The UNESCO- NetEdu tool is in a developmental process, and claims to support policymakers from government agencies to co-design a national strategy to collectively respond to SDG4: inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

The tool facilitates a set of processes to understand and weave the learning ecosystem at a national level, visualizing the existing and potential involvement of diverse stakeholders from multiple sectors and disciplines beyond the traditional educational system. Specifically, the tool facilitates the involvement and development of the technological and digital sector within the wider learning ecosystem. In this sense, tool users are challenged to visualize, analyze and strengthen both the networked infrastructure and the collaborative culture in the extended learning ecosystem in the region, leveraging existing and new resources to better achieve SDG4 outcomes. 

Therefore, the tool aims to facilitate meaningful engagements with policy makers in order to initiate and sustain a change process that  enhances their own understanding of the regional educational system, facilitating contextualized processes and opportunities for learning ecosystem development in the region. While in the last 10 years there has been a worldwide exponential growth and interest in the development of tools and processes to support healthy learning ecosystems in regional and community levels, there aren’t many experienced research based practices to learn from. In addition, we acknowledge that while tools are needed as a part of efforts to make our living ecosystems visible, they are insufficient in and of themselves to facilitate the ongoing engagement, understanding, insight and evolution that by necessity predicates whether a collective will be able to function well over time. 

The tool under discussion should therefore be regarded as part of a more comprehensive approach towards the evolution of a country’s learning and digital education ecosystem, and should be used in conjunction with clearly defined methods for engaging the intended stakeholders, and processes for facilitating its effective use. The tool is designed to better enable visualisation of, and engagement with, the various actors within the education system, including those who may not have traditionally been viewed as education actors (eg EdTech companies, data and software providers, libraries, museums, community based learning spaces etc). Accessing, identifying, quantifying and interpreting the data on the system stakeholders is only the first step in the movement towards functional learning and digital ecosystems, and the aim of the tool is to allow for this element of the process to be achieved. Generating spaces for dialogue, engagement, connection and co-reflection, building trust, and moving towards a shared purpose and commitment to the development of a healthy education landscape requires that each national and regional team commits to a process of ongoing engagement with its diverse stakeholders, and is supported to do so with contextually relevant, consistently applied relational processes.

The UNESCO-NetEdu tool is sited within a conscious and intentional process for allowing users a visualization of the actors and their various relationships and interconnections within the education landscape, and for supporting an understanding of this that can develop and evolve alongside the changing dynamics of the ecosystem. With this in mind, the tool we present helps users to navigate through a learning and transformative process that progressively supports visualization, reflection and evolution of their understanding of the social and organizational connections which humanise us. Through conscious reflection on these, the very act of attending to and thinking about these connections supports their growth in depth and strength. Such a process calls for progressive and iterative reflection cycles by and amongst the participants in the process, evolving continually outwards to include more of the framing ecosystem within which they are found. 

For this to happen, the tool facilitates a conscious and collaborative process from the very beginning of its use. The Tool Users are national governmental agencies committed to ensure SDG4, but governmental agencies are invited to team up with local/city agencies in the country -also engaged with SDG4-, to collaborate in the visualization, analysis and strengthening of the regional learning ecosystem. This type of team approach aims to: 

1- set up a collaborative culture between administration levels in the use of the tool and co-design of a regional strategy; 

2- contribute to a vertical alignment and integration essential for ecosystem development, as it is a collective endeavour that will need a wide network of shared leadership across system levels; and 

3- identify and support cities as learning and innovation hubs that will complement the regional ecosystem’s picture and will enhance the coherence, effectiveness and impact of new strategy and policy implementations informed by the tool data. 

4- Lastly, the tool intentionally seeks a further engagement between users and broader stakeholders and supports a conscious movement for ecosystemic change to better achieve SDG4 in the whole region.