Students As Experts 4 Change

Students As Experts 4 Change is an Educational Design with the goal to allow school students to become active agents of change, by supporting them to develop their own social impact strategies.


Students As Experts 4 Change is an Educational Design with an aim of supporting school students to become change agents. Students identify social challenges that matter to them, and come together to actively create and design solutions, while regarding themselves as, and acting as, experts and leaders throughout the process.


Participants are encouraged to produce videos and share content on social media to activate their peers. Besides digital approaches, the communication methods used include theatre, pedagogy, storytelling, and gamification. By shifting the roles and making students the experts, the adults encourage them to voice their own ideas, giving them the space to think outside of the box and letting them work in the environment they know best – digital tools and social media. Students As Experts 4 Change is designed to create ‘high possibility’ classrooms by capitalising on student’s creativity and their ability to cope with social issues.

trusting young people to take the lead

One of the main obstacles, when implementing the programme with a group of students, was to defy the well-learnt reflexes of the students to think as they do in school. At school, young people are used to learning for exams, a practice that mutes creativity and can be characterised by the phrase 'to think in boxes'. A good way to overcome this is to take the activity out of the school; or at least out of the usual classroom. Another important lesson for people working with youth that emerged from this project: it is essential to not confuse the possible frustrations of students with indifference, instead it is necessary to empower them, hand over responsibility, and create space for them to think big. Engaged, motivated, and ambitious students sprung from the project, showing initiative and interest in engaging in dialogue and co-creation. The initiative also led to the founding of the Youth Empowerment Project YEP – Voice of the Youth. YEP offers inspiring surroundings, helpful tools, and a dedicated community for young people.

If you put students in a classroom for 8 to 12 years and tell them to sit down and be quiet, how can you expect that they graduate from school and suddenly become independent citizens?

Rebekka Dober, Founder YEP Austria
Project owner
Rebekka Dober
Founder YEP Austria