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Encouraging better global citizenship education in rural areas through engaging online materials

Read the Rural GCE project's first newsletter !


Rural GCE project will encourage people to become active citizens in their local communities , First Press Release

On the 1st of December 2020 a new Erasmus+ project launched with the ambition to motivate people to become active citizens of their communities and to build on the existing teaching practices, improve the related tools and approaches. The Training Material for Global Citizenship Education (GCE) in Rural Areas project will combine the know-how and expertise of organizations from 6 European countries – the UK, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain and the Netherlands.

The project aims to: provide better opportunities and materials to the educators that are implementing activities in this field of education in rural areas; contribute towards an easier approach and reach of the process of citizens participation, specifically in rural areas within Europe.

There are several issues that the project will try to tackle. There are countless teaching materials, but most of them have not been contextualized and updated, and of course not tailored to the rural environment. On the other hand, there is little knowledge of the cultural and rural reality of the migrant populations, their resources and potential, their socioeconomic aspects and the factors that determine them. There is limited access to positive educational materials supporting creativity and critical thinking.

You can follow the progress of the project on our media channels:


Kick off Meeting of our project entitled Rural GCE Training Material for GCE in rural areas

University of Thessaly participated in the online kick-off meeting on the 17th of February. We have met new and old partners and are more than keen to start working on this project. During the first meeting, partners presented their organizations, overviewed the project’s aims and objectives, analyzed in detail their responsibilities and shared their expertise and views on the next steps during the following months. We would like to thank our coordinator CIVIC (the UK) as well as the rest of the partners for this productive and very promising meeting.


Learning games for digital entrepreneurship

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and in particular the Creative Technologies Learning Lab (http://ctll.e-ce.uth.gr), implements digital learning games aimed at secondary school students and aimed at developing digital entrepreneurship skills that young people need to be active in the labour market regardless of the economic sector.
According to the European Commission communication "Education Review: Investing in Skills for Better Socio-Economic Outcomes" (2012), in today's digital, evolving economy young people need entrepreneurial and digital skills to act creatively, to develop professionally, and to contribute to growth and prosperity. According to Eurostat (2019) 51% of young people in Greece have basic or above basic overall digital skills. This percentage can be improved as digital skills are essential in all sectors of economic activity while their demand in the labour market will continue to increase.
The Creative Technologies Learning Lab develops a digital educational game that encourages innovative and entrepreneurial thinking through learning games, exploration, and experimentation. The game introduces a pedagogical approach based on problem solving for the development of digital and entrepreneurship skills with wide applications. The digital platform exposes students to complex interdisciplinary activities that foster the development of critical and analytical thinking. Students undertake the role of a business manager that is challenged to grow her company through sound management of resources and by addressing the competition. At the same time, the project builds a network of schools to exchange good practices on developing digital and entrepreneurship skills among both students and teachers.
The learning intervention is developed in the context of project TEAMSTAR: Enhancing enTreprenEuriAl steM Skills for new digiTal cAreRs (https://www.teamstarproject.eu/) that is funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Commission and is implemented from 2020 to 2022. The TEAMSTAR project consortium includes partners from Greece, Latvia, Bulgaria, and Italy.


Experiential vocational training through digital escape rooms

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Thessaly, and in particular the informal Creative Technologies Learning Lab (https://ctll.e-ce.uth.gr), designs innovative digital experiential learning activities for vocational training. The activities prepare trainers to address emerging learning design challenges in today's ever evolving professional environment that introduces the need for lifelong learning aiming at the continuous renewal of professionals' qualifications in a way that enhances their future employment prospects.

The proposed learning intervention implements innovative skill development practices based on digital escape rooms. The method offers learning benefits through active learning, interaction, and enhancing the internal motivation of professionals to participate in educational processes that contribute to the building of basic knowledge and soft skills, such as problem solving, communication, and critical thinking, and enhance their professional profile thus broadening their employment choices. As part of the learning intervention, educational content aimed at teachers is also developed aiming at enhancing their skills in the practical application of digital escape rooms in learning processes as well as in the creation of their own related activities.

The learning intervention is carried out within the framework of the research project ELMET: Experimental Learning Methodologies addressing Vulnerable Employed and

Employed People (http://elmetproject.eu) funded by the European Commission's Erasmus+ programme and implemented from 2020 to 2022. In addition to the University of Thessaly, educational organizations from Spain, Cyprus, and Bulgaria participate in the research project.


STEM for all through digital technology

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Thessaly (DECE), and in particular the informal Creative Technologies Learning Lab (https://ctll.e-ce.uth.gr), participates in the design of learning actions that target adults and aim at developing knowledge and skills on science, technology, and mathematics (STEM).

STEM contributes to the understanding of our surrounding world, innovative thinking, and the ability to solve problems that concern both industry and society at large. The importance of STEM in a person's development is recognised by the international PISA survey carried out every 2 years that records the relevant student performance. Many learning interventions aim to develop STEM skills as well as analytical and critical thinking among young students. However, similar activity aimed at adults and targeting the development of STEM skills is limited. Reasons include the difficulty of approaching this group, the perception that STEM is not related to everyday life, and less familiarity with digital technology.

The STEAMPEOPLE (http://steampeople.eu) research project has developed a number of digital educational activities that aim to improve STEM knowledge among adults. The activities are designed to address the interests of this group, to be linked to everyday life, and to be feasible to implement thus developing knowledge as well as self-confidence on problem-solving. Activities can be accessed through a digital platform, which is in pilot use, and can be implemented both on a computer and on mobile devices (https://virtual-campus.eu/steam/).

In addition to the University of Thessaly, educational and research organisations from Spain, Portugal, Turkey, and Estonia participate in the research project. The project is funded by the European Commission's Erasmus+ programme and is expected to be completed in September 2021.



Web Conference AgriTexSil Successfully Completed

On Monday, January 25, 2021, the web conference AGRITEXSIL was successfully completed as part of the research project "AgriTexSil".



Tailoring Pseudomonas putida for optimal functioning in industrial biocatalysis

OMIC Webinars: Tailoring Pseudomonas putida for optimal functioning in industrial biocatalysis
OMIC-Engine, the National Research Infrastructure on Synthetic Biology, coordinated by the University of Thessaly, dives into the world of Metabolic Engineering.
In our second Webinar, titled “Tailoring Pseudomonas putida for optimal functioning in industrial biocatalysis”, held on Thursday 28th of November 2020, OMIC-Engine welcomes Christos Batianis, PhD candidate at the Laboratory of Systems and Synthetic Biology of the Wageningen University.



Problem-based learning in Europe and Asia

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Thessaly (TMY), and in particular the informal Creative Technologies Learning Lab (http://ctll.e-ce.uth.gr), develops active learning interventions that deploy problem-solving methodologies and digital technologies in engineering higher education.
The problem-based approach to learning promotes the development of knowledge and skills through the introduction of solutions to complex problems that are usually inspired by real life. The method offers significant learning advantages. It contributes to the development of fundamental field knowledge as well as soft skills such as critical, analytical, and entrepreneurial thinking and collaboration capacity. Through industry-inspired challenges, it links learning with the world of work facilitating the transition of students from academia to the professional environment and building their ability to transfer new knowledge to real-world design and development processes. Finally, it contributes to the modernisation of higher education through innovative educational design and a transition to the digital era.
Despite the advantages, problem-based learning is not adequately implemented. Reasons that discourage its use include the lack of physical facilities, such as laboratories, lack of access to open educational digital applications and simulations that contribute to exploration and experimentation, and the need to build educators skills in emerging learning methodologies supported by digital technology.
The research project ALIEN: Active Learning in Engineering Education (http://projectalien.eu) aims at the exchange of know-how between 17 universities in Europe and Asia towards developing the capacity of engineering departments in the practical application of problem-centred approaches to learning. The project involves universities from Greece, Portugal, Estonia, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Vietnam, Nepal, Pakistan, and Cambodia.

ALIEN has developed laboratories at 12 universities in Asia that support problem-based learning processes through appropriate digital equipment and a setup that encourages experimentation and contributes to collaboration. In addition, the ALIEN project has developed a digital repository of problem-based learning activities that deploy digital applications, learning games, and simulations. The activities, which apply to polytechnic courses, promote the active engagement of students in learning and increase interaction in the classroom. The repository, which is constantly being enriched, already offers over 200 problems and encourages the reuse of learning content and the creation of new activities from existing ones. Educators can directly use the suggested challenges in their classrooms. They can further be inspired by them for synthesizing new activities or adapt them to the needs of their students. The ALIEN infrastructure is used in real learning scenarios at the 17 participating universities. The goal is its broad deployment in at least 170 courses with the participation of over 1.500 students and 500 educators. Finally, the project promotes the active exchange of good practices in problem-based learning through a series of digital seminars with international participation as well as local events.

The ALIEN project is funded by the Erasmus + Capacity Building in Higher Education program of the European Commission and is implemented from 2017 to 2021.


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