“Education is about learning – Sir Ken Robinson”
The key objective of the project is to bridge the gap between secondary schools and higher education & research by better integrating formal and informal learning scenarios and adapting both the technology and the methodology that students will most likely be facing in universities.
We are focusing on the context of secondary schools, often referred to as high schools, which provide secondary education between the ages of 11 and 19 depending on the country, after primary school and before higher education.
This initiative aims to respond to the requirements of a clear mandate from the European Commission allied with the provision of new cloud-based tools and services to enhance primary and secondary education in Europe.
Up2U is a 36 month collaborative project with 5M Euro funding that kicked off in January this year. This project is coordinated by GÉANT and gathers 18 partners from 12 countries across Europe including NRENs, traditional and open universities, infrastructure providers and two commercial partners.
Up2U focuses on a specific learning context and very formative period represented by secondary schools that in most European countries provide education to children between the ages of 11 and 19.
The aim is to develop an innovative ecosystem that facilitates more open, effective and efficient co-design, co-creation and use of digital content, tools and services specially adapted for personalised, collaborative or experimental learning by students preparing for university.
The learning context from the perspective of the students is the intersection of formal and informal spaces, a dynamic hybrid learning environment where synchronous activities meet in both virtual and real dimensions. We will address project based learning and peer-to-peer learning scenarios.
We strongly believe that all the tools and services the project is going to use and/or make available (i.e. incorporate, design, develop and test) must be sustainable after the lifetime of the project.
The project is going to develop business plans and investigate appropriate business models using the expertise of the Small Medium Enterprise and National Research and Education Network partners and their contacts with third-party business actors.
Our plan is to make it easy for new schools to join the Up2U infrastructure and ecosystem that will form a federated market-place for the learning community.
The Up2U project is coordinated by GÉANT, which for many years has been offering a forum to collaborate, innovate and share knowledge in order to foster developments in technology, infrastructures, and services for the benefit of the research and education community. Our consortium members have extensive experience in collaborative projects, especially those that adapt business models to allow technological changes, boost the level and assessment of digital skills and support teachers’ development through open online courses and open educational resources.
National Research and Education Networks (NRENs)
The e-infrastructure (NREN) partners of the consortium provide e-infrastructure (primarily network) services to schools and bring expertise in the area of security, federated trust and identity, and educational application service development. They offer virtualized infrastructure resources for the project out of their national data centers and cloud service delivery infrastructures. The NREN partners are: GARR (Italy), GRNET (Greece), FCT (Portugal), IUCC (Israel), KIFU (Hungary), PSNC (Poland), and the LITNET networking department in KTU (Lithuania).
The university partners of the consortium bring their expertise in teaching and learning methodologies and pedagogy, in general. They contribute their first hand experiences with novel learning models and application tools supporting formal and informal learning scenarios. The university partners are: OU (UK), UROMA (Italy), NTUA (Greece), UVIGO (Spain), ISEP (Portugal), TAU (Israel), and KTU (Lithuania).
Big Research Institutes
The big research institute partners of the consortium make sure that the Up2U ecosystem is efficiently linked to big research in order to develop innovative and motivational learning scenarios for high school students who can use the same or similar tools and services as the researchers. They also bring their cloud infrastructure resources and services. These partners are GWDG (Germany) and CERN (Switzerland).
Small Medium Enterprises
The commercial SME partners of the consortium provide excellence in software development in their respective technical area and also bring the commercial approach and business relations in cooperation with those NREN partners that also operate on a commercial or semi-commercial basis. The vendor partners of Up2U are: the multimedia software company TELTEK in Spain and the file sync and share service platform developer company OWNCLOUD in Germany.
The Up2U project supports a large international community of users and collaborators, consisting of students, teachers, high schools, universities, as well as governments, content providers and other European projects and partnerships.
Our project helps you to adapt to new learning scenarios that will be useful when attending to a university. Experimenting with the informal learning spaces and develop new skills that will be inevitable in higher education. Up2U promotes technology in the classroom – no more boring classes! Engage with your fellow peers, explore the international Up2U universe and ecosystem and experience with the digital reward system. Say goodbye to the old chalkboard and enjoy the era of digital classes.
Have you noticed that keeping up the attention span of teenagers is getting more difficult? In a world where digital technology rules the world, why not benefit from it? Incorporating digital tools and services in your teaching method can result in more engaged students and helps them developing “critical thinking” and be more independent learners. Introducing value-added learning analytics and community-based digital reward system changes the learning scenario thus it becomes more adaptive to students liking.
Up2U project is building a community that can support the new trends and methods of digital teaching and learning. We provide tools and services that will help you implement digital learning scenarios in the classroom. A heterogeneous training plan is being elaborated that would be able to accommodate training teachers with different technology backgrounds. Pilot schools from various European countries will experiment with our concept and will share their lessons learned. Skills that can be acquired via these digital learning methods can drive up your enrolments with students ready for higher education.
Getting into a university can be challenging, but not dropping out can also be burdensome. We think that by providing the essential skills that a freshman might need early on his university career could prevent them from dropping out. Critical thinking, project work, advanced digital literacy are key when it comes to learning university environment. Up2U is committed to bridging the gap between higher education and research and secondary schools.
Commercial Partners (Content Providers)
Up2U community can provide a platform for commercial partners who would like to promote their products for our stakeholders.
Digital Learning is one of the key issues that the Horizon2020 programme wants to address. Up2U welcomes other EC projects that are aiming at facilitating, implementing and integrating digital learning tools and services into the learning environment. Our community embraces like-minded projects and project communities to explore and explore the possible synergies.
Governments and Decision Makers
Up2U intends to share its findings and best practices that might be collected during the project and even after, once a community is established. Our input can be implemented in future policy making procedures and our experts are willing to give their professional opinion on topics related to the project’s scope.
The Up2U ecosystem will include a series of projects that will demonstrate the application of the platform in an educational environment. These projects include case studies and the implementation of pilots in some partner countries.
These projects are extremely important in promoting the use of the platform in countries with different education systems. Schools and teachers will be able to follow what is being done in other countries and share their experiences, methodologies, knowledge and educational approaches.
The project entails the provision of educational applications, project-based and peer-to-peer learning scenarios and the facilitation of international interaction for secondary schools in Europe. Creative teachers will be placed at the core of the kick-off and briefing phase and encouraged to provide input and ideas for implementation.
Inspired by organic educational initiatives, such as Google for Education, Khan Academy, Up2U creates a flipped virtual ecosystem where pupils can learn at their own pace supported by social interactions, federated access and are able to exchange documents and other project-related multimedia content in a trusted and privacy-protected environment.
The initial phase of Up2U will focus on the adoption and customization of a learning management system with basic functionalities and standard Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) interfaces.
During the first year, the new platform is expected to create an environment for creative student projects across Europe whose results will be shared with other schools and made publicly available. Personalized learning analytics, peer reviews, community-driven digital recognition systems using Open Badges and blockchain technology will also be investigated.
Within the scope of the project will be carried out a series of pilots at European level will be carried out by the various partners involved.
The pilots intend to prove the applicability of the project on an international scale and the creation of critical mass in the use of the platform in an educational environment, as well as its importance as a tool to support teaching and learning activities.
The initial challenge is to start connecting the selected schools in the pilot countries – Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal – using existing and established networks. Subsequent phases will then see the extension of Up2U to other countries, including those GÉANT Project NRENs that have the mandate to serve secondary education in their respective countries, but are not partners in the Up2U project.
The project team will be gathering early feedback from teachers and students, following the rapid prototyping and minimum valuable product development principles. The platform will also need to be future-proof and scalable, with room for growth and development to seamlessly accommodate new schools and future commercial partnerships. Nowadays, the distance between a creative idea and a commercial product are becoming shorter and shorter, and our commercial partners and project partnerships will explore these opportunities from day one.