Seven schools from five European countries recently came together in Zagreb to provide a group of teachers and headmasters with advanced training in digital map making. It’s part of a program called HERE Map Makers, which is set to educate and inspire a new generation of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) students.
Erasmus+ is a European Union sponsored program designed to inspire and propel students via a robust education exchange between countries. More recently, the project has been expanded to introduce modern technology and methodology from the business sector into the EU educational system.
The Erasmus+ program benefits schools like High School Ivanec, a secondary school of roughly 500 students in Northern Croatia. The school offers students multiple STEM related courses of study. Principal Lidija Kozina, with the help of the European Union, is leading the way in developing classes on subjects such as mobile application development, statistics, experimental physics, and more recently: digital cartography.
The creation of these new courses sparked deep interest and enthusiasm with the school’s students, which earned a mention in the local press. Our HERE office in Zagreb heard of Ms. Kozina’s project and got in touch to see how HERE could assist.
Shortly thereafter, Tomica Visinski, Data Acquisition and Community Analyst at HERE, visited High School Ivanec and delivered an introductory class on the ins and outs of how HERE Map Creator works, and the impact of community mapping.
As it turned out, this was only the beginning.
“In conversation with Tomica, we thought it would be a really good idea for some further steps, to develop something more practical for students. In our digital cartography classes, we had some theory, and a little bit of practice for our students. We wanted to develop this more, in order to be in touch with the market, and the technology in the market – and that’s how this all started,” said Ms. Kozina.
In short order, a plan was devised to provide teachers and students with free education and practical sessions about HERE Map Creator, along with full access to the application. Students and teachers alike were eager to adopt new technology as part of their classroom. This effort would extend not just to one classroom, but multiple schools across several countries – a truly transnational effort.
The program is called HERE Map Makers.
The European Union has approved HERE Map Makers to be part of the Erasmus+ program. We’re extremely proud to provide the project with our full support, alongside the funding from the EU that will enable students to take part. 70 Students from seven schools and five countries, Croatia, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia have been selected to be part of the program.
In a recent “Teach the Teachers” event, all seven schools sent educators to Zagreb for the first transnational meeting. Teachers were provided a week-long training into HERE Map Creator, and the technologies involved in the creation of digital maps.
When the teachers return to their classrooms, students will have opportunities to take on projects where they create their own maps. These maps can have historical context, or can be aimed at creating better tourist experiences. Each school will have the chance to determine what areas of location data are most pertinent to them, and apply technology to help students examine those areas further.
Next step, HERE Map Makers Summer Camp.
In the summer of 2018, 42 students from 5 countries will be selected to come to Zagreb and experience a week-long course in digital cartography and geographic mapping technology. These students will be provided the chance to travel internationally, participate in group learning across languages & culture, and experience advanced map making with modern digital tools.
The European Union support will sustain the program for the next 20 months, and we look forward to seeing what these students will take with them as they move forward in their careers.
We’re very proud to take part in helping young people further develop their interest in STEM. It’s a privilege to provide access to the technology and business experience they’ll need to pursue further education and careers in engineering and technology. Said Ms. Kozina in closing:
“… it’s a very good trend, and I believe this STEM field is of special importance for students’ intellectual development. I believe this will contribute for all of our students to pursue education in STEM or ICT fields.”