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17th CARNet Users Conference


The 17th CARNet Users Conference - CUC 2015 was held in Dubrovnik from 18 to 20 November 2015, under the title "New-Schools". The conference was organised by the Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNet and sponsored by the President of the Republic of Croatia Ms. Kolinda Grabar Kitarović and the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, with the support of the City of Dubrovnik. Attended by more than 820 participants, it was the biggest CARNet Users Conference organised so far and a part of its contents was made available to those who had not attended it via video transmission on CARNet’s new Meduza portal.

During the conference, the participants could connect by listening to an extensive program composed of six keynote lectures, 23 workshops, more than 30 papers, 13 sponsor presentations and two round tables.

The programme was enriched with 10 workshops and presentations of the e-Schools projects, six events and workshops of the Scientix and ISE projects, the final event of the AMORES project, the Webfestival competition for the best personal and professional personal website and numerous prize games and competitions organised by CARNet and the sponsors.

The main programme of the conference was divided into five subject units: "Class without Borders", "e-World in Teaching", "Internet around Us", "Change Management in e-Schools" and "Is Privacy Disappearing in the Digital Age?". A special programme unit was sys.trek, the part of the programme dedicated to system engineers from CARNet member institutions, which featured 16 presentations and one workshop this year.

This year, in keeping with the tradition, the CUC provided its participants with the opportunity to listen to some of the most distinguished experts in the field of information and communication technology, education and science. The opening plenary speech of the conference was held by Dr. Kyle L. Peck, Professor at the College of Education at Penn State University in the USA, under the title "The Perfect Storm: How Technologies and Trends are Reinventing the Future of Education". It was followed by an excellent lecture delivered by Boris Jokić, Ph.D. on the subject of the implementation of a comprehensive curricular reform in the Republic of Croatia, which sparked great interest amongst the conference participants, especially amongst primary- and secondary-school teachers, professors and principals.

The second day of the conference featured the technological keynote lectures of Mr. Branko Radojević from CARNet, on the subject of cloud computing, and Mr. Igor Rajić from the Oracle Croatia company, under the title "Internet of Things". The educational topics were covered by Mr. Joe Sheik, a school principal from Ontario, Canada, who presented the visions for the future of global education. The conference was closed on Friday with a plenary speech on the subject of learning analytics, held by Professor Dragan Gašević from the University of Edinburgh.

The CUC 2015 conference was accompanied by the presentation of several EU of projects of CARNet and its partners, of which the most important one is "e-Schools: Establishing a System for Developing Digitally Mature Schools (Pilot Project)". The activities on this project were presented throughout all three days of the conference, while the main presentation of the project and the signing of contracts with the schools involved in the pilot project took place on Thursday, in the presence of the Minister of Science, Education and Sports Professor Vedran Mornar, Ph.D.

The Webfestival was also held as part of the conference. For the sixteenth year in a row, the Webfestival competition has rewarded the best web content authors. This year, the subject of the competition was personal and professional personal websites in education. The competition’s panel of judges decided on the best amongst the 34 personal websites registered for the competition and declared the personal website of Goran Šurina as the best personal website in the category "Personal Websites in Education", while the website of Zvonimir Pavlek was declared a winner in the category "Professional Personal Websites".

The paper entitled "Application of Information and Communication Technology in Primary and Secondary Schools in the Republic of Croatia" by a group of authors from the University of Zagreb and the Zagreb Technical Polytechnic - Tea Pović (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing), Katarina Veleglavac (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing), Mia Čarapina (Zagreb Technical Polytechnic), Tomislav Jagušt (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing) and Ivica Botički (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing) – was declared the best paper of the conference by the International Programme Committee. The presentation entitled "Tackling Challenges in Working with New Technologies – iLab in the First Four Grades of Vežica Primary School" by Ksenija Laleta-Puž and Vedran Gergorić from the Vežica Primary School in Rijeka was declared the best presentation of this year's conference by its participants.

As part of the conference, CARNet also presented two new services. The first one is Libar, CARNet's new online application and services for the creation, publication and viewing of digital content, accessible via the user account. It is also a mobile application with all the functionalities of an e-reader. The conference participants were given the task of making their own e-book during the conference and the book by Nastja Srok from the Viktor Car Emin Primary School in Lovran entitled "In Search of a Book" was declared best out of 17 submitted works.

The second presented service is Meduza. The Meduza is a service for the distribution of multimedia content intended for educational and academic institutions and individual users of the CARNet member institutions. Meduza is the Croatian acronym for M(ultimedijalna)EDU(kacija)(na)ZA(htjev) ('multimedia education at request') and during the CUC, it was used to stream lectures, workshops and other events from the conference. In the three days of the conference's duration, the service registered 7,169 content views, 1,217 single users and 654 simultaneous users, while as much as 300 users registered for it. The users were mostly from the Republic of Croatia, but the CUC streams were also viewed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Israel, Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany and the distant South Korea.

The award for the most regular participant of the conference, for which all participants registered for more than 75 % of the lectures were eligible, was won by Ms. Božica Ruk.

A prize word association game was also organised for all the participants of the conference. During the conference, the participants were presented with word associations, which were clues for the final solution. The winner of the word association game was Mr. Dario Garbin from the Vladimir Gortan Primary School in Žminj.

This year as well, sys.trek featured the sys.trek competition. The competitors had to solve a prize problem which consisted of several steps and the winner was Mr. Stanko Kružić, a system engineer from the University of Split.

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

The CARNet Users Conference - CUC has become an integral part of the national project entitled "e-Schools: Establishing a System for Developing Digitally Mature Schools (Pilot Project)", co-financed by the European Union from the European Structural and Investment Funds. The project coordinator is the Croatian Academic and Research Network - CARNet.

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