The Tool Fair, from dream to reality

Nov 2012
Tool Fair evaluation

As the 7th Tool Fair is about to be held in Poland in November, it is time to look back on what has proven to be the successful story of a useful adaptable model. 

From the idea of the first Tool Fair held in 2006 in France and which was not expected to give birth to the dynamic which actually followed it, to the full inclusion of the Tool Fair as a pillar of the “tools for learning” strategy, six years have been the theatre of the development of the model.

The Tool Fair is a place offering the opportunity to test and taste new tools, analyze, exchange and evaluate them, in order to valorize creativity in non-formal education pedagogical initiatives.

It is part of the Salto horizontal responsibility to support active and innovative answers to contribute to the quality development, recognition and visibility of the youth sector and non-formal education as a whole. For a long time, the main answer took the form of the online toolbox, which enabled youth

workers to upload and discover tools. But what the online toolbox can’t offer is the opportunity to share ideas and experiences within a “Rencontres du 3ème type” (or "Close Encounters of the Third Kind") way. This is how the first Tool Fair was born. As needs and experiences change like calls for new answers the Fair has been renewed every year since then, proving to be a flexible model to be adapted to the place, country and needs of the moment.

The core concept of the Tool Fair lies in the opportunity it offers to test, taste, analyze and improve the transferability of pedagogical tools. Involving local actors and national agencies as well as guests from the formal education domain, the Tool Fair usually lasts three of four days, and offers different possibilities to share tools and experiences: An open space workshop enables participants to bring their tools to light, while one hour and two hour workshops permit a deeper presentation and discussion about the tools presented.

During these workshops, the key idea is to remain as interactive as possible. Every participant is in turn presenting and commenting on or thinking about these tools which enrich the participants as much as they are enriched by them.

If the spirit and structure of the sharing has been similar for the past 6 years, it is its permanent capacity of adaptation which has made the Tool Fair successful. Each place and each year has its own characteristics, constraints, advantages, needs and requirements. The strength of the Tool Fair lies in its flexibility. Despite the common goals, targets, and structures, each Tool Fair was unique and brought its stone to the pedagogical tools structure which is now to be continued in Poland, and, next year, in Greece... 

The Tool Fair, an adaptable and flexible model

Common Features, the tape spirit test and taste, analyze, produce and evaluate new pedagogical tools.

  • Adaptability - need to adapt the organization and presented tools to the needs analyzed by national agencies and to the place
  • †Fairness – a friendly atmosphere gathering youth workers in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance, autonomy and responsibility
  • †Benchmarking – sharing tools and experiences from representatives of all types of actions of the formal and non-formal education domains, being in turn trai- ner and trainee.
  • †Three constants: place, time and target unity

Six Tool fairs improving in quality and suitability

2006 - France, Marly Le Roi
  • 120 participants - 3 days
  • Technical workshops (How to make a PowerPoint, a video, write an article...) 
2007 - Turkey, Antalya
  • 96 participants - 3 days
  • First partnership formalization with a University (Akdeniz University,Antalya)
  • Technical workshops 
2008 - Spain, La Palma
  • 70 participants - 3 days
  • Necessity to adapt the number of people to the place
  • First time “Active discovery” of the Site 
2009 - Portugal, Evora
  • 141 participants - 4 days
  • Adaptation to a historical site
  • Partnerships with both the University and the City
  • Increasing youngsters and civil society participation
  • New activities:Young people animating the active discovery, photo contest... 
2010 - Italy, Venice
  • 110 participants - 4 days
  • Creation of a specific website where participants could upload and evaluate their tools
  • Creation and 1st meeting of the European Tools for Learning Working Group 
2011 - Estonia, Tallinn
  • 106 participants - 3 days
  • Thematic:Youth and Culture (Tallinn European Capital of Culture in 2011)
  • Increasing role for the European Tools for Learning Working Group
  • Congruent preparation work 

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