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Nantes Pedagogical Initiatives Week

On Wednesday, 5th of February 2020, the European project for strategic innovation partnerships, Open Game, with leader Universidad de la Rioja (Spain) was presented to participants passionate about building serious games during Pedagogical Initiatives Week organised by the University of Nantes.

The OPENGAME project (Promoting open education through gamification) aims to contribute to the adoption of open educational resources and open educational practices among higher education educators in an innovative and motivating way, developing, testing and trivializing learning experiences through an open education form of play.

The UN works on this theme with a consortium of 5 European partner universities: Universidad de Salamanca (Spain), Universidade Abierta (Portugal), Duale Hochshule Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany), Dublin City University and the leader Universidad de la Rioja (Spain).

This project is in line with the priorities of the European Commission and UNESCO for the development of free education resources and practices and their promotion in the higher education sector.

Open Game Starts!

OpenGame is an Erasmus+ project intended to promote the inclusion of open educational resources and open educational practices into higher education. To achieve that goal, one of the results of this project will be a gamified experience for high education teachers, which will be based on real practices collected from other European colleges.

Further to provide a set of materials, this project intends to be an inspiration for teachers who do not know about open education or who are not motivated to include it into their daily teaching. Then, the three specific goals to promote the use of the open are: fostering awareness of goodness of open practices by providing teachers with other colleges’ practices; increase motivation by providing them with an attractive training environment; and give them the tools and capacities to put it into practice with their students.

In OpenGame, a set of 6 European Universities share and interchange their knowledge and experience, and work together to design and develop an attractive and effective gamified training program which broaden the introduction of the open philosophy into Universities.

The coordination of the project is in charge of Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), in Spain. Also from Spain, Universidad de Salamanca; from France, Université of Nantes; from Portugal, Universidade Aberta; from Germany, Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg; and from Ireland, Dublin City University. And the consortium is completed by two important networks: the Open Education Consortium and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). They form an interdisciplinary team which is already at work!

Actually, the kick-off meeting was held in Madrid in October this year, giving the opportunity to the partners to stablish the basis of work and to schedule the tasks to be reviewed in the next f2f meeting in Lisbon, next March. The engine is working!

 

ThingLink has released free 360-degree images to UNESCO World Heritage Sites

ThingLink,  2018 Winner of the UNESCO ICT in Education Prize,  has just released free 360-degree images to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and invites teachers to take part in the ThingLink Teacher Challenge 2019.  Teachers from all over the world will have an opportunity to include virtual trips in their lesson plans and create immersive learning experiences in multiple languages that will allow learners to discover different cultures in an interactive way.

More information about the Teacher Challenge

Check out ThingLink 360-degree images:

Ancient building complex in the Wudang Mountains, China

Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal

ThingLink is a web tool and an application, which allows teachers and students to easily enhance visual media with text, voice, photos, videos and 360-degree images with a view to increasing knowledge sharing and learning engagement.

You can find more information about ThingLink here and here

UNIR participates in Keystone third project meeting

Last 20-21st March, the third partners meeting of Keystone: Knowledge, Enterprise and Young People – supporting youth transitions in the new economy took place in Lisbon.

During the session, the partners revised the developed activities in the project since the last meeting, and they set the basis for the launch of the social innovation programme to be implemented with young people in risk of exclusion. The programme will be launched in Italy, Greece, UK and Portugal in the next weeks.

The meeting was hosted by the Portuguese partner, Portuguese Catholic University, and represented by the 5 project partners: Arcola Research (UK), Borgorete (IT), Mind2Inn (GR), Univ. Católica Portuguesa (PT), and UNIR (ES). The social innovation programme will be launch in the named ‘community lablets’, physical spaces were the young participants will work with their mentors, and virtually through several online tools implemented by UNIR.

The project started on February 2018 and has a duration of 24 months. It consists on the development of a collaboration programme for young people in risk of exclusion, with the objective of fostering their abilities and teaching them skills requested by the labour market.

Martin Wolpers’ lifetime award to excellence in research, education and significant impact in the society

Martin Wolpers was an excellent project manager that made a significant contribution to the field of Educational Technology in Europe through research projects. Thanks to his efficient and broadly spread work, this field was deeply implemented across a number of countries. He was also a good colleague who knew how to combine rigorous work, integrative negotiation skills and good manners (In memoriam: ES, EN).

Martin died of a heart condition really young and left many things to do behind. Thanks to this award, the European research community honours his memory and the values that stand underneath: a huge sense of commitment to the job and the colleagues, a vocation for a job well done and in time, and a friendly way to combine all of the above for the greater good, and a personal touch.

The 2018 lifetime award will be presented at the International Workshop on Higher Education Learning Methodologies and Technologies Online (HELMeTO). June 6-7, 2019. Novedrate (CO), Italy

Every year, an independent jury selects an outstanding member of the academic, political, social or industrial communities, who has contributed to a significant impact and continuous progress to improve education at any level in practical terms. The Martins Wolper’s Lifetime Award highlights the continuous contribution to science, academia and the society, at large. The main focus of the awarded candidate must be on ICT & Education, Online Learning, Open Education and-or Technology-enhanced Learning and can be from any country in the world. The research institute UNIR iTED founded this award in 2017 and supports every year’s nominations. The selection process strictly watch equity and equality.

The award highlights the lifetime contribution to science, academia and the society

The application will be submitted by, at least, two members of the educational, industrial, social and-or scientific community, related to the afore-mentioned topics.

The applicants will provide a brief cover letter that explains the reasons for the application and the outstanding contribution of the nominee, and a detailed CV of the nominee, along with some contact information.

2018 winner, as promising researcher: Daniele Di Mitri, PhD at Open University of The Netherlands, is awarded with the Martin Wolpers’ Award to the most young promising research with his work titled: “Multimodal Tutor: adaptive feedback from multimodal experience capturing”. More info.

2018 winner, as Lifetime Award: Prof. Dr. Dai Griffiths. Dai is a professor of Educational Cybernetics at University of Bolton who has lived and shaped the educational technology field in Europe for decades. The 2018 lifetime award will be presented at International Workshop on Higher Education Learning Methodologies and Technologies Online (HELMeTO). June 6-7, 2019. Novedrate (CO), Italy. Prof. Griffiths’ profile.

Previous editions:

  • 2017: The Martin Wolpers Award at JTEL 2017 goes to Zacharoula Papamitsiou. More info.
  • 2017: UNIR & ECTEL select Inge Molenaar’s team for the Martin Wolpers Award for the best eLearning paper. More info.

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!

Final Conference of Comanity project in Brussels

The final Conference of the Comanity project took place on November 13, 2019 in Brussels. The results of the project were presented and discussed in a panel with representatives of the European Commission, the European Council, the European Youth forum and with members of the European Parliament.

The project offers to the community of youth workers and of youth work organisations the possibility to develop a new professional profile, the “Community Animateur”.

The Community Animateur’s role is to bridge the existing gap between young people on the margins and ‘mainstream’ institutions by acting as a “Social Mediator”. Community Animateurs come from the community, and are trusted by their peer group. They act as a point of mediation between young people who don’t trust ‘the system’ and the system itself.

During the conference, the experience of the organisations that have experimented the training programme of Comanity where presented and it was shown how – thanks to Comanity – the involved youth workers could create a stronger connection to the groups of youth at the margins living in the area where their youth organization is located, and how engaging them in the solution of problems related to their community improved their situation and mitigated the risk of exclusion.

In the project, UNIR has developed the Comanity online course, which is part of the training programme leading to the acquisition of the required knowledge, skills and attitudes to become a community animateur, and the Comanity Hub, a virtual meeting place for youth workers to exchange learning, experience and knowledge.

Following a piloting phase in youth organisations in the UK, Greece, Spain and Italy, the online course will be available soon to all interested individuals and organizations, stay tuned to know when it will be launched.

To get access to the Comanity Competence Framework for the Community Animateur click here

To visit the project website click here

To get access to the Comanity Hub click here

For more information about the project and to get access to the course please contact:

Stefania Aceto

Project Manager

transfer.opi@unir.net

Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED)

Vicerrectorado de Proyectos Internacionales

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

UNIR contributes to the second partners’ meeting of the Keystone Project

Hosted by Mind2Innovate, Keystone 2nd Partners Meeting took place in Athens in September 24th and 25th, 2018. During the meeting, the partners revised the work done since the project started and designed the roadmap for the next working period.

Keystone project is financed by the European Commission Programme KA2 “Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices; Strategic Partnerships for youth”. Started on February 2018, it has a duration of two years, and five participant partners from United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

The project aims to develop a collaboration programme addressed to young people at risk of exclusion, with the objective of fostering their skills and teach them some of the competences requested by the market. With a minimum of 100 young people participating in the programme, it will be implemented both in person and virtually, in four different European cities: London, Athens, Perugia and Lisbon.

The programme contemplates the creation of Community Lablets, which are physical spaces where the young people, social workers and entrepreneurs work together. On the other hand, TIC dimension is essential in the project, hence different platforms and tools are being developed for a proper implementation of the programme. UNIR is the partner responsible for the digital environment, which provides training to the young people, hosts the learning content and allows the participants to share their ideas, experiences and do the programme exercises.

Likewise, the project involves local partners, including civic authorities, civil society, residents associations, businesses, education and training services and youth groups, which adds value to existing youth services in local neighbourhoods.

Final Project Partners’ Meeting of the European Project Virtual Tours for Business Culture

The final meeting of Virtual Tours project, hosted by University of Padova, was held on October 4th and 5th, 2018, in Padova. During the meeting, the partners analysed the obtained results, laid the foundations for the sustainability and exploitation plan, and defined the tasks to be done for the final reporting.

Virtual Tours is a project financed by the Programme Erasmus+ of the European Commission. Having a duration of two years, it started on November 2016 and finished on October 2018. It counts with seven partners coming from Italy, Spain, Finland and Macedonia. The project aims at increasing and improving opportunities of dialogue between university, students and enterprises, through a training course delivered by a virtual platform developed by UNIR.

The course is addressed mainly to recent graduates in the moment of the transition from the university to the labour market, providing a deeper understanding of the main features of the business culture. It has been implemented in five different languages (English, Italian, Finnish and Macedonian), and has been done in a piloting phase by students from four different European universities, including UNIR.

In the frame of the project, the partners have also organized several virtual sessions in different leading companies from the five participant countries. These sessions consist on online events where the company managers introduce the organisation and processes of their organisation, and answer to questions from the attendees in real time. UNIR has organized two of these sessions, in Telefonica and Adecco Group.

The project has helped the students and recent graduates to acquire competences to facilitate the transition moment from education to the labour market, and as a result, to improve their employability. The companies, apart from their contribution to the project, have obtained a major knowledge of the role they can play to improve the students’ competences, which has permitted an enhanced dialogue with the world of education and attracting appropriate candidates.

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