Digital technologies are seen as an inseparable part of today’s learning process. Due to the situation with COVID 19, remote learning is becoming a new reality which may continue even after this situation is over. Technologies used in education can help reduce workload, increase efficiencies, engage students and communities, and provide tools to support excellent teaching to raise student attainment.
The European Space Agency’s “New Education” Kick-Start offers support and funding to companies developing services to help improve the digitisation of education and to demonstrate the potential of space to add value.
KEY FOCUS AREAS
The following scenarios have been identified as key focus areas:
Serious games combine learning strategies and game elements to teach specific skills, knowledge and attitudes. The power of serious games is that they are entertaining, engaging and immersive. Due to the way the games are designed, they motivate the player to keep on playing by using rewards, story progression or other feedback systems. Especially in some particular sectors like emergency management, serious games provide better insight into new situations, and allow accessible training with greater safety and less harmful impacts on the environment.
Serious games can be applied to a broad range of challenges in different areas, for example:
- Student education - serious games are used to teach specific subjects through gamified exercises and simulations;
- Training and consultancy – e.g. to explain and train teamwork and social and logistic dynamics within businesses;
- Healthcare - e.g. to train medical procedures in a simulated environment;
- Emergency management - e.g. to solve a large evacuation situation.
Virtual labs are interactive environments for creating and conducting simulated experiments, available to the user through a desktop computer or a VR headset. The idea of these labs is gaining traction, as companies and institutions try to expand their reach, cut costs, enhance student understanding and provide a different kind of hands-on training. Virtual laboratories allow STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students to perform experiments that are difficult to perform in a traditional lab, due to their danger and high cost. Today, ESA and NASA use virtual reality labs where astronauts can be trained in simulated space environments for things like spacewalks or operating future capsules. This application is also starting to be adopted by educational facilities to educate students about space science.
Virtual labs represent an important opportunity also for students in developing and under-developed countries. However, many rural areas in these countries face connectivity issues with communication networks being essential elements of these applications.
Citizen science describes the practice of public engagement and collaboration in research and innovation, by designing experiments, providing new data, using experimental devices and sensors, and interpreting data by creating results that are interesting for many applications.
Recently, citizen science has spread with the growth of technology platforms and social media, which allow people to share data and observations easily online. The combination of data gathered by citizens, with SatEO imagery and data from other sources can be useful in several domains, for example:
- Nature and Biology - e.g. classify wildlife and biodiversity;
- Environment - e.g. air pollution monitoring, marine debris tracking, hydrology, climate change monitoring;
- Smart City - e.g. traffic monitoring;
- Agriculture - e.g. crop variety selection for climate adaptation.
Education through Art
A topic that reflects the potential of space to add value, even if not strictly related to the digitisation, is Education through Art.
Some artists and companies have used EO images for creating pieces of art. Satellite images provide an interesting view of our planet - sometimes, amazing shapes and colours become visible only if viewed from above. Art can be seen as a way of educating people and increasing their awareness about specific topics. Posters, postcards, murals, animations and books with high resolution SatEO images can transmit strong messages related to environmental matters; for example, showing the effects of climate change, the impacts of urbanisation and human settlement, or the fragility and beauty of our planet with its natural wonders.
This kind of art can also create awareness and a higher engagement in the space sector, both for children and adults.
VALUE OF SPACE
Space-based assets can play a key role in the development of these services.
Satellite Communication (SatCom) can be useful for:
- Extending access to e-learning resources to remote regions;
- Connecting students from disparate parts of the world to facilitate inter-exchange of ideas and culture (e.g. “virtual exchange programmes”);
- Providing connectivity where terrestrial communications is insufficient.
Satellite Navigation (SatNav) can be useful for:
- Positioning information for geo-locating students or other users “in-field”, and guiding them to real-world points of interest;
- Geo-locating data collected by students or other users;
- Providing geo-location information about situations in real time.
Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO) can be useful for:
- Providing real-world data for the creation of virtual worlds;
- Providing maps for learning about the environment (in gamified contexts);
- Creating postcards, posters, murals, animations, books and digital books.
WHAT WE LOOK FOR
Kick-Start activities explore the business opportunity and the technical viability of new applications and services that exploit one or more space assets (e.g. Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Space Flight Technology). This call for Kick-Start activities is dedicated to the theme “New Education”, which means that the call is open to companies that intend to develop space-enabled applications and services relating to the aforementioned themes in this domain.
HOW TO APPLY
- Register by completing the online questionnaire on ESA-STAR Registration (this provides for the minimum ‘light registration’).
- Write your proposal and obtain a Letter of Support from your National Delegations, if needed (see Authorisation of Funding section below).
- Submit your proposal via ESA-STAR Tendering by the deadline.
AUTHORISATION OF FUNDING
ESA Space Solutions can provide funding to perform Kick-Start activities to any company (economic operator) residing in the following Member States: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden.
Please note that, currently, Austria, Greece, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are not supporting Kick-Start activities.
Applicants must inform the National Delegation of the country they are residing in to obtain a letter of authorisation allowing the funding of the proposed activity. Contact details of each national delegate can be found here.
Currently, Germany, Luxembourg, and Norway have pre-approved funding for this Kick-Start activity. Applicants from these countries do not need to obtain a letter of authorisation from their National Delegation.
Kick-Start activities are funded at 75% by the European Space Agency for a maximum of €60K per contract.
- 13 January 2021, 11:00 CET