digitalearth.eu is a European-wide movement, sharing experiences and good practice by establishing an infrastructure to identify, accredit and then promote Centres of Excellence in the use of geo-media (geoinformation/GIS) in schools. This will offer increased visibility to those organisations that achieve this status and allow innovation in learning and teaching approaches to be further encouraged and excellence rewarded.
digitalearth.eu will seek to produce an informed Community of Practice through its meetings, workshops, conferences and other events. An early focus will be the founding of a digitalearth.eu Centre. This will be both a real and virtual Centre based at the existing Austrian Centre of Excellence, digital:earth:at, which was successfully founded in 2009. A network of national and regional Centres of Expertise will form multipliers working with teachers and trainers in their own specific situations. These Centres will be accredited by European teacher associations.
A digitalearth.eu infrastructure will be developed to allow those concerned to connect and communicate. An online catalogue of materials, courses, publications, links and best practice scenarios will be produced, along with a series of core publications to keep those involved up-to-date with new ideas, technical developments and resources, but also to support those teachers who want to use geoinformation / geo-media and integrate them professionally in their classes.
digitalearth.eu will offer opportunities for those undertaking action research to publish their work through the “state of the use of geoinformation in different countries and contexts” and via a series of research papers. The project will also address issues associated with standards, in teacher training and the ongoing professional development of teachers, as well as digital Geo-media competences. It will consider issues in terms of data availability following publication of the results from the EU INSPIRE initiative in 2009-2010.
Widespread network dissemination will take place at a range of linking events with the aim of reaching as many relevant organisations as possible, by making connections with teacher associations, Ministries and European school education agencies, research academies and other relevant institutions. The public face of the network will be a Web site with core multilingual information.
The anticipated impacts of digitalearth.eu will be to significantly raise the profile of the importance of learning with digital geo-media. It will promote and encourage innovative practices and reward those organisations and individuals who display ‘excellence’.