Work in Progress:

Eportfolio for Kids in Social Networks across

Generations, Competencies and Cultural Backgrounds



The classical education system is not capable to awake and promote individual
competencies of children and the youth. Instead, the academic socialisation aims
to create an ideal type with a specific character, abilities and soft skills. Hereby,
the system discriminate against children who do not fit into this frame and intend
to homogenise the variety of individuals although our society would rather profit
from versatile talented people of all sorts.

In modern learning systems all are: sitting, dressed the same, doing and
thinking the same thing at the same time in same conditions, in same age
groups, having the same teacher, having same competencies, excluded
from real life etc.....*

Existing intentions to improve the educational system often reach their limits,
due to the rather rigid structure of the classical system. Such ostensible
unparalleled system is not only sustained by its administration, but also by the
broad society. Therefore, the educational concept of EDEJU (Promotion of the
Development of the Youth) targets the entire society across cultures and
competencies to create a social learning network with the help of ICT
(Information and Communication Technology).


EDEJU aims to realise an alternative method of self-development, which begins
in early childhood and leads to a life-long process of the individual development
of personality embedded in an autonomous social learning network.

The educational concept of EDEJU, namely “INSEL-Netz” (Intercultural Selflearning
Network) offers an alternative to the abovementioned classical system:
Based on the “uneducated” child with its natural ambition to develop its
competencies, INSEL-Netz intends to create an optimal environment, which
reacts according to the child’s emerging talents ‘just in time’. The concept
involves parents, early child teachers, educators as well as the society with its
various institutions (nurseries, schools, public administrations, political entities,
economies etc.). By creating a social learning network via ICT across societies
and national borders, the concept aims to develop a worldwide network
appropriate for children within a child-friendly society.

The pilot projects “Cleverle” in the Ivory Coast, “Denzlinger Cleverele” in
Germany, and the international project “Cyber-Cleverle” are testing aspects of
the concept successfully. Kids (here referred to as “cleverle”) develop their
various competencies through self-organised projects and share their experience
online by means of an ePortfolio. Hereby the programme “EDEJU-Atlas” intends
to categorise, organise and connect activities of cleverle, so that a self-learning
network may arise.

The EDEJU-Atlas has the following functions:

    - Colour-coded overview of topics and areas of life (technology, nature,
      culture and organisation)

    - Provision of self-learning means for step-by-step development including all
      areas of life

    - Space to create an ePortfolio listing acquired skills

    - Possibility to connect with users across generations and cultural
      background and to exchange experiences (by browsing the database
      according to topics, projects or persons)

    - Ability to compare one’s competencies with possible occupational profiles

For now, the EDEJU-Atlas is only available in German, but it is envisioned to be a
multilingual programme. However, as an interactive platform, it will be up to the
users to design and develop the programme according to their needs.



Summary of results

The application of the EDEJU-concept “INSEL-Netz” in the form of Cleverleprojects
exhibits successful results, which is foremost supported by highly
satisfied children and parents. Participating children can not only develop their
individual talents within the stimulating environment of the projects, but more so
they share their acquired knowledge and expertise with children across ages and
borders through their self-developed ePortfolio. Thereby social self-learning
networks arise in which for example Anika (6 years old) and Paula (7 years old)
from Germany produce an animated cartoon in cooperation with Gungun (6
years old) from India.

For now, each “cleverle” has the possibility to develop and design its individual
homepage where it may present its talents, interests and already accomplished
projects. The EDEJU-Atlas would help inter-connecting these ePortfolios, by
ordering them according to the topics mentioned above. The following picture
shows the ePortfolio of Anika and Paula, where they list their interests and
projects on the left:


Collaborators and children of the pilot projects in the Ivory Coast make also use
of EDEJU’s webspace to present their educational activities via ePortfolio. The
already existing network among them is hence expanded to “cleverle” from other


The EDEJU-Atlas is still in a probational phase, however, the programme is
already accessible online. As an interactive programme, users are welcome to
further develop it and to suggest improvements according to their needs.

Conclusions and recommendations

After decades of developing the educational concept INSEL-Netz and its
application through pilot projects, emerging tendencies towards the EDEJU
philosophy can be observed. These are to be promoted in order to create a
critical mass, which in turn would propagate a child-friendly self-learning network
by the means of ICT. As an active participant of Cleverle-projects, each person
not only develops its own talents, but also contributes to a dynamic knowledgeexchanging
society. Furthermore, the INSEL-Netz concept invites interested
people to realise Cleverle-projects within their own societies, which would then
be linked to already existing projects via the EDEJU-Atlas. This would enable new
cleverle to present their competencies and collaborate with other cleverle around
the world.

Finally, the EDEJU-Atlas offers an alternative to the conventional educational
system in which children are bound to their age-group and forced to learn
specific subjects at a particular time. The EDEJU-Atlas enables children to
collaborate with other children according to their momentary interests
independent of the time of the day and the location of their collaboration


In the EDEJU learning system all are not: sitting, dressed the same, doing and
thinking the same thing at the same time in same conditions, in same age
groups, having the same teacher, having same competencies, excluded
from real life etc.....*



Authors: Wolfgang Helmeth and Eva Helmeth

EDEJU - International Institute for the Promotion of the Development of Youth, Germany