The Schools 2.0 project awarded the "European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration"
The Schools 2.0 Project of the Croatian Academic and Research Network - CARNet was chosen as one of the three most innovative initiatives in the category of Initiative for the Education and Research of the European Prize for Innovation in Public Administration. The aim of this project is to enable high-quality and comprehensive distance learning and e-learning for an increasing number of users – both teachers and students.
The award ceremony was held on Thursday, 6th June 2013, during the Week of Innovative Regions of Europe Conference in Cork, Ireland and the project was awarded with 100,000.00 euros, to be invested in its further development.
This valuable prize was awarded by the Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, who said: "Innovations are not reserved only for business. The public administration generates half of the gross domestic product of the EU and it should also be open to changes. Today, our winners have shown that we can improve our lives and contribute to the modernisation of our economies by connecting new ideas with technology. We need more initiatives of this kind."
The contest was launched by the European Commission, and the prizes were awarded to those whose innovations improve the work of public administration and who encourage others to adopt a more modern and innovative approach to work. The European Prize for Innovation in the Public Administration was awarded to nine most innovative initiatives of the European public authorities, three in each category, on the basis of four criteria: originality of initiative and the possibility of a widespread use of the same model; economic impact of the initiative on society; relevance of initiative with respect to problems with which the society is currently confronted and the use of allocated funds according to plan. More information about the contest and the winners is available at https://goo.gl/a8N5W.
According to the rules of the contest, the prize should ensure the further development of the Schools 2.0 project. This means that the professional training of teachers involved in the project will be continued for the purpose of improving digital competence and that there will be further investments in the development of digital maturity of the schools involved in the project, as well as further work on the project-related interconnection of schools at the national and international level.
As part of the project, 26 school locations will be connected to high-speed Internet via an optical network (7 main schools with corresponding branch schools). Wireless networks (including eduroam) will be set up in these schools to enable students and teachers to access online learning materials and digital textbooks via the tablet, and use them for videoconferences and distance learning. All of these schools will also be a part of the e-Class Register project.
For the project, CARNet received just under 12 million Kuna through a public tender conducted by the Croatian Post and Electronic Communications Agency - HAKOM, which will be used not only to finance the mentioned network and videoconferencing infrastructures and connections, but also for the purchase of tablets for teachers and students, as well as any necessary teacher education aimed at improving their digital competence, specialized education for the use of technology and the planning and implementation of project-related cooperation among schools.
Schools will also be equipped with scientific learning technologies (sensors) for natural sciences - biology, chemistry, physics and ecology. The use of these sensors will encourage a collaborative and project-oriented approach to learning, considering that it is envisaged that all schools participating in the project will cooperate through various educational activities which include the use of technology in teaching. The use of sensors will incite a different and more immediate understanding of natural science subjects and nature in general and will also contribute to the digital literacy of all users.