What if Education… Podcast

Can we change the way we educate? Do we need to change? How about, do we even want change?  

Taking a slightly unorthodox approach, in each episode, teachers, students and experts share their ideas of how they think the future of education will unfold. The host, Monika Theron, evokes free-thinking by sneaking controversial topics into conversations with her guests. Monika wants to find out how comfortable educators and learners are with new and developing concepts in education. 

Expected outcomes: crazy ideas, humour and open-minded conversations. 

Navigate to information on: Episodes | The Host | The Guests | Sharing & Downloads | Useful Links

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Series 1

Episode 1

Monika speaks to Dr. María Gabriela Palacio, Assistant Professor of Development Studies, Social Policy and International Studies at Leiden University and Nicole Kadlec currently a student of International Studies as well as an assistant student working at the Centre for Innovation, also at Leiden University. 

The curveball in this 3-part series: the education of the future uses micro-chips and social scoring. How do the guests feel about it? 

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Episode 2

We are joined by Jaap Bronsa History teacher, currently teaching Humanities at the Highschool Academie Tien based in Utrecht, and Pelle Berkhout a post-graduate student specialising in Latin American Studies and International Relations, as well as a student assistant at the Centre for Innovation also at Leiden University. 

How do the visions of education in 2030 of Jaap and Pelle differ from the guests in our first episode?  Are they more comfortable with the microchipping and social scoring system? 

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Episode 3

In this last episode of the 3-part series Monika dives into the future of education with  Marcello A. Gómez Maureira, a researcher and designer, and a teacher at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science as well as a PhD candidate at Leiden University. Our student today is Juliette Petra Rose van der Laarse, a game developer, learning and education enthusiast, and innovator currently studying at Leiden University.     

Do they paint the same picture of the future in education or react the same way as our previous guests toward microchips and social scoring? 

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About the host…

Portrait of Monika Theron

Monika Theron

I’m a filmmaker at the Centre for Innovation, Leiden University. I have a background in film and television. A few years ago I shifted my energy to innovation in education. My colleagues and I work with teachers and students where we research and pilot new technology and formats for education.


My hope for these podcasts is to create a platform for teachers and students to have crazy and daring conversations. I want people to step outside of their comfort zone and realise that their ideas for the future are within their reach.

Part 1 Guests

Dr María Gabriela Palacio is a University Lecturer at the Faculty of Humanities of Leiden University. She teaches courses on political economy of Latin America and Practising International Studies (PRINS) at the BA International Studies. She holds a PhD in Development Studies by the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS). Having held posts in more than one academic discipline, from economics to critical development studies, and moved across diverse geographical locations, she has gained great appreciation for interdisciplinary work, localised research, and accessible output. Her research contributes to critical social policy. Situated within development studies and informed by political economy, anthropology, and sociology, it seeks to understand how social policy shapes political and social identities. Most of her empirical research has focused on Ecuador, though she has written more broadly about Latin America. She is also the chair of the network LUDEN, tackling racism and other forms of exclusion at Leiden University’s working and learning environment. 


Nicole is currently a third-year BA International Studies student at Leiden University. Having previously studied law in her home country, Austria, Nicole was eager to learn more about the international effects of globalisation from a multi-disciplinary perspective. She developed a special interest in South Asian religion, cultural appropriation, and inclusivity. Additionally, she was also the President of the Study Association of Leiden University (BASIS) in 2019 until 2020 where her main responsibilities were creating and leading a long and short term vision for 26+ committees as well as leading her board towards organising over 160 events. Currently she is a Student Assistant at the Centre for Innovation where she hopes to achieve an integrated and efficient Mentoring system for all incoming Leiden University students as part of the central coordination team. 


Listen to María and Nicole in Part 1

Part 2 Guests

Jaap Brons teaches humanities aAcademie 10an innovative high school in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Learning trough wonder is a central concept at Academie 10. In his lessons Jaap stives to achieve this through project-based assignments and giving students the freedom to research the subjects they want to learn about. He has a background in history and is currently doing his master’s in history education at Hogeschool Amsterdam.  


Pelle is a student of the MA International Relations and the MA Latin American Studies at Leiden University and an active member of the University’s community. Also, he is a student assistant at the Leiden Centre for Innovation, where he researches innovation in the Dutch government. 


Listen to Jaap and Pelle in Part 2

Part 3 Guests

Marcello A. Gómez-Maureira — or ‘Maro’ — is a game researcher and lecturer at Leiden University, and co-founder of the small interactive media development studio “Dandy Unicorns”. Curious about the intricacies of good design, he has studied and worked in engineering, graphic design, video game development, and academic game research. His professional background informs his development work and his perspective as an educator, where he motivates students to draw from their unique range of experiences to shape their own careers. Maro publishes prolifically and has successfully attracted scholarships and grants as a result. He is drawn to research topics that explore the impact of interactive and playful design on emotions, and the potential of intentionally evoking even complex emotional states through design. Together with his equally dandy partner-unicorn, he develops games for research and education purposes that puts theory into practice. 


Juliette Petra Rose van der Laarse: I studied Game development, after which I made the switch to Leiden University to study Korea studies were my academic interests grew. I worked as a freelance developer and designer outside of college to pay for my bills and got the opportunity to work on a bigger project with a team which led me to found my first startup in AR and VR development. After this I followed courses from multiple faculties and programs, including Law, Securitu Studies, and Urban Studies, and I am now working on an educational game that teaches physics to secondary school students. I am taking online programming courses with a focus on big data and AI, and started with the parttime bachelor Philosophy at Leiden University this September. 

If I were to describe myself I am very eager to learn and most of my days and time are filled with studying either subjects or new skills.

Listen to Marcello and Juliette in Part 3

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