The conference in Krakow

The Third PUMEC-Meeting in Krakow (15th to 17th June 2011) 
Title: “The Use of New Media in Adult Education”

In June 2011 the third PUMEC-Meeting took place in Krakow.

The work-session started on Wednesday (15th of June) with an assessment of the achievements of PUMEC since our last meeting in Galway (February 2011) and the adaptation of the conference agenda to the latest information, which was brought in by the attendants.
We also agreed on the dates of the next meeting in Finland and on the topics the partners want to focus on. We then enjoyed the delicious polish cuisine in an authentic local restaurant on a gorgeous sunny summer evening.

Our conference - “The Use of New Media in Adult Education” – started on Thursday, (16th of June) at 9:15 a.m. with several guests present, who were not directly involved in the PUMEC-Project, but who use digital media daily in a range of ways by teaching various target groups.

The guiding idea behind the conference was, firstly, the presentation of the spectrum of our subject: the use of New Media in adult education – both in Poland and in the other European partner countries. This served as an introduction to the topic and the stimulation of a more thorough discussion about the extend to which those media are needed, and which problems might be involved in its application.
Secondly, the PUMEC-Project was presented in detail to the wider public. The presentation entailed the initial idea behind the project, its seven participating partners, its homepage, as well as the project’s work platform “Das Virtuelle Bildungshaus”.
After a panel of three short introductory presentations, a practical section of four parallel workshops followed.
Projects and examples of the work by the following organisations were the subjects of these sessions: ZAK, Omnia, Anniesland, Translex, VCAT, SMART Poland, Centre for E-learning of the Jagiellonian University and IB Germany.

In the course of those workshops the participants made extensive use of the opportunety to exchange their views and share their experience from their respective fields of work. At the same time the participants of the workshop run by VCAT/Smart or by Anniesland could try out tasks on their own.

In a next step, summaries of the results and especially of the main contributions in the discussions of the workshops were presented in the plenum.

Finally, in a moderated panel discussion, in which the delegates of all PUMEC-partners were present, we outlined the most important considerations and results of the conference. We also discussed the question, in how far New Media play a positive role in todays (adult) education, in which areas of education they are mostly applied and why a great number of teachers / trainers so often hesitate to use them.

Parallel to the conference, an exciting new idea by Vcat GmbH was being presented: the implemetation of PUMEC-Wiki on our project website.
All project partners were invited to give it a try by feeding this platform with their own contributions (articles), links, etc. in order to build this Wiki in a combined effort. This on-line test-run will be taken care of technically by Vcat, and a discussion about it will be on the agenda of our next meeting in Finland.

After a long, inspiring day we enjoyed a sight-seeing tour on foot and ended up in a restaurant with a view on the most prominent Polish river, the Vistula and the ancient King’s castle Wavel to enjoy an unforgettable atmospheric dinner.

During the morning of our final day, (Friday, the 17th) the discussion continued on the subject of various technologies being used by some partners.
Some of those mentioned were interesting Scottish projects, like VLE, Etochem. The topic of Windows & Android and System IOS in smart-phones was brought up. It was emphasized, that the range of recent, digital media is huge, which implies that it would be a wrong move to just concentrate on one or two of them and neglect or underestmate the importance of others!

After the wrap-up-round we agreed on the next practical steps.

As a last activity of the Krakow meeting, we went to visit a school for special-needs-students, in which advanced media are successfully used on a regular basis in their classrooms.
At the same time we were able to witness teaching with these state-of-the-art technologies in real life, while the features were explained to us. This demonstration was very convincing and we had a final discussion.  

All topics and questions, we were not able to discuss in full detail in Krakow, will of course be dealt with during our next meeting in Espoo, Finland, more thoroughly.

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