Containerized Education by Up2U

Containerized Education by Up2U

Building container schools is not only the peculiarity of the developing world regions these days. With the ever growing demand for quality education, the physical space for student classrooms in many European cities is getting to be scarce. As new residential areas are growing up quickly, the easiest and cheapest way is to put some containers together in a suitable setup and students can immediately start learning. Temporary expansion of existing schools often happens through containerized building blocks too.

This concept motivated the Up to University (Up2U) project in developing its architectural vision, heavily relaying on modularity. We believe, if we created the right conditions students will learn naturally. The original LEGO approach of the Next Generation Digital Learning Environments (NGDLEs) published in 2015 is often challenged by the personalized learning needs. Standard shipping containers may fit very well on top of one another but they have to be made suitable (equipped with furniture) as well as loveable (painted in colours) for children to use them as their schools. This is true for the digital learning environments too. There are so many moving elements that need to be tuned in order to provide the best teaching and learning experience.

Up2U is designing, developing and deploying a NGDLE with existing components, where possible using open source software, that are glued together in a specific way. In contrast with the market leaders who obviously put their particular products in the centre of their universe, Up2U is putting the emphasis on interoperability, modularity and portability. Our “Up2U Service Bus” constitutes the backbone of our NGDLE architecture. It includes a defined set of standard protocols and APIs (in coordination with IMS Global and other standards) to ensure seamless interoperability of the functional building blocks. Our “Up2Universe” is an open container of Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) based tools and services accessible via the main Learning Management System (LMS). Our vanilla LMS has unique added-value functionalities such as; federated access and externalized group management, enhanced file sync and share capabilities, Open Education Resource aggregation and inclusions, and integrated learning analytics function supporting open badges.

Up2U glues together its open architecture elements implemented in docker containers that can be deployed on top of a wide variety of cloud infrastructures. Thanks to the modular and portable design, the local deployments can easily be customized to exploit the available infrastructure elements, educational resources and other specificities of the particular country or region as much as possible. Just like container schools, the containerized education platform provided by Up2U creates the right conditions for students to learn in the digital space.

Peter Szegedi

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