Better World Info as a Platform for Education in Schools and Universities

"Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world."

With these words, Nelson Mandela described the huge significance of education and knowledge, and the power it gives us to help make the world a better place. Better World Info strongly resonates with this concept. The directory is home to over 400,000 links on essential resources, organisations, and information focused on global issues such as democracy and environment. The platform actively contributes to the preservation and dissemination of knowledge. It is an excellent tool for free and trustworthy information. After receiving the Comenius-EduMedia Seal of Approval in 2000, the site has been relaunched, expanded, and continues to grow daily.

The website offers over 6,500 links specifically on the subject of education. The topics range from school and university, to peace and environmental education, as well as all the latest news. You will also find information on libraries, e-learning, and open education here. To support your educational needs, Better World Info also contains an extensive amount of useful information on topics such as climate, human rights, social justice, development & aid, health, politics, and religion.

For German speakers, we recommend checking out the German platform Besser Welt Info, where there is even more excellent information available. Under the Bildung category you will find 4,500 links to further relevant information about schools and universities, science, adult education, libraries, education policy, philosophy, and a lot more.

Schools 

Better World Info provides a wide range of resources for schools. You can find out more about general school subjects including STEM education and gender education. They have separate sections for teachers and students, as the website has a lot to offer for both. You will find excellent resources featuring, international students, school violence, bullying, and much more.

They also offer a huge category featuring alternative schools such as Montessori and Waldorf, and even a section on home schooling.

Universities 

In the university section you will find a lot of information on universities around the world, including guides, tuition fees, and the latest news. Students have a separate category filled with useful resources on topics such as student unions, movements, groups, and magazines. There is also a section featuring exemplary scientists, who are the role models for today's students. Continuing the theme of science, you will find extensive information on statistical analysis and ethics, including research, ethics centres, scientific misconduct, and grant proposals. 

Adult education 

Our world is constantly evolving, as are humans, and our desire to continuously develop ourselves. The concept of lifelong learning began a long time ago. Education does not necessarily end with school, studies, or the profession you have chosen. You can continue your educational path at any point in your life, even post retirement. Learning new skills, developing old ones, and in turn gaining great satisfaction can all be achieved later in life. For this reason, special training opportunities for adults are available in many forms.

At Better World Info you can find out more about adult education and literacy. There is a brilliant guide featuring the important organizations in adult learning, as well as comprehensive resources covering civic education, popular education, critical consciousness, and even inspiring TED Talks to help you on your adult learning journey.

Bookshelf

Education for a Better World 

1. Peace education: Better World Info is the place to find information on peace education. There is a complete list of the incredible people, organizations, and projects working for, and supporting peace education, as well as a huge resource on suitable teaching materials, made especially for educators. They also provide detailed information on peace education courses available to under- and postgraduates, as well as shorter courses, events, workshops, and even online learning opportunities in this area. 

2. Environmental Education: Never before has the need for climate and environmental education been so essential. We are currently experiencing the effects of a global climate crisis, and current predictions show the consequences only worsening. More than ever, it is necessary to adapt education to prepare future generations for challenges to come, and explore potential solutions. Many of us have lost our connection to nature - it's time to reconnect. Students can learn to protect the environment, live more sustainably, and understand the changing world around them. Find key resources, organisations, and much more at Better World Info. 

3. Human Rights Education: Understanding our fundamental human rights is the first step in the defence of these very rights. Human rights studies empowers learners, and sows the seeds for the world's future lawyers, campaigners, defenders, and aid workers. You can find top organisations, colleges, scholarships, internships, graduate programmes, and resources for schools. Better World Info is a huge toolbox which covers all human rights topics, and issues around the world. With over 48,000 links available, and growing, knowledge is empowering. Better World Info stands up for human rights. 

4. Religious Education: Religion and ethics is the number one tool in conveying world views, debating philosophical questions, and understanding religious norms and culture. Better World Info deeply explores individual religions, spirituality, atheism, agnosticism, and even materialism. You will find information on building religious tolerance, respect, and understanding. Interfaith dialogue is also highlighted as a tool for promoting positive relationships and acceptance. Themes of religious freedom, oppression, and discrimination are also included in this enlightening guide. 

5. Health Education: On the topic of health, you will find thousands of carefully selected links chosen by a physician. This includes in-depth coverage of the world's most common diseases, and also a huge category dedicated to healthy living. This includes pressing themes such as obesity, smoking, sanitation, HIV, and even assisted dying. You will also find the world's single largest guide on COVID-19 with a total of 16,000 links. A truly invaluable tool. 

6. Financial Education: Financial matters concern each and every one of us, however, they are often left unexplained by standard curriculums. School leavers can feel totally unprepared for the real world, which is why financial education urgently needs to be expanded. Learners should be aware early on, that for example, bank transfers are often accompanied with a transaction fee, loans must be repaid with interest, and credit cards can either build or destroy your credit rating. 

With a lack of understanding, it is easy to see why many could fall into the debt trap. To assist with this type of learning, Better World Info provides informative links on the global financial system. This covers extensively the financial crisis, tax issues, risks, and fraud. Key issues such as globalisation, inequality, austerity, tax dodging, and monopolies can all be found under the category capitalism.  

7. Civic Education: Low turnout among young voters signifies that civic education needs to become a bigger focus in school. Lack of desire to vote, and political apathy correlates strongly with a lack of education. Without sufficient knowledge of politics, and how in a very real sense it affects everything around us, it is difficult to imagine how your single vote would count. In turn, cynicism and disengagement from politics causes young people to lack the motivation to inform themselves politically. 

Establishing the connection between politics and our everyday lives can reduce apathy. This, with a basic level of knowledge and the appropriate resources, can help young people to evaluate and classify political events themselves. Better World Info provides an extensive toolbox of easy to navigate political information, it can be used both as teaching material and for self-education. You will also find access to excellent independent news platforms who discuss political events without bias. 

Girl computer

Education in the Digital Age

Social media has become ingrained into our everyday lives - almost everyone now has access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Unfortunately, these new media platforms do not really reflect reality, and therefore more critical awareness and media literacy is vital in order to avoid issues which are already making headlines.

When processing information found on social media, caution is always advised. Fake news spreads incredibly quickly on the internet. We must never forget that these platforms are NOT news media, all information is derived from ordinary people. Online, users do not have to answer for the correctness of their statements. They simply post, and there are no personal repercussions.

Better World Info offers excellent guides on how to navigate social media in a healthy and productive way. Issues with filter bubbles, data protection, and even mental health are becoming more and more common with improper use. Find out how to get the most out of it, access free online courses, and even use it for campaigning and advocacy.

Access to, and the availability of E-learning and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Resources) has grown exponentially in recent years, even more so with the coronavirus pandemic. Digital education has become a flexible, and often free way to enable learning, for many students it has now become the norm.

Open education allows for unlimited participation, and open-access resources such as course material and content. This helps remove barriers to education, and ensure a more inclusive approach. The range of students utilising these resources is broad and diverse. With increasing global access to the internet, the scope for education and knowledge is always expanding.

Summary

Better World Info embraces education in all its forms, and works to be the best tool in supporting both educators and students. The content is provided freely, to assist those who seek knowledge, and to those who want to use it to help change the world. As Mandela said, ‘education is the most powerful weapon’, and this educational tool is the stepping stone to realising that it is within your reach.

Learn how you can get involved today. Share your knowledge and contribute to Better World Info by recommending resources to the site. Utilise this excellent platform in your classes and seminars, and contact us if you have any questions and also if you are interested in mentioning our information portal on your website or social media.


Article by Nina Göttfried, translated and edited by Rachael Mellor. 

 

Better World Info as a Platform for Education in Schools and Universities by Nina Göttfried is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

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Image 1: “Love to Learn, San Luis Obispo, United States” by Tim Mossholder is published under Unsplash license

Image 2: Untitled image by Matthew Feeney is published under Unsplash license

Image 3: Untitled image by Annie Spratt is published under Unsplash license

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