“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.
GoalsUp2U 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.