1 TU Delft University of Technology (NETHERLANDS)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 5544-5552
ISBN: 978-84-606-5763-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 9th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2015
Location: Madrid, Spain
Since technology has enabled trust between strangers, communities have started to interact differently by changing their structures and behaviours: “there is a shift from generation me to generation we” (Botsman, 2011). These communities are creative and willing to contribute not just to the wealth of their country but of the whole world in which they live, by adopting a collaborative lifestyle. Swap, exchange and trade are typical traits of these new communities that have learned how to get what they want from each other instead of purchasing from inefficient institutions. But providing solutions to daily needs is not the only form of collaborative consumption. Skills and knowledge are also exchangeable among members of communities. Within these new communities, people are empowered to become teachers and at the same time learn about what they are really passionate about. As Mitra states: “Education system as we know it today, is obsolete” (2013) and there is a clear need for a bottom up approach.

The province of Friesland in the Netherlands, financially supported by the European Union, has commissioned a project to investigate innovative solutions for citizen participation in the field of education, in collaboration with the University of Technology. The outcome of this project is WeVlie: “A service concept to promote connection between generations as a means to create strong and sustainable communities.”

This paper provides an overview of the context, methods and final service design concept executed in collaboration with the community of Vlieland: WeVlie.
WeVlie aims at reshaping the current relationships between different generations on the Dutch island of Vlieland in order to open doors to an inter-generational dialogue. WeVlie enables the members of the community from different age groups to foster alternative forms of skills and knowledge sharing that contributes in their education.

WeVlie is a service of time exchange that connects islanders by matching their skills and interests. This initiative empowers each individual to equally contribute to the community or take from it, in a sustainable way. This service concept aims to engage and connect all generations from elderly to kids, through a mutual exchange of “time” and “skills” that involves no money. WeVlie relies on typical human mechanisms of mutual support and represents a concrete tool for the Vlieland community to strength the connection of generations and embrace that sense of community that nowadays have got lost in the individualistic behaviours patterns.

This project represents a case study for the Province of Friesland to investigate how social innovation services can succeed in innovating society and education, as we know it today. With its small scale and isolated community, the island of Vlieland provides a perfect setting for societal experiments.

Finally this project, while promoting new forms of connection between generations, also educates the community towards a socially sustainable behavior. A continuous connection based on the idea that everyone has something to teach is created: WeVlie empowers individuals to discover their role in the community and enrich themselves as individual sharing themselves in the open community of the future.
Knowledge exchange, generation Z, Community resilience, Collaborative life style, Ideal learning, Inclusive learning.