Katarzyna Winkowska-Nowak

Ashoka Fellow
Poland,
Fellow Since 2011

Citation

This profile was prepared when Katarzyna Winkowska-Nowak was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Katarzyna unlocks rural teacher’s potential to become inspiring forces in their communities through creating a trust-based and values-driven online community of teachers. Key to this strategy is a core group of selected teachers who together problem-solve and experiment with new teaching methods to share with the broader community of teachers. This broader network of teachers can then access and apply these best practices in their own work with students at their schools and in their communities. The core group also acts as the “laboratory” for testing and innovating new solutions to be shared with the wider physical communities of teachers gathered in Regional Centers for E-learning Education (ROSE) groups in remote rural areas throughout Poland.

This trust-based community emboldens teachers to implement new ideas and experiment with new technologies in the classroom. Katarzyna mobilizes teachers to take advantage of innovative digital technologies (e.g. GeoGebra) and open source technologies (e.g. Moodle and Google) in their educational work and community-based activities as well. These tools encourage active student involvement and co-creation in classroom activities, which helps to combat teachers’ helplessness and students’ lack of motivation.

Through this process, Katarzyna is changing attitudes among teachers and encouraging the spread of their ideas for innovation. Joining ICT solutions with a series of offline activities to engage students, teachers, and community members addresses the frustrations, indifference, and low self-esteem of teachers. Katarzyna is already addressing other critical social problems with this method, such as alcoholism and community development programs. Improving alcoholism and community development also require empowerment of individuals to combat ineffectiveness and sharing solutions collaboratively to address challenges.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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