The SMARTEN Project is an exercise in preparedness in the truest sense of the word. Its overall goal is to build the digital readiness of water-related European higher education and lifelong learning.
The outputs of the project aren’t the only elements designed with preparedness in view. Its delivery was crafted with agility in mind. The project has been shaped to achieve its objectives while building the responsiveness, adaptability and flexibility of educational activities against external disruptors such as the COVID-19 crisis.
It’s fair to say that SMARTEN walks the preparedness talk.
SMARTEN is a creative acronym for an equally creative project that was publicly launched on 18 March 2021 during Water Knowledge Europe. It stands for Serious gaMes for digitAl Readiness of waTer EducatioN. It focuses on innovative practices based on serious games in education, as it explores the subject of water. The project aligns with the European goals on environment and climate.
In order to deliver its goal, the project strives to support and enhance digital transitions in the fast-evolving education and water resource sectors. This is done to better adapt to pandemic and post-pandemic working conditions.
Those benefiting from SMARTEN represent quite a range of people. From students of water-related programs, and young water professionals, through to water educators in academia and industry, water society and the European community at large.
One of the intellectual outputs of SMARTEN is the Augmented Collaboration Toolkit. Naomi Timmer, the Director of H2O People, led its design.
“GroupMap was included in the Toolkit as it supports the experience of both the facilitator and the participant,” offered Naomi.
“From the facilitator’s perspective, which is where I am most involved, the interface is simple and user friendly. This makes it accessible and easy to navigate.”
“The available templates are versatile and easy to customize. They are handy and can help to plan workshops as well as engage participants. The reporting process is performed automatically and communicates all phases of the workshop.”
“Using GroupMap is a real-time process that starts from an individual brainstorming to a group discussion to a final collective decision. This pathway promotes the bottom-up approach for decision making that is quite relevant to the pressing environmental and climate issues.”
From a user’s perspective, GroupMap leverages the participants’ voices and uses them as a base to move forward with the discussion to reach a final vision or decision. It is fun and interesting to see the different views converge or diverge in the grouping phase. GroupMap is a dynamic and interactive environment that maintains the participant’s attention.”
“All of these features encouraged us to incorporate GroupMap in the SMARTEN Augmented Collaboration Toolkit.”
In June 2021 Naomi led the online event Human Capital: Collaboration in Digital Space. The digital workshop showcased the range of collaborative tools included in the toolkit including GroupMap which was used in support of an exploration of the transformations needed in the water sector.
“The workshop was rich in interactive features,’ shared Naomi. “It leveraged digital collaboration for a more engaging, seamless experience to match live events.”
“It promoted the SMARTEN Augmented Collaboration Toolkit. Different digital tools were used to discuss topics related to online facilitation: Water-Food-Energy Nexus, and Deep Democracy.”
“GroupMap was used as a tool to facilitate collaborative brainstorming on leadership in the water sector which revealed the different needs and perspectives on this concept.”