Comanity Project. Getting to know the Greek comunity

In September 20th-21st, 2018, UNIR participated in the second meeting of the Comanity Project. The meeting was hosted by our Greek partner Kethea, the largest rehabilitation and social reintegration network in Greece. It has been providing its services to drug addicts and their families since Ithaki, the first Greek therapeutic community, was set up in 1983.

It was really an interesting and touching experience to meet the parents of some of the kids treated by the centre, and to see how the re-integration and recovery of these kids is approached by this centre.

The meeting was aimed to present and discuss the Comanity IoT (Interactive Online Tool),- designed by UNIR i.e.: the virtual environment for knowledge creation and sharing that will support the learning activities of youth workers and the interaction with stakeholders.  Also, we discussed about the training course for youth workers, to become Community Animateurs. Considering this course will have to be delivered online, with the technical support of UNIR, we focused not only on the content of the course material but also on how it should be organised/planned and presented online.

Next crucial steps are: the finalisation of the IoT, the finalisation of the training course material and the development of the online environment hosting the course. The plan is to launch the Iot and the course at the beginning of 2019. Stay tuned for the announcement!

3rd Open Education Policy Forum: Cooperation changes everything

This week I had the pleasure to attend the 3rd Open Education Policy Forum (titled “Cooperation changes everything”), organized in Warsaw by the Centrum Cyfrowe. The event counted with the participation of a number of international stakeholders such as the Open Education Consortium or SPARC as well as of policy makers, advisors, researchers and advocates from a number of European countries.

This event was particularly interesting for me – as well as for the iTED Research Institute at UNIR – because it was an occasion to appreciate “in real life” how Open Education policies are developing across Europe and to get updated after the study we run in collaboration with the European Commission’s JRC mapping OE Policies in 28 EU Member States in 2017. I presented some outcomes and reflections from that study during the event, and happily discovered that many Open Education Coalitions exist in a number of central European countries (such as Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) are using the results of the study to keep on advocating for more openness in edition policy in their respective countries.

I particularly enjoyed the discussions on the 10 dimensions of the Cape Town Declaration (in the year of its 10th anniversary) as well as the reflections presented by the Open Education Consortium and UNESCO Slovenian representatives, and was impressed by the capacity of participants to work around practical policy preparation during the workshop organized by my colleague and friend Javiera Atenas. Last but not least, I enjoyed hearing that the OER Policy Register, created some years ago by Creative Commons, will be merged into the OER World Map, thumbs up for Jan Neuman and his team.

In terms of content, the main message I bring home from this event is that “open” is somehow entering in the mainstream education policy discourse. In more and more countries, specific policies and initiatives focussing for instance on OER or open licenses are fading away, leaving space to a more “srtructural” presence of openness instances in general education policy. This is typically the case of Scandinavian countries but also of many others who are using general policy instruments (such as the OGP network) to instill more openness in their education system. Finally, an appreciation for the work of Alek Tarkowski and his team at Centrum Cyfrowe for organizing this event every year and for keeping these important knowledge sharing dynamics alive. See you next year!

Fabio Nascimbeni
October, 15-17, 2018
Warsaw, Poland

Daniele Di Mitri, PhD at Open University of The Netherland, has won the Martin Wolpers’ Award to the most young promising research

In the frame of the Martin Wolpers’ Award, funded by Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED) at Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), the Institute has presented for the second year an award to the most promising researcher at the Joint European Summer School on Technology-Enhanced Learning (JTEL).


The winner of this year, Daniele Di Mitri, has been announced at the European Association of Technology Enhanced Learning (EATEL) 2018. The Prize has rewarded not individual papers nor posters but how the young researchers actively connected and positioned their research to the field and society. The other two finalists, selected by EC-TEL and UNIR iTED, have been Sambit Praharaj (Open University of The Netherlands) and Alejandro Ortega-Arranz (Universidad de Valladolid).

Daniele’s work, with title “Multimodal Tutor: adaptive feedback from multimodal experience capturing” is focused on how multimodal data can be supportive for learning. As Di Mitri explains: “Since my background is in Artificial Intelligence, I am very interesting in using multimodal data not simply for analytics but also to generate adaptive feedback through machine learning techniques. For this reason, I follow the Artificial Intelligence in Education and Intelligent Tutoring System Community”.

UNIR iTED contributes to the Open Education Global Conference

In April 24-26 took place the Open Education Global Conference 2018, in Delft, The Netherlands, a diverse conference focused on open education where researchers, policy makers, educators and students from more than 35 countries discussed and explored about the topic. Along the event, Daniel Burgos, UNESCO Chair on eLearning, ICDE Chair in OER and director of Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED) contribute to an expert panel. This initiative was organized by a group of UNESCO and ICDE Chairs in Open Educational Resources (OER) in cooperation with a few related organizations, such as Open Education Consortium (OEC), Creative Commons (CC), UNESCO IITE and ICORE.

The panel, called “How can the OER community put he UNESCO OER Action Plan into practice?”, addressed the them “Open Educational Practices/Open Pedagogy” to improve Open Education for better learning quality, and it was part of the discussion about how opening in education helps us achieve universal access, equity, innovation and opportunity in education. In the panel also participated Christian M. Stracke (ICDE Chair in OER, Open University of the Netherlands), Zeynep Varoglu (UNESCO Programme Specialist responsable for OER Action Plan), Jane-Frances Agbu (ICDE Chair in OER, National Open University of Nigeria) and Tel Amiel (UNESCO Chair in Open Education, University of Campinas, Brazil).

The panel was part of the discussion about how opening in education helps us achieve universal access, equity, innovation and opportunity in education

Burgos commented that “Open education is the key for sustainable education. The smart combination of open and proprietary research, data, content, tools and, specially, licensing, means the innovation breakthrough towards an improved educational paradigm. If we can combine formal and informal settings so that we take the best out of both approaches, in a collaborative way, all the stakeholders win.

This panel was a first follow-up activity of the common panel “The Role of the OER community” byt the UNESCO and ICDE Chairs at the UNESCO World OER Congress 2017, that brought together more than 500 stakeholders from over 100 Member States, including 14 Ministers of Education. The expert panel discussed how innovative open pedagogies and open educational practices using OER can support and increase the implementations and practices of the Ljubljana 2017 OER Action Plan adopted in that Congress.

 

– Eva Ferreras

 

 

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