Open Discovery Space

2nd Newsletter

Welcome to the 2nd issue of the Open Discovery Space Newsletter, bringing you the latest news and feature of the project as we bring you up to speed with the cutting edge developments of Europe’s largest eLearning project, uniting partners from across national contexts in a pan-European eLearning revolution.

ODS addresses the challenge of modernising school education by engaging teachers, students, parents and policymakers in a first of its kind effort to create a pan-European eLearning environment to promote more flexible and creative ways of learning by improving the way educational content is produced, accessed and used.Open Discovery Space creates a multi-lingual, community-oriented social platform that will encourage teachers, students and parents to discover, discuss, share, shape and acquire Europe’s rich array of teaching, learning and research material.

For more information on ODS, PLAY the video below!

2013 06 20 Open Discovery Space

ODS Open Day

Teachers of all subjects and levels, educational professionals, policy makers and repository contributors were invited to attend the ODS Opening Day event: “Open Digital Resources in Education & School Innovation” workshop seminar, hosted by the Open Discovery Space European initiative. The event took place in Ellinogermaniki Agogi in Attica Greece, on Thursday June 20th.

The ODS Portal launch was the major point of interest at the Open Day. The Portal provides users with various ways of discovering learning resources and empowers them to contribute to Open Discovery Space, while making available more services to support the educational scenarios and the communities. In this context, specific components are also available that may be used by non-expert users in order to deploy lightweight, community versions of portal services (MyDiscoverySpace) being connected with the ODS content and the social infrastructure. The development of 37 on-line communities to the beta version of the portal was supported by the Open Day. 40 educational objects were uploaded on the portal and 16 educational template scenarios have been uploaded in the community of teachers interested in cross-curricular approaches and competence-based learning.

Talks on a range of relevant issues, such as European E-Learning Policies, the role of e-learning in the Opening up Education agenda, the development of multilingual educational social media and what ODS can offer to a school, were discussed and then followed by presentations of innovative teaching practices involving e-learning sources, as well as a two-hour workshop on how to use the available resources on ODS, how to create a school e-library on ODS and how to build an ODS community of teachers and schools.

The full program can be accessed here.

ODS Summer School 2013

The 2013 Open Discovery Space (ODS) summer school took place from the 30th of June to the 5th of July 2013in sunlit Heraklion, Crete-Greece. The main crux of the summer school was to support and aid the digital skills of teachers to help them develop and revolutionise the structure of their teaching patterns, whilst also supporting the development of European school's digital culture on a holistic scale. The event discussed how the use of disruptive digital resources would be applied to a multiplicity of curriculum subjects including language studies, science, maths, social studies and art in order to transform the structural fabric of how these subjects are taught. The summer school also focused on developing the student's competencies, for example their ability to map flexible and resourceful solutions to complex or unpredictable problems thereby strengthening their critical and analytical cognitive thinking.

One central activity during the summer school was getting participants to modify templates according to their discipline and the needs of their students. Some of the templates available for modification promoting project based teaching and student centred learning included one entitled 'Guided Research Model' and one called 'Linguistic Based teaching.' The summer school consisted of a series of presentations and hands on workshops. The workshops were held in multimedia labs where each individual had access to a PC and carried out planned exercises. Moreover, visiting informal sites such as The National History Museum of Crete, The Knossos Archaeological Site, The Herakleion Archaeological Museum and the Skinakas Observatory, in order for attendees to be introduced to innovative ways to fuse creative links between schools, research centres and museums as informal learning settings.

For more information please visit the official website here.

The ODS Creative Facilitation Lab in Crete

An ODS Creative Facilitation Lab was organised on June 30th, as part of the Green Ideas 2013 interactive event. The whole event was organised and facilitated by Agro-Know Technologies and hosted by the Natural History Museum of Crete, at Herakleion, Crete. The aim of the Creative Facilitation Lab was to train ODS National Coordinators on how to organize creativity events. The first part of the training at Green Ideas 2013 followed a format of designing and prototyping and gave the opportunity for participants to experience an actual creativity event, before they learn't how to run their own.

Green Ideas 2013 was held in Crete Greece from the 28th to the 30th of June 2013. For more information, please visit the official website or the wiki page.

The Joy of Learning – Enhancing Learning Experience Improving Learning Quality

With over 200 contributions submitted for the Call, and renowned keynote speakersrepresenting during the EDEN 2013 Annual Conference, the great event attracted a wide range of e-learning stakeholders (researchers, practitioners and decision makers) who gathered to share progressive concepts, inventive solutions, and promote joint-thinking and collaboration. The conference, entitled “The Joy of Learning – Enhancing Learning Experience Improving Learning Quality“, held in Oslo on 12-15 June, provided great visibility to the ODS project by giving space to both a paper presentation and a 90 minute workshop in the frame of the its programme.

The EDEN 2013 Conference discovered and presented the latest best practices in the field of E-learning, open and distance education, shared progressive concepts, inventive solutions, and promoted joint-thinking and collaboration.

May 2013 - a Great Dissemination Month for ODS!

Open Discovery Space held a workshop, a keynote speech and 2 paper presentations at theLearning Innovations and Quality (LINQ) 2013conference on the 16th and 17th of May 2013 in Rome, Italy. A variety of prominent figures important to the fields of technology-enhanced learning, open educational resources, and vocational education in Europe and worldwide had come together to discuss the future of digital resources.

ODS was disseminated at the ‘Open Software, Open Education’ conference' on the 17th of May 2013 to regional government in Spain and NGO educational institutions. The audience addressed included the Education Technology Platform of The Community of Madrid and the Alia2 Foundation.

Similarly, ODS was presented on the 11th of May 2013 to an audience of teachers, as part of the ICT in Education conference. The main objective of the conference was for educators to share their practices on how technology could be integrated into education. The event took place in Thurles, Ireland.

ODS was also present at a variety of events in Germany, Switzerland and Greece.

Open Education and Open Research: ICORE’s July Virtual Meetings

The International Council for Open Research and Education (ICORE) held two virtual open meetings last month, both on July 30th 2013. The two sessions, with an eight hour interval to encourage worldwide involvement, regardless of participants' time zones, discussed in greater detail the practice of open research & open education, including ICORE’s work collecting case studies for digital resources repositories, what ICORE’s basic principles are and projected goals are, and a proposal for a joint report on the importance of open research and education. Interest in these sessions was particularly high, and with more than 70 participants taking part both meetings were at full capacity.

ICORE met - for the first time - last March in Rome (Italy) with relevant stakeholders, to discuss the non profit organisation’s establishment and its primary future objectives for open research and open education. The meeting was a success, engaging over 40 participants from more than 12 countries, making the event a great cross border opportunity for actor interaction and exchange of expertise. The attendees were from a multiplicity of sectors including computer science, information management, language learning, physics and literature, and gathered to discuss technology enhanced learning and the steps proposed for making research in the educational sector open and inclusive on an international level.

These events are of importance to ODS, as they focused on the innovative association for the interconnection of open research and open education in the hopes of making knowledge more accessible, improve teaching and ameliorate learning performance.

Synergy Workshop 2013

Saturday, Oct. 19th, 12pm to Monday, Oct. 21st, 6pm

Műegyetem rakpart

Budapest, Budapest

Open Discovery Space teamed up with 3 other, highly reputable, European projects to organise a special event in Budapest on 19-21 October 2013 at the EDEN Synergy Workshop - Transnational Learning Forum for Exchanging Practices and Ideas. The aim of the Workshop is to facilitate the collective development of new, feasible ideas and plans, the creation and strengthening of partnerships and to induce collaborations by engaging the conference participants in highly interactive and practical working group activities. As ODS aims to support teachers and trainers, parents and policy makers by seizing opportunities in using e-learning tools end methods in schools, a special strand is offered on 21 October by the University of Vienna & BG & BRG Schwechat school. During this part of the programme, experts will give theoretical and hands-on introduction on using e-learning tools and methodology in teaching natural sciences and foreign languages.

Participants will have the chance to use the lessons learned on site in practice. This event is in English, free of charge. Registration is required. To maximise their benefits, participants are encouraged to bring to the Workshop their own relevant projects/initiatives and discover basic points of synergy (meaning overlapping areas of activity and targeted goals and objectives) with others.

EU Committee gives backing to e-Learning

The EU High Level Group on the modernisation of higher education in Europe has published its first report, which claims graduates can be “set on the path to success” with an education that “incorporates technology in learning”. The group, which is chaired by Mary McAleese, former President of the Republic of Ireland, argues “technology is increasingly offering us the possibility of the virtual faculty, the virtual college… which scours the world for the very best teachers and makes them available online to students globally.” The report welcomes the opportunities this presents for education in Europe, by increasing student expectations and integrating ICT to “enhance ‘traditional’ ways of delivering education.” For teachers, there is a note of caution, that new technologies will not only drive forward new and innovative learning methods, but increase standards too, urging that “Poor teachers beware!”.

The report makes 16 initial recommendations, including that higher education institutions should offer greater support to teachers to develop the “skills for online and other forms of teaching and learning opened up by the digital era.” The eight member panel includes leading experts from the fields of politics, technology and education from across Europe. It’s next report, due to be published in June 2014 has promised to examine in closer detail “new modes of delivering quality higher education” including online learning and e-resources to augment the traditional classroom experience.

This latest report is of particular interest to Open Discovery Space, as it highlights the rapid changes in how education is being practiced across the EU, and the commitment of leading experts and policy makers to embrace the opportunities new technologies provide to improve education and develop new and innovative tools for learning.

For more information please see the original article here or read the group’s full report online.

Online Educa 2013

Wednesday, Dec. 4th, 9pm to Friday, Dec. 6th, 6pm

2 Budapester Straße

Berlin, Berlin

Online Educa Berlin is the largest global conference on technology supported learning and training for the corporate, education and public service sectors. Now in its 19th year, the conference will bring together over 400 speakers and more than 2000 participants from over 100 countries. In this environment which promotes international networking for all sectors Online Educa Berlin is the event for learning professionals to discover innovative solutions, absorb new thinking and bring home ideas in order to take action, implementing change in the field of technology and learning.

For more information on the upcoming conference please visit the official website.

eLearning updates from Europe

European e-Learning has fast developed from a young and ambitious challenger to conventional learning methodologies, to something that plays an essential role in the education of millions of students across the continent. e-Learning in Europe continues to grow, with revenues for the sector set to top €6.1 billion in Europe by 2016, according to according to market researchers Ambient Insight, a growth rate of 5.8% since 2011.

The first European e-learning ‘barometer’, conducted by CrossKnowledge, found that the UK, Spain, and the Benelux nations have led the way in e-learning uptake, with nearly 40% of companies now saying that they train the majority of their employees using e-learning techniques.

In the UK in particular, where e-Learning is a more recent innovation in teaching, policy makers have promised renewed support for e-Learning in the state sector. Just this month, the British Education Secretary, Michael Gove, said the Department for Education would give teachers the freedom to use and develop new e-Learning tools as they see fit. In higher education, an area where Britain has a reputation as a world leader, even the country’s oldest and prestigious respected institutions have embraced e-Learning as a way of staying competitive. A new partnership between some of the UK’s leading universities, including St. Andrews, King’s College London and the Open University, represents a European led challenge to the dominance of the US in online education and so-called MOOCs.

Schools in Europe have been increasingly keen to embrace technology within the traditional classroom as well. In Belgium last year, the Sint-Jozef School of Commerce launched a radical new approach to classroom based learning, doing away with traditional print textbooks and instead mandating that all of its 710 students use an iPad to access course content. While the cost of a tablet device might be high, the school has introduced a new leasing system, where students can borrow an iPad for €110 a year, keeping the device after three years. Given the high cost of textbooks, which often publish new editions every year, using technology in the classroom is expected to save money for both students and the school in the long-run.

This is just a part of a wider move towards technology in the classroom though. Schools within the municipality of Odder, just south of Aarhus in Denmark, have attracted particular praise from education experts. Technology, including whiteboards and wireless networks in every classroom goes some way to explaining why Denmark consistently performs well on every measure of technical literacy. Denmark placed third in the World Economic Forum’s measure of ‘technological readiness’, according to its 2012-13 Global Competitiveness Report. Using smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices in the classroom has been welcomed as a way of introducing students to how they’ll interact with technology in the workplace later.

Looking ahead, the new academic year promises to be an exciting one for eLearning in Europe. In December, Berlin - Germany - will play host to the 19th annual Online Educa Conference, the world’s largest conference on technology in learning. With 400 speakers, and 2000 participants the conference promises to be a showcase for new technology with an audience of academics and practitioners from the corporate, education and public sectors.

Open Discovery Space Winter School 2014

Monday, Feb. 3rd 2014 at 12pm to Friday, Feb. 7th 2014 at 2pm

6 J. Kubiliaus gatvė

Vilnius, Vilnius County

WHAT: 2nd ODS Winter School (Transversal key competences for lifelong learning: Training teachers in competence based education), aiming to immerse teachers from across Europe in the process of resource based approaches via their interaction with a unique collection of open resources (linked with the associated curricula).

WHEN: 3-7 February 2014. The deadline for applications is September 17th, 2013.

WHERE: UAB Metis Baltic, J.Kubiliaus g. 6-7, 08234, Vilnius, Lithuania

WHO: The five-day ODS winter school programme is aimed at teachers interested in training to use new and freely available ICT tools which support their own needs in terms of planning, implementing and sharing pedagogical ideas.

HOW: Participation in this event is funded by the European Commission through the Comenius and Grundtvig programmes: therefore interested teachers or trainers can simply contact their relevant National Agency. The list of eligible countries (EU ones plus Turkey, Croatia, FYROM) and the contact details of the National Agencies can be found here. Also, the detailed guidelines on how to apply for a grant are displayed here. For any further information please contact our partners from Metis Baltic who are coordinating the organisation of the event (

About Open Discovery Space

Open Discovery Space: A socially-powered and multilingual open learning infrastructure to boost the adoption of eLearning resources is a European CIP-ICT-PSP funded 3 years project which started in April 2012. It consists of 51 partners across 23 countries, led by INTRASOFT International (Luxembourg): IT Solutions and Services expert group. For the full list of partners, please visit our website.