers to discover exciting developments in education and society.

> Recognise and appreciate that positive change is already happening in classrooms and schools throughout Switzerland. By sharing inspiring and authentic projects from educators who are already innovating, we can empower other teachers to bring change in the classrooms.

> Showcase local innovative educators and education projects beyond Switzerland. Through the global network of hundrED, we give international visibility to national innovators and add Switzerland to the global map of K12 innovators.

Graphic Wall by Michael Meier, Campus Seminar Zurich 2018

We could not have wished for a better line-up of speakers and more insightful presentations for the very first Campus Seminar in Switzerland. You can watch all videos and discover exciting Swiss education innovations, from maker spaces in primary school to scalable game design or integrating virtual reality in teaching, here:

Campus Seminar Zurich 2018

To mention only a few key learning from the expert-led talks, related especially to mindsets needed for the digital transformation:

“We learn best when we are purpose-driven, when we think critically and ask questions, when we prototype, experiment and make mistakes, when we create and agree on explicit rules, when we value diversity, debate constructively and make robust decisions.” — Nadja Schnetzler, cofounder of Republik

Today, to understand the world that has become highly digital, we must add computer science in schools. We have to educate children early on to the dangers and opportunities of computer science, robotics and AI tools through an understanding of basic mechanisms, namely computational thinking.” — Francesco Mondada, Prof. Dr. Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, EPFL Lausanne

“If you don’t learn how to fail, you may fail to learn. Magic happens on the other side of failure. When you teach and design for failure, students not only learn deep knowledge and skills but they are also able to transfer that knowledge to novel situations. Through productive failure, students can best learn 21st century skills such as persistence, critical thinking or creativity. ” — Manu Kapur, Prof. Dr. Learning Sciences, ETH Zurich

“Video games are learning machines. We need to go beyond the bad reputation they have and acknowledge how they support developing 21st century skills.” — Marc Bodmer, Cyberculturist

It was an inspiring, content rich and highly energetic event. A big thank you goes to all partners and amazing people who contributed to making it a success. Based on the very positive feedback from participants, we know that this is only the beginning :) and look forward to future editions of Campus Seminar in Switzerland!

Cristina Riesen

Founder We Are Play Lab

Initiator and main organizer of Campus Seminar in Switzerland


Campus Seminar Zurich 2018 is an event initiated and organised by We Are Play Lab with Schweizer Schulpreis. Part of digitalswitzerland Next Generation initiatives, it is supported by the Gebert Rüf Stiftung and Stiftung Mercator Schweiz. Outreach and communication partners of the event are the Zurich University of Teachers Education PHZ, Impact Hub Zurich, Swiss EdTech Collider and hundrED.