THE EVOLUTION OF E-ME DIGITAL EDUCATIONAL PLATFORM AND EXPERIENCES FROM ITS NATION-WIDE USE IN SCHOOLS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
CTI "DIOPHANTUS" (GREECE)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:Digital Educational Platform e-me (e-me.edu.gr) is a social, cloud-based, collaborative educational environment, which provides a safe digital workspace for pupils and teachers to connect, communicate, cooperate, create content, make assignments, share, and publish their work.
In 2015 we introduced e-me as a next-generation platform, a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) which we designed and developed for the Greek Ministry of Education (MoE), to provide a safe working and collaboration space for all Greek schools, teachers, and pupils. Seven years later, e-me has been greatly evolved; its functionality has been extended and it is now a mature, fully functional innovative platform, having more than 600,000 registered users (125,000 teachers and 510,000 pupils). During the covid-19 pandemic and school closure, e-me was one of the two official platforms selected by the MoE to support emergency remote teaching in primary and secondary education in Greece.
The paper presents the evolution of the “e-me” digital educational platform and our experiences from its nation-wide use as an asynchronous distance educational platform during the covid-19 pandemic.
e-me is available in three installations (editions): the official Greek one (e-me.edu.gr), a closed system provided by the MoE to all teachers and pupils via their school accounts; the "e-me for all", open to everyone, Greek edition (4all.e-me.edu.gr); and the new multilingual European edition (e-me4all.eu), launched to support collaboration among schools or Universities at the European level.
e-me grounds its pedagogical innovation on the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) model and on student-centered design principles, encouraging equal participation, socially mediated construction of knowledge, and co-creation of educational content easily redistributed among peers.
e-me supports the creation of collaboration spaces (hives) by both teachers and pupils. Hives are self-contained, social, collaborative, and regulated learning spaces, either private or public, offering shared file space, teamwork tools, and a strong communication instrument, the “wall”. e-me also supports communication and social networking among pupils and teachers; storage and exchange of files on the cloud; easy creation of interactive learning resources; assigning and monitoring of tasks; e-portfolio for keeping selected personal achievements; personal and collaborative blogs; use of OERs from digital repositories, while it further provides “tools” to support teaching and learning. Furthermore, e-me has been designed to operate as a unified digital framework, ready to host third-party apps.
During the pandemic, e-me was offered to all Greek schools as an asynchronous formal learning platform; within two months, e-me reached 400,000 users; over 120,000 hives were created, representing either formal school classes or informal collaboration spaces;10,000 hives were created by pupils, covering their need for cooperation and communication with peers during quarantine time; thousands of public hives were created to support open communities of practice. Teachers created numerous video tutorials for e-me while they became content creators, developing over 250,000 interactive learning objects with the e-me content tool. New unexpected pedagogical use of e-me tools arose as well.
Keywords: Digital Educational Platform, Personal Learning Environment, PLE, collaboration platform, Covid-19 pandemic, distance learning, e-learning.