Report written by Dafne Murillo, Cross-cultural Youth Exchange Fellow
New York, NY (July 2019) – The key mantra for the 2030 is “leave no one behind” and this topic was a reference point for the creators of the “UN SDG: Learn” platform, an online learning tool that was designed to facilitate the learning of the SDGs to a global audience. One of the main challenges to learning is not knowing where they can find the information they’re looking. This is why the idea to create a centralized online tool with all the learning material pertaining the SDGs was born. Having the possibility to find all the best information in one particular site prevents the overlap of information and provides clear and organized guidance to engage folk in the SDGs. The challenge then was to adapt the features and constraints of a website-platform to an international audience, used to more traditional learning tools. The platform allows the user to select for themselves what their approach to learning is: for instance, you can choose an online tutor or a self-paced module, you can choose specific SDGs to focus on and set your own learning plan. I was wondering how Transdiaspora Network (TDN) could implement similar online modules now that we’re moving towards an international curriculum, and how much technology could serve as a tool for learning and cultural exchange, as opposed to another barrier to learning. I thought that what was missing from the conversation was an understanding how the global context makes access to technology inherently unequal, for instance because of the lack of access to reliable internet connection in the Global South. An important takeaway from this conference was therefore the importance to build partnerships with local and regional education institutions which can help disseminate this learning tool and better adapt it to their cultural environment so that it achieves the best possible effect. This contextual knowledge cannot be achieved without partners on the ground, from the communities that we’re aiming to serve. Moving forward with the learning curriculum that will be launching in the near future, I believe we can make use of the advantages of technology as a learning tool as long as we are keenly aware of the importance of human interaction and local coalition building with cultural awareness.
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