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Xplora Newsletter Issue 8

Welcome to the eighth issue of the Xplora newsletter!
European Schoolnet and the Xplora team are pleased to announce the launch of the new and improved Xplora website. It has been updated to enhance usability and accessibility, expand functionality and boost awareness of important news items. Available in English, French and German, the new website features clearer navigation, more focused content and a cleaner user interface. Find more about the new portal in this newsletter!
Also in this issue, you can read the recent news releases about the science education community, and be aware of the upcoming events.

If you would like to be featured in our newsletter, or send us a contribution, just get in touch.

Agathe Djelalian, Xplora Web Editor

Click here to download the newsletter in pdf format.
In this issue:



European Schoolnet launches new Xplora portal
The Xplora portal has a new layout!
As far as functionality and accessibility are concerned, two main changes have been implemented:
- First, the access to each page has been extremely simplified. You can now find what you are looking for right from the front page. Every piece of content is accessible from there within a maximum of three mouse clicks.
- Second, most of the pop-up windows have been removed from the site. From now on, functionalities are featured on the same page. Once users are logged-in, they can easily navigate, view all the content and go to the member area where they can create community, participate in a forum, find or even contribute learning resources.
Read More

Xplora – DVD Knoppix: make science accessible for schools
This Knoppix version is especially mastered for Xplora and contains software applications focused on science education, as well as a number of educational materials from the Xplora repository. Equipped with a new pedagogical menu, this is a really nice tool for science teachers. As it is open source software it can be given away freely and be copied as well. The Xplora – Knoppix release 1.2 has a multilingual support – English, French, and German.
To get the DVD, click here.
You can download and read a more complete description about the DVD, with information about the educational material and some technical tips from here.


Water Filtering Ecological Device
“Water Filtering Ecological Device” is the name of a project developed by Rodica Stoian and Monica Ivancea, two 16- year-old students from Vasile Alecsandri High School in Galati, Romania with the collaboration of their biology teacher. This project, presented this year during the 8th edition of the National Environmental Designs Contest, has been awarded with the silver medal.
Read more
More about web experiments


VMD: a cost-free molecular visualization program
VMD stands for Visual Molecular Dynamics and is the name of a program which enables you to study the 3-D molcular structure of complex molecules. It is freely downloadable, but the license conditions do not permit distribution on a DVD like Xplora Knoppix.
Read more

Geonext 1.51, a dynamic geometry program
Geonext is a software which offers opportunities of visualisation that can not be realised with traditional construction tools. Benito Bua Ares, one of the Xplora teachers in Mathematics, gives you more information about this program.
Read more

Dossier on energy
This month, the dossier focuses on energy. Prepared by Karl Sarnow, this dossier features experiments, top tips and interactive resources for science teachers.
Read more

Science education resources
Recently the following items were added:
-Mineral Examination: a lab programme for grades 1-6, combining school work and a visit in a science centre.
- So...Science! Project. Evaluation questionnaire on Life Science: an evaluation questionnaire on Life Science used in the framework of the So...Science! Project (Fondazione IDIS-Città della Scienza, Naples).
- Learning for a sustainable society: Sustainable society embraces ecological, economical and social dimensions. In this paper are shared a selection of examples, questions and ideas that can be a start or an input for your work with your students. These ideas have been part of the PENCIL project.

Search for other science resources
Visit the Xplora science education library


Favourites science websites
Benito Bua Ares from Spain and Ivan De Winne from Belgium are two of the Xplora mathematics teachers. They would like to share with you some links to websites they particularly recommend.
Benito Bua Ares
Ivan De Winne

Using algorithm visualization to facilitate the teaching of algorithms
Stavros Nikou is one of the members of the Xplora teachers group. He teaches both Computer Science in secondary public schools and programming, databases, internet and multimedia in vocational schools. His article gives us an insight into the benefits of the algorithm visualization to facilitate the teaching of algorithms.
Read more

Do you want to let us know about your teaching activities? Would you like to present your favourites? We will feature them on Xplora. Contact: agathe.djelalian@eun.org


You are a physics teacher and would like to keep up-to-date with research in modern physics? CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research which is the world's largest particle physics centre, is organising a 3-day residential programme from 24-26 November 2006. Designed to provide a valuable experience, the aim of the conference is to give physics teachers new insights into contemporary particle physics. It is a great opportunity to meet colleagues from all over Europe and experience a dynamic, international environment.
Read more

SkyWatch 2007: an International Astronomy Contest
Supported by European Schoolnet and European Distance E-learning Network (EDEN), SkyWatch 2007 is an international astronomy competition organized within the framework of the DSpace project (e-Ten program of the European Commission). Participants (high-school students, teachers, researchers or amateur astronomers) are invited to design, develop and implement projects and activities with the use of the Robotic Telescopes.
Read more

eLA 2007 - The international conference on ICT for development education and training
From 28-30 May 2007, the 2nd International Conference on ICT for Development Education and Training will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, under the Patronage of the Kenyan Minister for Education, Science and Technology. Meeting the partnership needs of the Pan-African eLearning and distance education sector, the annual eLearning Africa conference is the key networking place for experts and professionals from Africa and all over the world.
Read more
Eggietalk: a project to improve communication between European primary schools pupils
Wil Boxman and Ariël Meeusen, the initiators of the European Eggiedoll website, acknowledged the same fact: having 20 different languages within the European Union is a barrier to foster communication between the 60 million schoolchildren in primary schools. That is why they decided to create Eggietalk, an online programme aimed at activating and promoting communication by translating words into icons.
Read more

First web experiment in Europe delivered to Gymnasium Iserhagen
Together with the University of Kaiserslautern, INTEL has developed a series of Remote Controlled Laboratories (RCL), which are the core of Xplora's web experiments. On 8 September 2006, one of these web experiments was shipped to the Gymasium Isernhagen in Hannover, Germany, during a ceremony with the mayor of Isernhagen, representatives from the commune and the developers.
Read more

A secondary schoolteacher at the “Hands-on science” conference in Braga
The 3rd edition of the “Hands-on Science” conference was held in Braga, Portugal, from 4 to 9 September 2006. The aim of this international conference was to participate in the improvement of Science and Technology teaching by promoting hands-on experimental practice in the classroom.
Eleni Kyriaki, one of the Xplora teachers who give classes of Science and Informatics, took part of this conference and gives her feedback in this article.
Read more

European seminar on open source and open content for learning
25 October 2006
Barcelona, Spain
The first Bazaar seminar– called ‘Hey Dude, Where’s My Data?‘ will be held in Barcelona on 25 October 2006 between 1.30 and 5 pm and will be hosted by the Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
With Web 2.0, more and more people have their documents, products, pictures and personal details stashed all over the internet. What issues does this raise for education? One can notice the rise of commercial services. With the use of free, commercial, centrally hosted, social software services growing in education, some important issues arise: who controls this data? Is there any alternative?

Second international francophone conference on bioethics
“Bioethics, universalism and globalization”

2-4 November 2006
Bucharest, Romania

The conference will focus on topics such as ethics teaching, clinical ethics, public debate and bioethics, biomedical research and development, bioethics and culture, bioethics and human rights. The conference will also host the national ethics committees of francophone countries.

Expolingua Praha 2006
10-11 November 2006
Praha, Czech Republic

This year EXPOLINGUA Praha (the 16th International Fair for Languages, Cultures, and Education) will offer visitors two exciting and very up-to date highlights. “Languages advance mobility”, will be the motto of the event underlining the importance of foreign language learning for cross border mobility. And the guest of Honour this year will be Australia, one of the favourite study abroad destinations of young Czechs.

Interactive learning environments (ILES) for arithmetic and algebra education
14 November 2006
Grenoble, France
This workshop, organised by the European Research Team on Technology Enhanced Learning in Mathematics (TELMA) of the Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence, is focused on Interactive Learning Environments (ILEs) for arithmetic and algebra.
During the workshop, studies of ILEs realized carried out by TELMA researchers will be presented together with the results of the cross-experimentation of three of them.

Expolingua Berlin 2006
17-19 November 2006
Berlin, Germany
Ján Figel', member of the European Commission, responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism, is the patron of the 19th EXPOLINGUA Berlin. EXPOLINGUA Berlin 2006 is the only international fair for languages and cultures in Germany. More than 150 exhibitors from more than 20 countries worldwide will present products and services related to foreign-language education. The fair is targeted towards all who are interested in learning or teaching a foreign language. Expolingua Berlin 2006 will offer an extensive seminar programme open to all visitors with workshops, round-table discussions and presentations. Topics will include Study and Work Experiences Abroad, Language Learning and Language Teaching.

Online Educa Berlin 2006
29 November-1 December 2006
Berlin, Germany

It is the world's largest international conference on technology supported learning and training. Meeting the networking needs of the international e-learning and distance education industry, the annual Online Educa Berlin conference is the key networking place for strategists and practitioners from all over the world. The conference is accompanied by an exhibition.

First international conference on Semantics And digital Media Technology
6-8 December 2006
Athens, Greece

The first international conference on Semantics And digital Media Technology (SAMT) targets to narrow the large disparity between the low-level descriptors that can be computed automatically from multimedia content and the richness and subjectivity of semantics in user queries and human interpretations of audiovisual media - The Semantic Gap.

Actual trends in highway and bridge engineering 2006
15-16 December 2006
Iaşi, Romania

The 2nd international symposium dedicated to 65 years from the Faculty of Civil Engineering of Iasi’s opening and occasioned by 100 years from Emeritus Professor Dimitrie Atanasiu’s birthday. The major themes are: - Accelerated Testing Methods and Techniques in Transportation Engineering - Structural and Geometric Design of Highways and Railways - Bridges Design - Highways and Bridges Construction Technologies - Maintenance, Rehabilitation and Reliability of Highways and Bridges - Construction, Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Airports - Static and Dynamic Analysis of Bridges - Long Term Monitoring of Pavement Performance - Management of Transportation Infrastructures - Mathematical Methods in Transportation Engineering.

Photo: Sophie Vandeputte

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