Up2U supports digital education in K12 and beyond

Words: Gytis Cibulskis (KTU), Mary Grammatikou (NTUA), Barbara Tóth (KIFÜ)

The 41-month-long Up to University (Up2U) project finished this May, but hopefully the results and outputs of this project will live on. Up2U was coordinated by GÉANT and the consortium that consisted of NRENs, universities and private companies was working towards closing or
eliminating the digital gap between secondary and higher education. The project envisioned a learning platform, namely the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE)-Up2Universe, a set of tools to enhance the digital maturity of high school students. Besides providing Up2Universe, the project elaborated a Continuous Professional Development programme for secondary school teachers, to help them master the use of the toolset and incorporate the pedagogical scenarios in their upgraded classrooms.

Getting students ready for university

University as a Hub (U-Hub) has been one of Up2U’s central initiatives to expand students’ opportunities to engage with challenging content beyond the classroom once the school day is over. In Greece for example, the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering from NTUA made available two undergraduate courses (Network Management and Queuing Systems) and one postgraduate course (Stochastic
Processes and Optimization in Machine Learning) as part of this initiative. Despite the fact that these courses are mostly focused on university students, high school students can also comprehend the basic aspects of these topics. These lectures can help students to understand how the Internet works and how they can use some services like Jupyter Notebooks (or SWAN) for basic data analysis. The lectures’ content (video, audio and accompanying screens) is synchronized and provided by SeLCont (Synchronized e-Learning Content), which is also a service provided by the Up2Universe. University levelling courses on Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Informatics opened for graduate students in Lithuanian is another example of U-HUB. Kaunas University of Technology invited high-school students
to learn those basic subjects from best university teachers and to make sure they are ready for studies at university.

Lockdown, not shutdown: our NGDLE is open for all European educational institutions and schools!

In the period of COVID-19, education needs support and improvement based on advanced digital technologies, in order to continue the real work in academic and school communities on an international level. The openUp2U portfolio provides the tools to revolutionize the teaching method and motivates students to benefit from the latest technology. openUp2U is based on a Next Generation Digital Learning
Environment (NGDLE) that integrates the formal and informal learning spaces for secondary schools and academic communities who wish to develop and enhance their teaching and learning skills as it should be to the university standards.

The advantage of openUp2U is that it provides an integrated environment consisting of four tools in order to make it possible for its users to create their courses, store their content and also attend and participate in the online courses remotely. Students and teachers/professors will be able to create (Moodle), share & collaborate (SWAN/Jupyter Notebooks), attend (eduMEET) and store (Cernbox) the digital multimedia content produced in an international level.

openUp2U is building a community that can support the new trends and methods of digital teaching and learning. In openUp2U we have created the aforementioned selected number of tools and services that can support high schools, universities, teachers, and students to improve their teaching and learning practices in a safe and secure environment. These tools allow greater ease of communication inside
and outside of the classroom, improving interactions and providing new ways to access knowledge in the digital age.

The innovation action leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 732049 – Up2U.