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ADLES Research Project: Design and Implementation of Emerging Student Learning Methodologies through Work Experience and Troubleshooting

Traditional learning methodologies, based on passive information transmission, do not develop significant transversal skills such as critical, lateral, and creative thinking, communication skills, and the ability to co-operate in small and large groups.
In addition, traditional learning methodologies, when not combined with digital technology, do not succeed in attracting the interest of today's digital literate students, meeting their emerging needs, and exploiting the benefits of technology in order to link the learning process to learning objectives by enriching learning activities, increased flexibility, and immediate feedback.
The ADLES research project, funded by the European Commission's Erasmus + program, in which the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Thessaly also participates, aims to work with teachers in secondary general and vocational education so as to design and implement emerging learning methodologies that contribute to pupils' active participation through experiential learning, project based learning, and problem-based learning. These methodologies contribute not only to the development of knowledge but also to its effective implementation in real life. The ADLES research project is developing a digital platform that offers a range of tools, including digital learning games, simulations, and communication capabilities to support active learning.
The ADLES platform enables students to explore a problem, search for information, compound possible solutions, collaborate, communicate, and develop cross-cutting skills with industry and labor market demands within a wide international community. A first version of the platform is expected to be ready for pilot use by the end of 2018.
In the research program, apart from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the University of Thessaly, organizations from Portugal, Denmark, Italy and Turkey also participate. The scientist responsible for the program on behalf of the University of Thessaly is the Emeritus Professor Ilias Houstis, while the responsible staff member is Mrs. Charikleia Tsalapatas. The group works together in the research project with Mr. Antonios Plageras, Head of Youth Advisory Station of Magnesia.
More information on the research project, which is underway from 2017 to 2019, is available on http://adles.eu/.


Acquaintance of the Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment with the people of Volos

The Department of Agriculture, Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment of the School of Agricultural Sciences, in the context of the 30th anniversary celebration of the University of Thessaly, held an informative event on Thursday May 31st, in the surrounding area of the Papastratos Seafront Complex.
The citizens of Volos got acquainted with the scientific objects the Department deals with and were informed about the marine environment.
The makeshift outdoor laboratories offered the opportunity, especially to young children, to experiment and observe marine organisms, as well as to learn about modern applications of alternative forms of farming.


Co-operation of the Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment of the University of Thessaly with the Snail Farmers Coop. of Greece

Volos 31/5/2018
Within the framework of the collaboration of the Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment of the University of Thessaly with the Snail Farmers Coop. of Greece, an information session was held at the School of Agricultural Sciences on 31/5/2018.
The briefing was conducted during the 10th semester lectures of the ‘Heliculture’ course. During the meeting the prospects and problems of the particular field were comprehensively explored by the members of the Snail Farmers Coop. of Greece.


Memorandum of Cooperation between the Municipality of Almyros and the University of Thessaly

On Friday, May 25 2018, the Memorandum of Cooperation between the Municipality of Almyros and the University of Thessaly for the creation of a Botanical Garden in the mountainous area of Othryos was signed.

The Memorandum was signed by the Rector of the University of Thessaly, Mr. Georgios Petrakos, and the Mayor of the Municipality of Almyros, Mr. Dimitris Eseridis.

The main aim is to create and operate a botanical garden in order to preserve the rare and endangered species of the local flora of the Othryos area for which an assortment and a gene bank should be created.

Concurrent objectives of its creation:
- Strengthening the agricultural entrepreneurship in the Municipality of Almyros (especially in the field of floriculture, and aromatic and medicinal plants),
- Creating a complementary attraction to the municipal grove “Kouri”, attracting more visitors of scientific communities, students, and those wishing to hold conferences.
- Strengthening the local labour market
- Promoting the municipality of Almyros, the University of Thessaly and the region in general.
For the creation of the botanical garden, municipal land of 14, 8 acres (60 stremmata) in “Tsairaki” in the area Kokkoti, was ceded to the University of Thessaly by the Municipality of Almyros for 50 years.

The Municipality of Almyros is obligated to provide the infrastructure, such as water supply, electricity, landline and road construction. The Laboratory of Floriculture and Landscape Architecture of the Department of Agriculture Crop Production and Rural Environment of the University of Thessaly is obligated to compose a comprehensive study for the spatial configuration, installation, and management of plant material, while also providing full scientific support whenever is necessary for the operation of the Botanical Garden.

The cost for the configuration, maintenance and operation of the Botanical Garden will be covered by sponsorships, national and international grants, and by itself.

As stated by both representatives, the creation of the Botanical Garden in the wider area of the Municipality of Almyros will strengthen the local economic growth, the development of alternative tourism, the education, the research, the preservation of natural heritage, while it will also refresh the cooperation between the two institutions that share the same vision and respect for man and nature.


New distinction for the TALOS Educational Robotics group of the University of Thessaly in the "Make Your Own Seismograph" competition.

The TALOS team of the University of Thessaly (Robotics, Programming and Creative Constructions for Children) once again distinguished itself in a competition co-organized by the Greek-Germanic Education Institution and the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens. The competition "Make your own seismograph" that took place for the second consecutive year under the auspices of the President of Greece, Mr Prokopios Pavlopoulos, addressed groups of students who, in collaboration with their professors, were invited to build an improvised seismograph and record the whole process in a scientifically documented presentation accompanied by photographic or other audiovisual material. The presented work was evaluated by a group of scientists and teachers and was judged according to the originality of construction, the scientific documentation, the use of multiple representational means of representation and the possibilities it provided for the development of research skills.

The ceremony during which the children and the instructors were awarded took place on Friday, April 27, 2018, at the Technopolis Amphitheater in Gazi.  The ceremony was open to the public and was attended by the President of Greece, Mr. Pavlopoulos, and by University Professors, the Director of the University Geodynamic Institute, and the Research Director of the National Observatory of Athens etc.
A total of 102 teams who participated in the competition only 8 were awarded, including the TALOS project team of the University of Thessaly! Primary and secondary students from the wider region of Volos participated in the group, which had the lowest average age in the whole competition. The children constructed the seismograph in two different ways:

• one based on the Lego Mindstorms EV3, a recording mechanism and a tripod. The difficulty of constructing in this way led to a precise division of tasks within the group. The basic idea is the use of two ultrasonic sensors, two axes (one vertical for recording distance data from the sensor and one horizontal in relation to the recording of time in seconds) and two motors for recording the oscillation and converting it into a graph with measurable values ​​........

• The second way involved the realization of an improvised geophone based on simple, "everyday" materials such as a woofer, a 500 gram fishing rod, a 50cm spring, metallic brackets, a mini jack in RCA (to connect the loudspeaker with the computer's sound card). The Audacity audio recording software (open architecture software, available for free on the Internet) was used. This resulted in a really simple, improvised system with which we were able to record the vibrations coming from the ground and by processing the sound signal to calculate the magnitude of "pseudo-earthquakes".

The whole project was conducted and recorded by the children in collaboration with their instructors and the documentation was based on interaction with specialized scientists and bibliographic research. As young scientists and researchers, they have been informed about earthquakes, measuring scales, how earthquakes are created, what is the focus, and civil protection measures. Then, the children participated in the construction of "seismographs" which they later presented. The group's immediate plans are to share the knowledge and useful experience gained by both children and educators through presenting the construction in schools, as well as creating a network of such seismographs and posting measurements on a specific site on the Internet.
The TALOS group (University of Thessaly) continuously carries out educational robotics, programming sessions and creative constructions for children at the former French Institute (G. Kartali-Rozou, Volos). For more information, you can contact talosuth@uth.gr or Mr. Giorgos Proias or Spyros Kourias at the following telephone numbers: 6974007962, 6944965406


2nd Transnational Meeting in the framework of Citizenship and Mathematics

The University of Thessaly in cooperation with the University of Sheffield (UK), the University of Bucharest (RO), the MATHEMATICUM Educational Museum (DE), the Agha Khan Foundation (PO) and the Philosophy Center for Children organize the 2nd Transnational Meeting in the framework of the Citizenship and Mathematics from 18 to 20 April 2018. The project focuses on the creation and use of pedagogical material and actions to raise awareness of the need for a re-approchement of the state of affairs between Tash and mathematical knowledge in the context of the broad reflection on educational affairs, governance and globalization in our multicultural society.

The wider goal of the project is to identify ways with which children today associate themselves with mathematics as an act of emancipation, autonomy and creativity, as well as to explore how diverse skills related to critical thinking, experimentation, exploration of ideas, problem solving, argumentation, questioning, inventing rules and expanding imagination can also contribute. At the same time, this effort focuses on contact among teachers, students, and children, considering alternative ways of educational approaches and techniques regarding the challenges school and mathematical education are facing today.
In particular, teachers, students and children become co-workers in forming an initial plan about the material and techniques to be proposed and be linked directly and / or indirectly to the formal curriculum. The period of co-designing and implementing the material and the actions will start in September 2018 and will last until April 2019. Within this timeframe, actions will take place inside and outside school. The dissemination of the formulation and implementation of these practices to colleagues (both in Greece and abroad) is one of the most important points of the project. For this reason, it is foreseen that the material of the activities will be shared and discussed through the e-twinning web-based platform, with the aim of exchanging practices and widening the reflection among teachers and educators / students and students. The project, on behalf of the University of Thessaly, is coordinated by the Department of Early Childhood Education with scientific coordinator Prof. Anna Chronakis.
e-mail: vkatsardi@civ.uth.gr


Award to Students of the Department of Veterinary Medicine

Within the framework of the 1st Panhellenic Medical Students Conference “Leukippos”, held in Alexandroupolis, the fifth year students of the Department of Veterinary Medicine
- D. Aivaliotis
- P. Doulidis
- M. Koutroumba
- D. Lianou
were awarded for the best round table (among 40 participations from the departments of Medicine, Veterinary, and Dentistry from all over the country). The subject of the round table was 'Diseases transmitted by transmitters'. The supervision of the organization and the presentations were conducted by the members of the academic staff, Mr. C. Bilinis and M. Sophia.


Professor of the University of Thessaly Dimitrios Kouretas Candidate for the Canada ARRELL FOOD INSTITUTE Award for Innovation with Social Impact.

The Professor of the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Demetrios Kouretas, is among those selected last week to be candidates for the Arrell Food Institute of Canada's Food Innovation Award.

The nominations were many and from various countries. Candidates proposed universities from different countries. The Greek candidate proposed the University of Athens and in particular the Biological Chemistry Laboratory of the Medical School of the University of Athens.

Mr. Kouretas is a professor and director of the Laboratory of Animal Physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology in the University of Thessaly, Larissa, and has been distinguished many times for the foundation of a standard laboratory research facility in Europe.

The Arrell Food Institute awards two scientists, annually, in recognition of their global research contribution to the fields of nutritional innovation and health improvement with a strong social impact. The prize amounts to 100,000 Canadian dollars. Professor Mr. Kouretas and his scientific team at the University of Thessaly have been recognized repeatedly, both on a national and international level, for their scientific research and for their business implementation.

With funding from national and European programs, Mr. Koureta's research team conducts basic and applied research to elucidate the mechanisms of action of bioactive molecules with antioxidant properties and ultimately to create biofunctional foods with a clear claim to improve the antioxidant defense of the body. The creation of bioactive foods based on goat milk and the creation of an innovative measuring equipment for antioxidants in the blood are two of the many innovations of Mr Kouretas' laboratory and are nominated for the Arrell Food Institute's international prize.

Professor Koureta's proposal for this candidacy was made by the University of Athens, in recognition of his outstanding scientific research, his unrelenting effort to promote scientific and public perception of human nutrition, food production and consumption, and his dedication to utilize its achievements in a way that eliminates many of the negative consequences of the economic crisis that has afflicted Greece.


Conservation and management of the Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) at three Greek SPA sites

The LIFE Nature program "Conservation and management of the Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) at three Greek SPA sites" (Falco naumanni) in 3 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) of Greece was selected as one of the three Best of Europe's Best LIFE Nature projects.
The program was implemented from June 2012 to October 2016 with the coordinator of the Laboratory of Ecosystems Management and Biodiversity of the University of Thessaly (Project Manager: Professor Athanassios Sponggaris) and collaborators of the Hellenic Ornithological Society Conservation Consultants Ltd. (NCC), the Riga Feraiou Municipality and the Carls-Mavrovouni-Kefalovrysos Velestinos Management Agency. It included two axes: 1. The conservation of the kestrel population in Thessaly, 2. The management of the locust habitats, which essentially concern the rural ecosystems and the meadows of Eastern Thessaly.
Because the kestrel is a globally threatened migratory species, the three Special Protection Areas (SPAs) of Thessaly host more than 75% of Greece’s population and 6% of the European Union’s population. At the same time, due to the fact that the species nest in buildings within villages and feed on crops and meadows, any management measures for landfill sites were basically a management intervention in the countryside and grassland ecosystems of the area. Moreover, because the main food of the kestrel are locusts and other crop invertebrates, the influence of the applied agricultural practices on its survival is pivotal. Finally, farmers and stock-breeders can, on the one hand affect the kestrel population, and, on the other hand, can benefit from the kestrel management measures.


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