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More than 600 experts assembled at CARNet's CUC 2014 conference

CARNet's 16th Users Conference - CUC 2014 was held from 19 to 21 November 2014 in Hotel Antunović in Zagreb under the title "Fasten your connection, we're taking off". The conference was organised by the Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNet, under auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Ivo Josipović, and the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports and the support of the City of Zagreb. More than 620 participants attended the conference, making it the largest CARNet Users Conference so far. The lectures were partly available to those not attending the conference via a video stream at the CARNet Media on Demand Portal.

The participants could connect during the conference to listen to an eventful programme that consisted of three keynote lectures, 26 workshops, more than 40 reviewed works, debates on the topic of "Does using technology in classes achieve better results, enables easier acquisition of knowledge and encourage creativity?", two round table discussions "How to use technology in classes if it is not envisaged in pedagogical standards?" and "Do we need open data?" and 4 Birds of Feather (BoF) events: "CMS for schools", "e-Class Register: development and upgrades" "What is (not) a digital textbook?" and "What to do with tablets in classes?". The programme was enriched by an EU arena, a Web festival competition called "Learning is a game" and the competition "Make the right MOVE".

The main programme of the conference was divided in 7 thematic parts: New e-Worlds, Towards a Synergy of Projects, e-Responsibility, Connected World / (Dis)Connected Society, New technologies - New Methodologies, e-Maturity of Educational Institutions and Moving Beyond the Limits. The sys.trek, a part of the programme aimed at system engineers from CARNet member institutions, is a special programme unit that offered 17 presentations and 3 workshops this year.

Continuing the well-established tradition, CUC again provided its participants with the unique chance of attending the lectures of some of the most prominent experts in the field of IT technologies, education and science. The conference was opened by a lecture by Ivica Puljak Ph.D. from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Split, and he presented the conference participants some of the open questions that modern science cannot answer yet. What is the universe made of? How does a fertilized egg become a human being? How does the brain produce consciousness? Is time an illusion? How does the placebo effect work? Questions such as these are a very productive field of research.

At the closing of the conference, Dejan Vinković Ph.D., the director of the Institute of synergy of science and society and professor of astrophysics at the Faculty of Science of the University in Split, held a lecture explaining life in the era of the "fourth paradigm". In recent years, the new, fourth paradigm "e-science" or science of large amounts of data has grown more important, and it includes all the previous three paradigms combined. The last lecture was held by Mr. Wouter van Tol, the director of the corporate citizenship of Samsung Electronics for Europe. The topic of his lecture was how to prepare the youth for a future in which big and fast changes will occur, and for jobs that do not exist yet.

The Web festival was held as part of the conference. The Web festival competition rewards the best authors of Internet materials for the fifteenth year in a row. This year, the topic was educational interactive online games. The panel of judges of the Web festival declared the winners among 14 received applications (9 in the Junior category and 5 in the Cadet category). "MatOS" by Tomislav and Dora Jakopec was awarded the best game in the Junior category. "Catching numbers" by Aleksandra-Maria Vuković was awarded the best game in the Cadet category. The panel of judges gave an honourable mention to the "E-safety" interactive game, created by a group of authors.

There were several supporting events during the CUC 2014 Conference. A special series of lecture was held as part of the eSkills initiative, the EU arena presented European projects in the field of technology in education with the goal of connecting various European projects and initiatives, and within the conference, the first educational TweetUP in the Republic of Croatia was held - #CUCeduUP.

The best paper presented at the Conference as selected by the international Programmes Committee is the paper with the title "Visual programming languages in high education", authored by a group of authors from the Faculty of Science in Split: Divna Krpan, Saša Mladenović and Goran Zaharija. The best presentation held at this year's conference as chosen by the participants themselves was "Internet safety of children - development of school curricula", authored by Lidija Kralj, Veliki Bukovec Elementary school, Vesna Lončar-Cindrić, Mato Lovrak Elementary school in Nova Gradiška; Zehre Delić, Mladost Elementary school, Osijek; Darko Rakić, Popovača Elementary school and Davor Šimić, Elementary school Gripe in Split.

G. Goran Jarčov from the First elementary school in Bjelovar received the award for the most regular participant of the conference. All participants that registered for more than 75 % of the lectures qualified for this award.

For the first time, a prize game of associations was organised for all conference participants. During the conference, participants were given associations that led them to the final solution. The winner of the prize game was Mrs. Barbara Bedenik.

Within sys.trek, a sys.trek competition was held again this year. The participants were to complete a prize task that consisted of several steps, and the winner was Mr. Domagoj Vuković from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Osijek.

The official language of the conference was Croatian, and the lectures of the foreign lecturers were presented in English.

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