In January 2017, a consortium of European companies, research labs, universities, and education networks started the “Up to University” project (Up2U). Up2U is a 3-year EU-funded project that aims at creating a bridge between high schools and higher education. Up2U addresses both the technological and methodological gaps between secondary school and higher education by (a.) provisioning the tools commonly used in academia and big science to secondary school students and by (b.) training and enabling teachers to use new technologies and experiment with novel pedagogical methods in their lectures.
Up2U proposes the development of an innovative e-learning environment for high school students and teachers. This is a platform consisting of tools for real-time interactions on-line, educational content harvesting, lectures recording and publishing, document creation, collaborative editing, cloud file storage and sharing. All tools are open source, accessible from a web interface and entirely cloud-based. More importantly, they can be easily distributed and allow for portability leveraging on container technologies. This gives the possibility to National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), or even individual schools, to deploy the Up2U platform on their cloud infrastructure, customizing and scaling the deployment according to their needs.
The ultimate goal of Up2U is to remove the disconnection between high schools and higher education by creating new communities of interested people sharing and improving high-quality educational content, re-elaborating scientific papers to make them accessible by a wider audience, and using the same technology tools and components. In such a way, students now in high schools will have the unique opportunity to experiment and familiarize with tools, approaches, and methodologies used by scientists in demanding environments and consequently develop the required skills for a seamless transition to university.