In June 2011, European Schoolnet’s iTEC project welcomed an important new Associate Partner, the Gothenburg Region Association of Local Authorities (GR). The new partnership aims to strengthen scenario building in Sweden as iTEC develops and validates scenarios for the future classroom in over 1000 classrooms across 15 countries in Europe.
Allocation of resources to lifelong learning is considered as one of the key areas within the Gothenburg Region Association of Local Authorities (GR), a co-operative organisation uniting thirteen municipalities in western Sweden. As one of the iTEC’s newest Associate Partners, GR provides iTEC with a solid base in Sweden and further extends the project’s pan-European scope. With the involvement of GR, iTEC will now be able to involve and work with schools in 15 countries.
The Gothenburg region includes 210,000 pupils, 20,000 teachers and 1000 school heads. GR Education, a service organisation within the regional body, plays an important role among these actors by supporting lifelong learning and providing a place for exchanging ideas, knowledge and experience. The association also runs several joint projects and collaborates with a large number of organisations outside the municipal sphere. For example, a new project called GUNS will establish cross-border cooperation between 9 Nordic schools and 18 school classes, who will jointly plan and carry out joint cross-border projects related to languages, science, history/social studies and mathematics supported by new technologies. GR Education will also organise a two-day “Mötesplats Skola” conference in October 2011 to present different regional initiatives in the field of education. iTEC will take part in one of the conference sessions called European perspective into school digitalisation.
GR’s concrete activities to support iTEC will be related mainly to future classroom scenario development and school piloting. So called “one-to-one” computer projects have a relatively strong presence within the region’s educational sector and schools involved in these initiatives will pilot and test some of the iTEC scenarios.
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'Game-Based Learning: new practices, new classrooms' is the topic of eLearning Papers upcoming issue, due to the publication in the second week of July. Nine articles have been selected by the Editorial Committee and guest editor, Maja Pivec. We thank all authors for their high quality submissions.
This new issue of eLearning Papers should help to find answers to questions such as: Why should we implement games for learning? How should we do this? What games are appropriate for my needs?
The potential of Game Based Learning (GBL) is still underestimated. We firmly believe that GBL can play a major role in renewing learning as it is perceived by learners in all levels of education and training systems.
We have also created a community about 'Mixed realities, virtual world and gaming' dedicated to the exchange of knowledge and experiences, which is related to the changing role of computer and digital games in various areas of education and training. Join it!
The new issue will feature 9 articles, 4 of them are in depth insights on the topic and the other 5 are examples from the field of the implementation of games in education.
The Language Campus: Role-Play in an e-Learning Environment
Paul Pivec, Deakin University
Developing Serious Games: from Face-to-Face to a Computer-based Modality
Delve into the Deep: Learning Potential in Metaverses and 3D Worlds
Mercedes Gisbert Cervera, Vanessa Esteve Gonzalez and Maria del Mar Camacho Marti,
Rovira i Virgili University
From the field articles:
AVATAR – The Course: Recommendations for Using 3D Virtual Environments for Teaching
Maja Pivec, Information Design, FH JOANNEUM. Cristina Stefanelli, Consorzio FOR.COM. Inger-Marie F. Christensen, University of Southern Denmark. Jutta Pauschenwein, ZML – Innovative Learning Scenarios
Serious Games and Formal and Informal Learning
Fingers on the Screen: Game Based Learning for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
Maria Saridaki and Constantinos Mourlas, University of Athens
Envigame – Linking Environmental Education to ICT in Czech Primary Schools
Barbora Štollová, Envigame project coordinator
Engage Project: Sharing Experience from Game Based Learning Dissemination Workshops
Maja Pivec, University of Applied Sciences FH JOANNEUM in Graz
Brussels, 16 June 2011 - European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes awarded prizes to the winners of the Open Data Challenge and Hack4Europe! competitions at the Digital Agenda Assembly being held in Brussels on 16th and 17th June 2011. Companies, designers, programmers, developers, journalists, researchers and the general public from across Europe participated in the two open data competitions, trying out their ideas for creative reuse of information held by the public sector and open cultural data. European public bodies produce thousands of datasets every year - from how our tax money is spent to the quality of the air we breathe. This data can be reused in products such as car navigation systems, weather forecasts, and travel information apps.
Open data re-use is a key element of the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200). To make public data widely accessible and available in Europe, the Commission intends to revise the Public Service Information (PSI) Directive in 2011 to fully unlock the economic potential of re-using PSI.
Ms Kroes said: "I am amazed by the creative ways I have seen today for public data collected by public administrations, the collections digitised by our cultural Institutions (libraries, archives, museums) to be put to good use. Public data at large is a valuable source for innovation, as today's winners clearly show."
The Open Data Challenge and Hack4Europe! competitions were organised in support of the Commission's policy to facilitate the wider deployment and more effective use of digital technologies. The re-use of public sector information (PSI) and open data will be a key driver to develop content markets in Europe, which not only generate new business opportunities and jobs but also provide consumers with more choice and more value for money. The market turnover of public data that is reused (for free or for a fee) is estimated at least €27 billion in the EU every year.
The Open Data Challenge
Organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Open Forum Academy under the auspices of the Share-PSI initiative, the Open Data Challenge invited designers, developers, journalists, researchers and the general public to come up with useful, valuable or interesting uses for open public data. It attracted 430 entries from across the EU. Entries were invited in four categories for prize money totalling €20 000. The categories were fully blown apps, ideas, visualisations and liberated public sector datasets. The winners were selected by open data experts, including the inventor of the worldwide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
Winners of the Open Data Challenge
Applications: Eva Vozarova of the Fair-play Alliance, Slovakia has developed an app to add transparency to the public procurement process of government contracts
Ideas: Jonas Gebhardt of the University of Potsdam, Germany has developed a mobile application which can help citizens learn more about urban planning in their area
Visualisations: Oliver O'Brien of University College London, UK has developed an app to visualise the current state of bike-share systems in over 30 cities around the world
Public sector datasets: Codrina Maria Ilie of the National Institute for Research and Development in Environmental Protection, Romania has developed an app that collects thousands of old historical geo-referenced maps.
Hack4Europe! was organised by the Europeana Foundation and its partners Collections Trust, Museu Picasso, Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Centre and Swedish National Heritage Board as a series of hack days in London, Barcelona, Poznan and Stockholm running from 6 to12 June. It provided the opportunity to explore the potential of open cultural data for social and economic growth in Europe in an exciting environment. There were 60 participants from the creative industries. These included mainly SMEs like web design agencies, applications developers, software firms and other digital businesses. They were joined not only by developers from the cultural heritage sector, keen to create new ways to engage people with online cultural resources, but also by some larger players like the Google Technical Group and the Yahoo Research group in Spain.
Winners of Hack4Europe!
UK: Michael Selway of System Simulation Ltd. who developed an app to obtain
improved search results from Europeana using an Android touch screen.
Spain: Eduardo Graells of Universitat Pompeu Fabra/Yahoo! Research Barcelona who created a "Timebook" for historical figures. The app integrates content from Europeana and DBpedia and presents it in an easy to use format with, for instance, posts for famous quotes, friends status for influential persons and photos of paintings.
Poland: Jakub Jurkiewicz of iTraff Technology. Using Europeana dataset, this winner developed an app that processes a photo taken of any painting in a museum to give a description of the painting in a matter of seconds, translated into any EU language or even read out loud.
Sweden: Martin Duveborg of the Swedish National Heritage Board who developed a fully functional geo-location aware search of Europeana for Android. Users can take photos and associate them with existing Europeana objects. Through an inbuilt function to overlay new pictures with Europeana pictures, a seamless "Then-Now" effect is created. The new photos are uploaded with the current GPS position so the app can also function as a geo-tagger tool for Europeana.
What is the Commission doing to promote the use of Public Sector Information?
Promoting the re-use of Public Sector Information is a collective effort and the Commission itself is well aware it can do more to put its own data online. Recently, the European Commission published a Digital Scoreboard (see IP/11/663) to show the progress of the EU and Member States in delivering on the agreed targets of the Digital Agenda for Europe after the first year of its existence. In line with its commitment to an open data strategy the Commission has made its data sets and statistics in the Scoreboard publicly available online enabling anyone to carry out their own analysis and come to their own conclusions.
In a near future, the Commission will also put forward proposals for a pan-European portal to give a single access point to the data which is being put online by the Member States.
For more information:
Nominees for the European Award of the Best Open Data Challenge:
Nominees for the European Award of the Best Hack4Europe!:
Open Data Workshop at the Digital Agenda Assembly:
Commission's Public Sector Information Website:
Digital Agenda website:
Neelie Kroes' website: http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/kroes/
Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/neeliekroeseu